Getting married is always easier than getting a divorce, no matter where the couple lives. This becomes obvious as one discovers the stipulations of family law in South Carolina regarding Divorce from the Bonds of Matrimony.
Filing for Divorce in Greenville, SC
According to family law in South Carolina, the plaintiff should have at least three months as a resident of the state, and one of the spouses, either the plaintiff or the defendant, should have at least one year of residency in South Carolina.
The legal procedures begin with the filing of a Complaint for Divorce. The authority reviewing the complaint is the Court of Common Pleas in the defendant’s county of residence at the time. In case of non-resident defendants, the plaintiff can file the complaint in their own county of residence or in the county where the couple last resided.
The Court does not issue references earlier than two months from the Complaint’s filing date. For the final decree, the waiting period is at least three months from Complaint filing. The decree will also mention whether any of the parties will resume their former surname or keep that of their spouse.
The most important part of filing for divorce is bringing arguments and proofs to sustain the plaintiff’s complaint. Depending on the divorce grounds the plaintiff invokes, the court may rule in favor, or request further hearings and/or clarifications.
Common Divorce Grounds Accepted by Family Law in Greenville, SC
In South Carolina, the court grants divorce on various grounds, but the following are the most common:
- Physical cruelty
- Desertion for at least one year
- Upon request by one of the parties, on the condition for the spouses to have lived separate lives for at least one year.
Besides determining the lengths and complexity of the legal procedures, the divorce grounds will also influence property division.
Divorce Property Division According to Family Law in Greenville, SC
For every divorce case, if the parties do not reach an agreement on their own, the Court seeks an equitable distribution of the marital property. The Court’s decision takes into account the following aspects.
- How long the marriage lasted, how old the parties were when they got married and upon filing for divorce, and any separate maintenance or other marital actions between them
- Divorce grounds, eventual misconduct or faults of the parties, their impact on the economic situation of the parties, their role in the marriage breakup
- Marital property value and location (whether it is within or outside the state)
- The spouse’s contribution to the acquisition, preservation, appreciation or depreciation of the marital property, and their contribution as homemakers
- The spouse’s income, earning potential, and future opportunities for capital assets acquisition
- The physical and emotional health of the spouses
- The spouse’s need for additional education and/or training to achieve their income potential
- The spouse’s nonmarital property
- Any vested retirement benefits of the spouses
- Any alimony or separate maintenance payments awarded
- The parties’ wishes regarding the family home, whether it should be part of the marital property subject to equitable distribution or it should remain the home of the spouse receiving child/children custody
- Tax implications for the parties after the equitable sharing of their marital property
- Existing liens, debts, or other encumbrances upon the marital property or the separate property of either party
- Child custody obligations and arrangements, etcetera.
Depending on the value of the marital property, the distribution agreement, the financial situation of each spouse, and especially the requests of the spouses, the Court may award alimony or some form of financial support.
Alimony or Financial Support Following Divorce in Greenville, SC
Any of the parties involved in the divorce action can include a request for alimony or separate maintenance and support in their Complaint, Answer, or by filing a Petition. However, the court may deny alimony to spouses who commit adultery before formally signing a written marital or property settlement agreement, or before the Court issues a permanent separate maintenance and support order or a permanent approval order for the marital or property settlement agreement they may have reached.
Depending on specifics of each case, the Court may award temporary (pendent lite) or permanent alimony. The amount and duration of the latter type will be subject to the court’s decision. Depending on the amount and duration, there are several types of alimony:
- Periodic – It involves ongoing payments subject to future reviews and revisions according to certain circumstances. Payments cease when the supported spouse remarries, cohabitates with someone for a long period, or when one of the spouses dies.
- Lump-sum – It represents a finite, final amount one of the spouses has to pay to the other in one or several installments, or periodically. Payments only cease when one of the spouses dies, and no changes are possible.
- Rehabilitative – It aims to help the supported spouse rehabilitate, and it involves a finite sum the other spouse has to pay in a single installment or periodically. Depending on the Court’s decision, payment ends when the supported spouse completes some form of education or training, finds a job. It may end earlier, if the paying spouse proves the supported spouse’s lack of interest and effort or loses the ability to pay, the supported spouse remarries or cohabitates with someone, or either of the spouses die.
- Reimbursement – It represents a finite sum payable in a single installment or periodically when the court decides the supported spouse deserves reimbursement from the paying spouse’s future earnings resulting from actions or circumstances occurring during their marriage. Payments cease with the supported spouse’s remarriage or continuous cohabitation, or with the death of either spouse.
When the spouses live separate lives but do not seek a divorce, the Court may award Separate Maintenance and Support to one of the spouses, establishing periodical payments. The payments may cease upon the couple’s divorce, upon the supported spouse’s continued cohabitation, or upon either spouse’s death.
Given the complexity of the family law, in Greenville SC, spouses seeking divorce often turn to family law attorneys. Their lawyers take over most of the paperwork and legal procedures and help them bring proofs to support their claims or their answers to their spouse’s claims in front of the Greenville Court.
Legal support is especially invaluable when children are involved, as it can make the difference between winning or losing child custody, and it can have a huge impact on the amounts paid as alimony and/or child support.
Reach out to a Greenville Divorce Attorney for a Consultation
If you need legal representation for your divorce or any other issues related to family law in Greenville, SC, Robert Clark is one of the most experienced and best-reputed attorneys here. Call (864) 729-3900 now or use the Contact form to find out how you can benefit from confident and compassionate representation!