South Carolina is a fault-based divorce state.  In other words, you must prove fault on the part of other spouse to get a divorce.  Grounds for divorce in South Carolina are limited to adultery, habitual drunkenness or drug abuse, physical cruelty or abuse, abandonment, or a continuous separation of 1 year or more with no resumption of cohabitation or marital relations.  In the event that no ground for divorce exists, you can still file for a decree of separate maintenance and support that will act as a court order allowing the division of property, settling custody, settling child support, and settling alimony.  After the year separation takes place, you can file an additional action for divorce at that time.

In the divorce action, the Court will determine what is marital property versus non-marital property and then divide the marital property.  The court will also make a determination of custody, visitation, and child support if there are children from the marriage.  The court will also make a determination if alimony is appropriate.  Finally, the Court has the authority to order one spouse to pay part or all of the attorney fees of the other spouse if it deems that is appropriate under the statutory factors.

In all cases, there are actual courtroom proceedings even where there is an agreement between the parties.  In the event the case is contested, the parties will be required to go to mediation to try to work things out.  If they cannot come to an agreement at mediation, the case will be set for a contested trial.  At a trial, everything from property values to custody will be argued with supporting exhibits.  Make sure you have someone on your side that will get you prepared.

Be Mindful of Your Credit

As things are divided in the case, keep in mind that the Family Courts in South Carolina do not have the legal authority to order a business you have a contract with to do anything.  As such, you need to pay attention to whose name credit cards, bank accounts, and bills are in so that you are not relying on your spouse to pay something in your name only to find out they haven't done it out of spite.

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