South Carolina Divorce Law

Getting a divorce in South Carolina is not as easy as in some States. South Carolina requires valid grounds for divorce and most people will need a South Carolina divorce lawyer to help with the process. If there is any property or children involved in the divorce, an order from the Family Court establishing everyone’s rights is critical to ensure a smooth transition. In South Carolina you must go before a judge in order to get divorced.

South Carolina Family Law Issues:

  1. You must be legally separated for a period of one year if there are no fault based reasons for the divorce.
  2. You or your ex must be a resident of South Carolina.
  3. You need to be prepared to fill out a financial affidavit.

Other South Carolina Fault Based Divorce Issues to Consider:

  • Adultery

This is one of the most common issues raised for a divorce. You must be able to present more than just your belief that your spouse is unfaithful. The best evidence is from a private investigator or from the so called “paramour” (i.e., the person your spouse is allegedly cheating on you with).

  • Habitual Drunkenness

This allegation is also common in South Carolina. A spouse who cannot maintain themselves either through alcohol or drug abuse will be faced with some serious questions from a South Carolina Family Court Judge. Evidence of this will come through either drug tests by the court or from testimony of witnesses regarding the spouses problem.  You do not need to prove that your spouse abuses alcohol or drugs on a daily basis; however, you will need to prove that it is with such regularity that it resulted in the breakdown of your marriage.

  • Desertion

The leaving of one’s spouse. If your spouse has split town and is no longer in the State of South Carolina, you may have a great angle to get your divorce. This is also a fault based divorce in South Carolina.  However, your spouse must have deserted you for a period of one year for no valid reason.

  • Physical Cruelty

A divorce on the grounds of physical cruelty can be difficult to prove.  While domestic violence in South Carolina between spouses is not an uncommon event, it is not reported as much as it occurs.  In order to establish physical cruelty, your divorce lawyer will need proof.  It is important to contact the police each time an assault occurs and to keep a record of police involvement.  If your spouse is physically abusive, you should seek help immediately.  A divorce lawyer will be able to provide you with advice on your available options.

Where to File Your South Carolina Divorce:

  1. Where the defendant resides at the time of filing the action
  2. Where the plaintiff resides if defendant is non-resident or after due diligence cannot be found
  3. Where the plaintiff and defendant last resided as husband and wife, unless plaintiff is a nonresident of South Carolina. Then it shifts to the county where the defendant resides.

Other Common Questions about Getting Divorced in South Carolina:

  • Can I get an ANNULMENT in South Carolina?

There are several grounds that allow for an annulment in South Carolina. The following provide a basis for an annulment in South Carolina: bigamy, incest, duress, fraud or no cohabitation. It is extremely hard to get an annulment in South Carolina.  An experienced South Carolina divorce lawyer would be able to tell you whether you have a potential ground for an annulment.

  • Will I have to pay my spouse during the litigation of the case?

Many times the answer is yes. The family court judge can order what is referred to as support during the divorce. If the divorce is a no fault divorce, you must wait one full year for the court to enter a final order on the divorce. During this time you or your spouse made be ordeedr to provide money or any type of support that that the family court deems appropriate.

  • Must I show a fault based reason to get a divorce in South Carolina?

No, the most common way to file for divorce in South Carolina is based on a separation of the spouses for a period of one  year. This means that the parties must not live together, have sexual interaction, or act as husband and wife for a period of 365 days. Many times a separation agreement is entered by the parties and the date of separation is provided.

  • Will I have to pay support to a spouse who has committed adultery?

Typically a party will not have to pay support in the form of alimony if there is proof of adultery prior to the entry of an order of separation or the signing of a separation agreement. This is the one instance in South Carolina divorce law that provides for a reason to not pay alimony.

South Carolina is very unique when it comes to divorces. South Carolina divorce attorneys must be able to advise their client about the relative basis available for filing a divorce in South Carolina. To schedule a consultation with a South Carolina divorce lawyer, call (843) 839-2900. Our family law lawyers in Myrtle Beach travel to other jurisdictions to handle these type of family law cases including Georgetown and Conway.


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