Author Archives: 201charleston

What Happens After A Divorce?

Going into a divorce case, you may not immediately realize all the ways dissolving your marriage will change your life. A divorce will impact your finances, your custody situation, and many other areas of life. Sometimes, these changes do not become apparent until after the divorce is finalized. It is important to learn what will happen after divorce before you start the process. At the McGrath Law Firm, we believe in empowering our clients with information about all family law cases. To learn more about what happens after your divorce is final, read the information below. Then, contact our firm to discuss your case with an experienced Summerville divorce attorney.

Changing Your Will

Usually, most divorcing spouses do not want to keep their spouse in their will after the divorce is over. Often, wills are created or changed after major life events, such as marriage. In South Carolina, a will changes upon divorce to revoke portions granting property to a former spouse. In some cases, people want to leave their former spouse in the will, which may require a will addendum. Whether you want your spouse to remain in your will after divorce or not, your will and other estate planning paperwork, such as your Power of Attorney, likely will need changes. It is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney to understand the changes needed for your will.

Modifying or Enforcing Court Orders

As life after divorce moves on, your circumstances will inevitably change. Whether you change jobs, need to relocate to another geographic region, or your income changes, major shifts in your life may warrant a modification to your court order. Whether your child support or alimony order needs to be modified, be sure to discuss the modification with an experienced divorce attorney.

Instead of modifying a court order, you may need to ask the court to enforce your order or agreement. When your former spouse fails to meet his or her obligations, you may need the court to intervene. South Carolina courts are permitted to enforce family law orders and agreements in many ways. In some cases, your former spouse may totally fail to make child support or alimony payments. If that happens, the court may even garnish your ex’s wages to make such payments. Do you need the court to enforce your divorce order or agreement? Call the McGrath Law Firm now to speak with a skilled Summerville divorce attorney today.

Tax Consequences

One obvious tax issue after finalizing your divorce is that both you and your former spouse will file taxes separately. You may have an agreement about which of you will claim your children on the taxes. Another tax consideration is a deduction for paying alimony. While child support in South Carolina is not tax deductible, alimony is deductible for the paying spouse. Since divorce inevitably involves complicated financial matters, such as these tax issues, it is important to hire an experienced, reputable family lawyer for your divorce.

Contact Summerville Family Law Attorneys

At the McGrath Law Firm, we understand the complicated issues that arise during and after divorce. We have helped countless clients in the Summerville area through divorce. Contact us today to discuss your divorce questions and concerns with an attorney today.

Simple Divorce in South Carolina

Reaching the decision to seek a divorce can be emotionally exhausting and frustrating. Pursuing a traditional, contested divorce can also be emotionally taxing, as well as financially stressful. The complexity of a divorce can lead to a drawn out legal process with extensive costs. An alternative to the contested divorce process is to seek an uncontested, or “simple,”divorce. To learn more about simple divorce in South Carolina, read the information below. Then, contact the McGrath Law Firm to speak with an experienced family law attorney about your divorce case.

Simple vs. Contested Divorce

South Carolina law allows spouses to seek a fault-based divorce, as well as no-fault divorce. Pursuing a divorce on grounds of fault means that one spouse is alleging the other spouse committed certain wrongs during the marriage. These fault-based grounds include adultery, physical cruelty, desertion, and habitual drunkenness.  Conversely, a spouse can seek a no-fault divorce, meaning that both spouses have irreconcilable differences and can no longer remain married.

A no-fault divorce is not the same thing as a simple divorce. A simple, or uncontested, divorce means that the spouses are not asking the court to resolve any issues. Rather, the parties have resolved all major issues themselves, or certain issues never existed in the first place. To file for an uncontested divorce in South Carolina, certain criteria must be met, including:

  • A residency requirement that one spouse has lived in South Carolina for at least one year prior to filing for divorce, or both spouses have lived in South Carolina for at least three months before filing for divorce;
  • The spouse seeking divorce is filing on a no-fault ground;
  • The spouses have been living separate and apart for one continuous year;
  • The spouses have no marital property or debt (or all marital property and debt division issues have been settled through an agreement); and
  • The marriage produced no children, or there are no minor children living in the household (or all child custody and support issues have settled through an agreement).

