In the state of South Carolina, there are five grounds for divorce. Four of these are classified as fault grounds and include habitual drunkenness, adultery, one year’s desertion and physical cruelty. The fifth one is the no-fault ground and involves 12 months separation. As your Greenville divorce attorney would tell you, since the length of separation for a no-fault divorce was decreased to the same time period as a desertion divorce, the use of desertion as a ground for divorce is no longer applicable.
Legal Grounds for Divorce
Separation: A person who wants to obtain a divorce after being separated for a year does not have to do anything specific in the beginning. If the 12 months pass and the spouse fails to show up, they can file for divorce with help from an SC divorce attorney. In most of these cases, the court will simply schedule a hearing as soon as you file for divorce. However, the final divorce is usually not granted until the other spouse has been served with the papers. Usually, the judge would like to hear the other spouse’s opinion before the divorce is granted.
Adultery: One can also get a divorce on the grounds of adultery. However, in Greenville, South Carolina, you do not necessarily need to have evidence of the actual adultery. Instead, you may provide circumstantial evidence such as opportunity, flings at the office, or pursuit of romances. For example, if your spouse is always on the internet chatting with other women, socializing with them, and other inappropriate behavior, you may be able to demonstrate a pattern of adulterous behavior. Sometimes, if one spouse is suspicious of adultery, then they may hire a private investigator to obtain more solid proof of their claims. While it is not necessary to have solid proof, whatever your divorce attorney can provide to the courts greatly influences the judge’s decision.
Physical Abuse: One can also obtain a divorce on the grounds of physical abuse or cruelty. Again, you do not need to have actual evidence of any type of physical injury. Instead, the onus is on you to prove to the judge that your spouse’s conduct has created a constant fear of physical harm or death. For example, if the spouse is constantly pointing a gun at you or makes a fist every time there is an argument, then this is sufficient indication that you feel fearful in your surroundings. Having any photos of these scenes can be very valuable.
Habitual intoxication: If your spouse is constantly taking illicit drugs or abusing alcohol, this can also be grounds for divorce. However, just saying that the spouse uses drugs or consumes alcohol is not good enough; one must have some type of proof. For example, if the spouse is buying beer regularly then it is important to have receipts to show the frequency of the beer buying sprees. If you see them drinking or have access to empty beer bottles, you can take images to prove your point. If you see them abuse illicit drugs, take pictures when possible and also take images of their behavior after these events. The best evidence is admission to the hospital or emergency room visits as a result of these behaviors. If they have run into prior legal problems because of drinking and abusing illicit drugs, provide your divorce lawyer with some type of proof. If they have tried to seek treatment for substance abuse, you may want to bring that evidence along, as well. In many cases of substance abuse, these people also have problems at work and may have lost their job. You may want to ask their employer about the reasons for termination and bring them to court.
What is Condonation and How Does it Affect My Divorce Case?
It is important to keep in mind that a very common defense with any type of fault divorce is ‘condonation.’ This means that the innocent spouse forgives the offending spouse and agrees to accept the present lifestyle or agrees that the spouse will change. Thus, if the spouse committed adultery many years ago and you forgave him, then you cannot use that reason for divorce in the future.
How Can I Start the Divorce Proceedings in Greenville, South Carolina?
When your spouse has committed adultery, physical abuse or is habitually intoxicated, then you can start divorce proceedings without being separated from the individual. It is important that when you come to court that you have as much evidence as possible when filing for divorce on fault grounds. This will permit the judge to decide by having the other spouse removed temporarily from the marital place of residence.
In general, once you file for a divorce on fault grounds, the hearing usually takes places 60 days after you filed the divorce papers and the divorce decree is usually filed 90 days after you filed for divorce.
In South Carolina, getting a divorce does require independent collaboration or witnesses that can support your claims. This independent collaboration should not have a conflict of interest with either party. The person you use could be your priest, doctor, police officer, and counselor. Of course, if you have evidence of any criminal convictions related to domestic violence or arrests for drug abuse, your case is solidified.
Finally, you have to be a resident of South Carolina for at least 12 months to file for a divorce. However, if both parties reside in the state, then they only need to have lived in the state for three months prior to either party filing for a divorce.
Reach Out to a Greenville Divorce Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case
Divorce can be a difficult decision to make, and if you do have reasons to terminate your marriage, you should go ahead and do what you believe is right for you. However, since this can be a challenging time for you, it is a good idea to consult a divorce attorney so that they can advise you on how you should proceed and what aspects you should take into consideration. If there are children involved, there will be issues related to child custody and child support. Call Greenville Family Law today and talk to our divorce attorney. We have dealt with numerous family cases, and we will ensure you get the best legal representation possible.