Attorney Leslie Fisk explains SC divorce law basics.
Do you need an attorney to help you file for divorce?
We always recommend you consult an attorney if you can afford one. If you’ve been separated from a spouse for more than one year, and agree about all issues involved, it may be possible for you to file for divorce without an attorney. SC has approved documents for your to file on your own.
To obtain a divorce in SC you or your attorney must file pleadings to open a case in family court. After these are filed, your spouse must be served. You will have court hearings with a judge that you must show up for.
Grounds for divorce:
1) Separation for more than 1 year: most common ground for divorce and easiest to prove
2) Desertion for more than 1 year: no longer wildly used and has mostly been replaced by separation
3) Physical cruelty: physical domestic violence, although there are other forms of domestic violence, physical cruelty refers to physical violence
4) Adultery: requires proof your spouse has cheated on you
5) Habitual drunkenness: your spouse has a drug or alcohol problem that has negatively impacted your marriage
What you can ask for from the court in addition to divorce:
*belongings be divided by judge
*money and debts be divided by the judge
*return of maiden name
*return to previously married name
*custody and visitation (may require guardian ad litem and/or mediation)
Court will almost always order parent without primary custody to pay child support.
If your spouse files for divorce and you are filed with papers, read them carefully. You have 30 days to respond.
For more resources on filing for divorce, click here https://www.lawhelp.org/sc/resource/self-help-divorce-forms
For more resources and assistance on this and other legal issues, visit https://www.lawhelp.org/sc
Apply for help online at https://www.lawhelp.org/sc/online-intake, or call our intake line 1 (888) 346-5592
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