If all of these requirements are met, you may be allowed to file for a simple divorce.

Divorce and Mediation

Divorce changes all aspects of life for both spouses. Your financial situation and your custody situation are two of the biggest changes that will occur during a divorce. To file for simple divorce, these major issues must be resolved outside of the courtroom. One of the most efficient ways to settle complicated divorce issues is through mediation. Mediation is a process in which both spouses, usually with their attorneys, sit down and work through issues with a neutral, third party mediator. This is a timesaving, cost-effective way to settle disputes. Resolving issues through mediation is often a helpful way to meet the “no major issues” requirement of filing for a simple divorce.

Contact Summerville Divorce Attorneys

At the McGrath Law Firm, our family law attorneys understand that divorce is a complicated process. We have helped numerous clients overcome complex issues through mediation so they can file for a simple divorce. Seeking an uncontested divorce can save you money, and help you move forward with your future more quickly. Contact our firm now to schedule a consultation and learn more about your options.

Determining Alimony in South Carolina

Deciding to file for divorce can be a tough decision. Once the divorce is filed, many questions and complications can quickly arise. The entire divorce process can be overwhelming emotionally, mentally, and especially financially. Alimony is a particularly difficult issue that often comes up in many divorce cases. Whether you or your spouse is eligible for alimony, or if either spouse wants to agree to alimony payments, depends on numerous factors. To learn more about alimony, read below. Then, contact the Summerville family lawyers at the McGrath Law Firm today.

How Is Alimony Calculated?

Alimony is designed to support a spouse while he or she transitions to a new lifestyle after the divorce. These payments can be awarded while the divorce process is ongoing or after the divorce is finalized. A judge can order one spouse to pay support to the other, or the parties can agree on alimony payments. If a judge makes the decision, there are many factors he or she will consider when calculating a final amount. Some of these factors include:

  • Length of the marriage;
  • Standard of living established during the marriage;
  • Each spouse’s age;
  • Each spouse’s educational background and earning capacity;
  • Any marital misconduct by either spouse;
  • Each spouse’s physical and mental conditions; and
  • The parties’ current individual incomes.

These are just a few of the many factors that determine how much alimony, and the type of alimony, a judge may order.

In South Carolina, there are five separate types of alimony:

  • Rehabilitative – support designed to pay for a spouse’s workforce training or education so they can successfully move into the workforce after not working during the marriage;
  • Reimbursement – support payments intended to compensate one spouse for the support he or she gave to the other to increase their earning capacity;
  • Lump sum – one set amount to be paid in a lump sum or a few payments;
  • Periodic – monthly support payments ordered for a specified period of time; and
  • Separate payment and support – these payments are not awarded to divorcing spouses, but spouses who have separated.

Every divorce case is different, and your unique circumstances will determine whether alimony can and should be awarded to you or your spouse. Some divorcing couples agree to alimony payments in lieu of a judge ordering such support. Agreeing to pay alimony may be a useful tool to settling your case out of court, which often makes the entire process quicker and more cost-effective. Additionally, paying alimony may have some tax benefits for the obligated spouse. Deciding to ask for or agreeing to spousal support payments can also be a hard decision, so it is important to consult with an experienced Summerville family lawyer about this issue.

Contact a Summerville Divorce Lawyer

Are you considering divorce or going through the process already? Has a judge ordered alimony in your case, but your circumstances have changed? If so, contact the McGrath Law Firm. Our firm has successfully represented numerous Summerville clients, and we can help you. Contact us today to discuss your case with a Summerville family lawyer.

Custody Fights in South Carolina

The matter of child custody should always be about your children’s needs, so as a parent your actions and behavior during the custody process should also be all about the children and making sure that they are the top priority. Below are some tips for things to do or not do if you are fighting for custody of your child or children.

The Ex-Spouse’s Family Still Matters

You should always avoid separating your child from your soon to be ex-spouse’s family members (i.e. grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.). It is good to keep in mind that just because your relationship is coming to an end, does not mean your child should have to forfeit his/her relationships with extended family members. Also remember that your child is still related to them even though you are not, so avoid the urge to say negative things about them in front of your child.

