What Is The Difference Between No
Getting a divorce is not as simple as agreeing with your spouse to end the marriage and signing an agreement. The state requires that a divorce must have a filing of initial papers, service of those papers on your spouse, a request for a hearing in Family Court to settle the issues. The hearing may be a temporary hearing or a Final hearing. The courts in our state will only grant you adivorce when you can satisfy one of five grounds. Please call The Farley Law Firm, LLC for a consultation, to determine whether you will be able tofile a complaint for divorce immediately, or if further steps are necessary. If you need a Lexington divorce attorney, I am available in my office on Main Street, however, my practice extends to all of the Midlands of South Carolina.
How Long Could My South Carolina Divorce Last
The duration of your case depends on many factors and is specific to each case. In general, if the parties come to an agreement and settle all issues quickly, then typically your case will not last as long as it would if your case goes to trial. However, there are several other factors that contribute to the how long your case will be ongoing that you should address when you schedule an initial consultation with our South Carolina office.
What Are The Basic Steps For Filing For Divorce
While divorce laws vary by state, here are the basic steps:
First, you must meet the residency requirements of the state in which you wish to file.
Second, you must have grounds to end your marriage.
Third, you must file divorce papers and have copies sent to your spouse.
Fourth, if your spouse disagrees with anything in the divorce papers, he will then have the opportunity to file papers telling his side. This is called contesting the divorce. In this case, you will have to attend a series of court appearances to sort the issues out. If your spouse does not disagree with anything, he should sign the papers and send them back to you and/or the court. This is called an uncontested divorce. If a certain period of time passes and your spouse does not sign the papers or file any papers of his/her own, you may be able to proceed with the divorce as an uncontested divorce anyway. You should speak to a lawyer in your state about how long you have to wait to see if your spouse answers the divorce papers before you can continue with the divorce.
Fifth, if there is property that you need divided, or if you need financial support from your spouse, you will have to work that out in an out-of-court settlement, or in a series of court hearings. Custody may also be decided as part of your divorce.
You can find more information about service of process in our Preparing for Court By Yourself section, in the question called What is service of process and how do I accomplish it?
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Is Sc A No
In SC, you may choose to file for a no-fault divorce. In order to proceed with a no-fault divorce in South Carolina, the married spouses must have lived apart for the period of at least one year. This means that parties must have lived at seperate residences and not just in seperate rooms of the same residience. Unlike many states, it is not possible to make a simple assertion that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
Finalizing Your South Carolina Divorce
Once you have served the papers to your spouse, your spouse must give you an answer or if your spouse agrees with all the things mentioned in the complaint, then you can proceed with the final divorce.
In case your spouse files an answer that disagrees with any part of your complaint, then you must hire a divorce attorney to fight the case on your behalf.
In case you are proceeding without any opposition from your spouse, you must then complete the Affidavit of Default for Divorce and Request for Hearing forms and file them.
You will then receive the Notice of Hearing, which will inform you about the court date of your hearing and you must mail a copy of this to your spouse by certified mail. You must then complete the Affidavit of Mailing in the presence of a notary public.
Complete the Final Order of Divorce and Report of Divorce. At the hearing, you must bring along a witness who can testify that he/she has personal knowledge that your spouse and you have lived separately and apart for a period of 1 year. You must bring along all the documents to the court.
At the hearing, the judge will ask you questions regarding your documents, your marriage and your separation. The judge will then sign the final divorce order. Your divorce will be final only when the divorce order is signed and is filed with the court clerk.
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South Carolina Child Support Laws
In South Carolina, the child support is calculated on basis of the income shares model. If there is any deviation from the guidelines, the court will consider the following factors:
Education expenses of the child or spouse.
Distribution of property.
If the family has more than 6 kids.
Mandatory deduction of union fees and retirement pensions.
Unreimbursed extraordinary medical/dental expenses of child and non-custodial or custodial parent.
Support obligations of the paying spouse for other dependents residing with the non-custodial parent or child from another relationship.
Monthly payments ordered by the court.
Significant income of child that is available.
Disparity of income, where the income of the non-custodial parent is much lesser than the income of the custodial parent.
Any agreement made by both spouses.
How To File A Divorce In South Carolina
Because the divorce process in South Carolina is different from many other states, its important to keep track of the states requirements. The more knowledge you have, the easier the process becomes, and the quicker you can move forward.
