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.