It is easier to explain separation in South Carolina if you understand our grounds for divorce. In South Carolina, there are really only four grounds for divorce:
As you can imagine, it is hard for some people who are no longer happy with one another to get along for five minutes let alone a year! So, for those people who know they are likely leading to divorce, but need some court intervention and legal protection while they wait for the year of separation to be complete, there is an action called “Separate Support and Maintenance.” Many people call this a legal separation.
In an action for Separate Support and maintenance, our South Carolina Family Courts are charged with determining things like:
Except for the granting of the divorce, meaning granting the parties the freedom to marry again, the Family Court will determine all other issues just as it would in a divorce action.
Even though a divorce is not yet obtainable to the parties if the court issues a Final Order of Separate Support and Maintenance, the issues decided therein are FINAL, with the exception of issues involving the children.
Custody, visitation and child support are always modifiable upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances. See our section on those types of cases.
But the property division and division of debts and waiver of alimony (if applicable) are all absolutely final when the court issues a Final Order of Separate Support and Maintenance. Therefore, this type of action can be just as important as divorce.
At Thomason and Pracht, LLC, we are often asked why a person should file for separation. Why not just wait until the year has passed and sought a divorce? That is a very good question but there are some very important reasons why you don’t want to wait:
A case filed as an action for Separate Support and Maintenance proceeds just like a divorce case:
Again, the simple answer is “no!” In South Carolina, you are committing adultery if you are having sex with someone other than your spouse, regardless of how long you have been separated and regardless of whether or not you have a written agreement or an Order of Separate Maintenance and Support. However, in some cases, there is no real consequence for dating. It is very important that you talk to an experienced Anderson, SC Family Divorce attorney before you begin dating if you are not divorced!
The South Carolina law offices of Thomason & Pracht, L.L.C., advises everyone to obtain legal counsel for an Order of Separation. They understand that separations and divorces are extremely stressful times for you and your family. Emotions can run high and at times, you may feel confused and not sure what the best decision is for your individual situation.
Family law can be quite complicated and complex, especially if minor children are involved and you need to figure out issues such as custody, visitation, and child support. By seeking the help of a qualified Anderson, SC Divorce attorney, you will have someone on your side who is your advocate, will help you negotiate the issues involved in your Order of Separation, and will fight for you in court.