Here is a basic overview of how to file for divorce in South Carolina.
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Myrtle Beach Divorce Lawyer Jeff Morris
Reach out to the divorce lawyers at the Jeff Morris Law Firm if your marriage is about to end. We will offer you experience and a skill set rarely seen in a single firm. You can call us at to set up a meeting, which is free and holds no obligation for you. Contact us online if it is easier.
MORRIS LAW FIRM – MYRTLE BEACH OFFICE
4589 Oleander Drive, Suite BMyrtle Beach, SC 29577
If Attempts To Serve My Spouse During A Divorce In Sc Do Not Work What Is My Next Step
In general, if several meaningful attempts have been made to properly serve your spouse have failed, then the process server may submit an affidavit of due diligence. At that point, service by publication can be run in the local newspaper for 30 days. If your spouse does not respond within that time period, then the case can proceed accordingly.
*Process service is a very important part of the case so that all parties are given notice of the lawsuit. However, if after many attempts fail to locate your spouse, this does not necessarily mean your case cannot move forward.
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The Preparation And Procedure For Filing For Divorce
This may go without saying, but the first action that has to be completed in order to file for Divorce in South Carolina is to actually get to the Courthouse and file for divorce. In South Carolina, a divorce is a lawsuit that begins with the filing of a summons and complaint for divorce in the Family Court of the appropriate county. Once the Divorce suit has been filed with the clerk of family court, the summons and complaint have to be served on the other spouse. Once the other spouse has been served, the spouse who is served with divorce papers has 30 days to answer and to counterclaim. If the other spouse asserts a counterclaim, then the spouse who started the Divorce suit has 30 days to respond to the Divorce suit and “counterclaim” for any legal relief that they deem to be relevant. Therefore, when accounting for the time needed to retain an attorney, draft the Divorce summons and complaint, file with the Clerk of Court, serve upon the other spouse, and have an Answer filed by the other spouse, this process will take approximately 60 days.
South Carolina Child Custody Laws
In South Carolina, when deciding on the custody of the child, the court will consider the reasonable preference of the child in terms of the custody. The court will consider the childs preference on basis of his/her age, maturity, experience, judgment and capability of expressing his/her preference.
The court will also consider the nature of divorce and current situation, the religious faith of both parents and any evidence of domestic abuse or violence. The court will not award custody or discriminate on the basis of the gender of the parent.
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What Types Of Alimony Are There
South Carolina has different types of alimony. If the judge decides to grant alimony in your case, s/he must also decide which type is appropriate:
The Requirements In The Case Of A Simple Divorce Are:
Your spouse or you have lived in South Carolina for a period of at least 1 year before filing for divorce or both your spouse and you live in the state and have lived there for a minimum of 3 months before filing for divorce.
The divorce is being filed under the no-fault grounds with 1 year of separation continuously, without cohabitation at any time during the year.
Your spouse and you do not have any marital property or debt or both of you have an agreement on how to divide the property or debt.
Your spouse and you dont have children together or if you have minor children, you have an agreement regarding all issues pertaining to your kids.
If you meet all the requirements stated above, then you can fill out the forms and get a simple divorce.
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Does South Carolina Grant Divorces Based On Marital Fault
Yes. South Carolina recognizes Adultery, Habitual Drunkenness or Drug Use, Physical Cruelty, and Desertion.*
*Desertion is rarely used as a ground for divorce since the parties must have lived separate and apart without cohabitation, just as is the requirement for a no-fault one year separation divorce.
How Does Adultery Affect Divorce In Sc
South Carolina law defines adultery as intercourse between a married person and someone other than that persons spouse. Adultery is one of the fault-based grounds for divorce in South Carolina. If you can prove adultery to the court, then you can be divorced in as little as 90 days from the date you filed your case.
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Temporary Expedited And Emergency Hearings
There are many types of hearings in SCs family court in divorce proceedings, including various motion hearings and your final divorce hearing.
Three important types of hearings that often cause confusion are temporary, expedited, and emergency hearings:
- Temporary hearings: can be scheduled early in your divorce case to temporarily resolve issues that cannot wait for the final hearing, like child custody, child support, alimony, or the division of property ,
- Expedited hearings: allow you to move to the front of the line to resolve procedural issues that arise before another type of hearing, for example when you need a continuance, you are challenging jurisdiction , or you need additional information or discovery to effectively prepare for the upcoming hearing, and
- Emergency hearings: allow parties to get a hearing within 24 hours if there is a true emergency like domestic abuse, danger to a child, or a spouse who is liquidating or concealing assets from the court.