Privacy Is Important

Privacy is critical to the smooth running of any co-parenting situation. So long as your child is not in danger, avoid trying to control every move of what your child does while in the custody of the other co-parent.  If you do your best to respect the rights of the co-parent when your child is in their care, then it is more likely you will receive respect in return. There are local organizations that offer co-parenting classes to help with often difficult transition.

Consider Shared Custody

You should always be open to the possibility that a shared custody arrangement may not be in the best interest of your child. Keep your child’s unique needs in mind; this is especially true if you have a special needs child who may not react well to change and different environments.

Foster a Relationship with Both Parents

Despite the anger and resentment you may have towards your soon to be ex-spouse, always do your best to encourage your child to develop and maintain a healthy relationship with your soon to be ex-spouse. It’s important for a child to have both a mother and father role model in his/her life.

Keep Up with Child Support

If you have been ordered to pay child support payments, do not withhold that support just to punish the other parent. By doing so, you will ultimately be punishing and depriving your child, as child support is meant to help out with expenses related to the child.

Avoid Talking About the Divorce in Front of the Child

Do not discuss legal matters around your child. No matter how angry or upset you are with your spouse, your child is not the person you should be venting to about the divorce. Consider meeting with a therapist or at least save the divorce discussions for your adult friends.

Contact a South Carolina Divorce Attorney

If either you or someone you know is dealing with a custody dispute, you should contact the legal team at McGrath Law Firm, P.A. at 843-606-2755 or online if you need more information about the home study process. We are experienced, passionate, and knowledgeable, and we are ready to help guide you through the intricacies of the South Carolina custody process.

Think Getting a Divorce In South Carolina is Simple? Think Again.

Getting married in South Carolina is not difficult. Subsequently, many married couples think that obtaining a divorce to end the marriage would be just as easy. Unfortunately, these couples may be in for a surprise. Though the concept of getting a divorce is easy, the nuts and bolts of the process can be confusing, time consuming and downright aggravating. Some of the more cumbersome requirements for obtaining a divorce in South Carolina demonstrate why having an experienced divorce attorney on your side will save you time, money and most importantly, sanity.

History of Divorce

Not too long ago, divorce would only be granted to couples if someone was “at fault.” Generally, this meant that one spouse had committed adultery, abuse, desertion or some other type of harmful conduct that affected their spouse. This also meant that a married couple that wasn’t happy with each other but hadn’t done anything wrong was out of luck and required to stay married. Luckily, spouses aren’t locked into marriage if they fall out of love. South Carolina, like every other state, has adopted a “no fault” divorce. However, the process of obtaining a no-fault divorce isn’t as easy as going down to the courthouse and asking for one. In fact, under South Carolina law, the couples must live apart for at least one year for a judge to even consider granting the divorce.

And if the one-year rule requirement sounds brutal, consider this: even if the parties have lived apart for one year, the parties must convince the court that their marriage cannot be reconciled. This step requires a specific finding by a judge. Many times, testimony from third parties is required for this.

Division of Property in Divorce

Another big part of the separation of spouses is how the property of the parties is divided. South Carolina, like most states, does not utilize community property rules. This means that the marital property is not necessarily split right down the middle. If the spouses are unable to agree on how their assets should be separated, the court will decide instead.

The court will take into consideration several variables, such as each spouse’s contribution to the marital estate, the spending habits of each spouse and other contributions that were made to the marriage and the marital property. This process can become very contentious and generally will require the admission of evidence and testimony about the characteristics of the marriage.

Although some couples that are going through a divorce can navigate this process on their own, it is often frustrating, time consuming and costly. Going through a divorce is difficult by itself. When you add the legal process of dividing marital assets, it can seem impossible. Luckily, the experienced divorce attorneys at the McGrath Law Firm, P.A. are here to help. We have first-hand knowledge of the procedures and practices of the family law courts in South Carolina and are happy to help you make a stressful time in your life a little easier.Contact us today.