It’s often stressful, sad, and difficult when a married couple faces the decision to seek a divorce. While the rate of divorce has been somewhat decreasing over the last ten years in the United States, some experts thought that the rate would increase during the coronavirus pandemic.
In South Carolina, there are five types of legal premises for pursuing the dissolution of a marriage. These include physical abuse, abandonment, adultery, and habitual substance abuse or drunkenness. A “no fault” divorce may be granted to parties who have lived separated for at least a year.
Family Courts are designated to hear divorce proceedings and such Judges preside over jurisdiction for divorce, child custody, child support payments, child visitation guidelines, alimony, spousal support, and the division of marital property which may include pensions and other financial means.
South Carolina does not require couples to formally file for separation before filing for divorce. However, couples must live separately from one another for one year prior to filing for a no-fault divorce. While the state doesn’t recognize legal separations, a Family Court may issue an “Order of Separate Maintenance and Support” – a temporary order that determines the couple’s maintenance of marital debts and assets, as well as child support and/or custody arrangements. This type of order does not end the marriage, but if the couple lives separately for a year in different homes, then a no-fault divorce process may begin.
For those seeking a divorce in South Carolina, one party must have an established residency in the state. This means having lived in the state for at least a year, possess a valid SC identification or license, and maintain a residence—whether rented or owned. If any spousal support or alimony is desired—it is based upon the marriage duration, the education level of each spouse, current and anticipated earnings of each, as well as the emotional and physical status of each spouse.
Family & Divorce Mediation
In South Carolina, almost every county strongly suggests that the mediation process be applied. The mediation process does not force settlements, but a voluntary settlement may be more easily and equitably reached as a result. Concerns that are addressed during mediation include division of marital assets, allocation of debt, spousal support, parental rights, child support, custody guidelines, as well as parental and grandparent visitation.
The confidential mediation process for families is gently facilitated by a neutral mediator who assists those involved with the discussion to reach mutual agreement goals. The mediator cannot promise that the terms that are reached are unanimously fair, and no one’s rights are waived. If an agreement cannot be attained via mediation, the case will go to Family Court in which a judge will ultimately make the decision and determines the outcome.
Couples with children should aim to present a healthy example of conflict resolution, and mediation can help in this aspect. Children may better adjust to the complexities of divorce when they have ongoing supportive interaction with both parents. Mediation helps to promote these values and allows for open discussion and productive settlement alternatives. Statistics have shown that mediated settlements can often result in increased shared child custody agreements.
The Floyd Law Firm attorneys are here to help you seek creative solutions in order to help avoid costly and protracted conflicts whenever possible. From property division, alimony, child support, and all other areas of South Carolina family law, we understand that the outcome of your case can affect your life, and the lives of your loved ones, for years to come.
Family law matters can redefine the most personal and important parts of your life, often making it difficult to focus upon where you want to be in the future. Working with an experienced and caring attorney can help you to see how the decisions you need to make now can lay the foundation for positive change later.