File The Divorce Complaint
The first step in a simple divorce is to file the following papers with the Clerk of Court, Family Court Division, in the proper South Carolina county. The forms you will need to include with your paperwork include:
- Family Court Cover Sheet
- Summons for Divorce
- Complaint for Divorce
- Financial Declaration Form
- Acceptance of Service
- Request for Hearing, and
- Final Order of Divorce
If you and your spouse both live in South Carolina, you may file in the county where the two of you last lived together as a couple or where your spouse lives now. If your spouse lives out of state, you should file in the county where you live. If you don’t live in the state but want to have your divorce case in South Carolina courts, you must file in the county where your spouse currently lives. .)
Because some of the forms require notarization, don’t sign them until you’re in the presence of a notary public. Be sure you have at least three copies of the completed and signed forms .
The court clerk will charge a filing fee to file the papers . If you can’t afford the fee, you may request a waiver by filing a Motion and Affidavit to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. The court will decide if you qualify for a waiver.
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What Is A Fault
In this situation, one party must prove that the other party engaged in activity that caused the marriage to become untenable and led to the marriages failure. In South Carolina, there are four reasons for a fault-based divorce:
- Habitual use of drugs or alcohol
- Physical violence
In a fault-based divorce, the spouses do not need to live in different households for 12 months. Once the divorce petition is made and assuming proof of fault is confirmed, the couple can be divorced within a 90-day period. Sometimes, proving fault against another spouse can lead to a bigger asset division for the person who is not at fault.
Final Thoughts Dont Rush Your Divorce
Over the years, Ive helped clients who rushed their divorce, didnt cover all the details, and didnt think ahead as to future consequences of their decisions regarding their children, their finances, and more. Dont make the mistake of rushing your divorce especially if there are children and financial issues involved. There are very few second chances in family court, so make sure you take the time necessary to handle it right no matter how badly you want out right now.
If you need a divorce attorney in Charleston, SC, contact Futeral & Nelson, LLC. Our divorce lawyers have helped people in Charleston, North Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Summerville, Goose Creek, Hanahan, Moncks Corner, James Island, West Ashley, Folly Beach, Sullivans Island, Isle of Palms, Awendaw, McClellanville, and the surrounding areas.
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How Does South Carolina Differ From Other States On Fault Divorces
South Carolina is different in that it recognizes fault divorces.
All states now have some form of no-fault divorces. There are 17 states that are true no-fault divorce states, where the only option for divorce is on no-fault grounds. The remaining 33 states still have fault-based divorces.
Over the years, states wanted the courts to look less at whether a spouse was at fault for the marriage, and instead allow spouses to leave a damaged marriage Being able to marry is a fundamental right. Courts now recognize being able to leave a marriage is a fundamental right
For the other states that recognize fault divorces, the grounds for fault divorces differ depending on the states. In some states, the court only looks at whether one spouse has failed to perform a material marital obligation. No, you cant be at fault for a divorce for not doing the dishes. A marital obligation may be failing to be monogamous, or failing to support each other financially.
Other states will consider the conviction of a felony a fault ground for divorce. South Carolinas four fault grounds are only valid in South Carolina. Other states will have different grounds with their own nuances.
Do I Need A Lawyer For A Simple Divorce
Its possible to file for an uncontested divorce in South Carolina without a lawyer, provided you and your spouse meet the general requirements. However, working with an attorney is the better option for most people.
Even if you agree on most things, marriage involves many legal and financial rights. Understand any that apply to your situation. For example, you may need to ensure the marital home is refinanced and the deed is changed to reflect new ownership if the property is left unsold. If you have a visitation schedule for children, you may need to update that schedule as your child gets older and as circumstances change.
When creating your agreement, you also need to remember your circumstances may evolve and your agreement could have far-reaching consequences. For example, child support and the division of assets can impact both parties taxes. If one partner goes on to meet someone else or gets a new job, this can affect everything from visitation to the financial lives of both parties.
Coming up with a functional agreement is a challenge, and you will want to ensure all the paperwork is in order. In many cases, it is advisable to seek the advice of a knowledgeable attorney.
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