Based in Greenville, South Carolina, our knowledgeable team of family law attorneys have years of experience in the family courts of South Carolina. We can help you navigate through any type of family law case and have experience working on divorce proceedings, child custody hearings and many other domestic matters.
Our experienced legal team can help protect your interests and guide you through the emotional and financial impact of a divorce or other family law matter. Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey’s family law attorneys provide legal support during every step of the process. We have experience with:
- Contested and uncontested divorce
- Parental rights, child custody and child support
- Spousal support and alimony agreements
- Legal name changes in South Carolina
- Restraining orders
- DSS cases
You are more than just a case to us. Let us help you successfully navigate this time in your life, so that you can move forward swiftly. Schedule a comprehensive consultation by calling us today at 864-523-7738 or contact us online.
What Are The Grounds for Divorce in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, there are 5 grounds for divorce. Four of them are fault-based grounds, and one is a no-fault divorce, which is based upon 1 year of continuous separation. In South Carolina, a separation requires that you and your ex can’t live under the same roof.
The grounds for divorce in South Carolina are as follows:
- One Year Continuous Separation
- Physical Cruelty
- Habitual Alcohol and/or Drug Abuse
- Desertion of more than one year
How Do I Start the Divorce Process?
In South Carolina, the divorce process begins when either you or your spouse files a Summons and Complaint in the family court. Your South Carolina family court attorney will usually prepare these documents and present them with the court on your behalf.
To start a divorce case in South Carolina, the following must apply:
- If you, the Plaintiff is a resident of South Carolina, then you must have lived in South Carolina for at least one (1) year before the start of your divorce; or
- If you, the Plaintiff, is a nonresident of South Carolina, then your spouse, the Defendant, must have lived in South Carolina for at least one (1) year.
- If both you and your spouse are residents of South Carolina when the divorce action starts, then you must have lived in the state only three (3) months before the start of your divorce action.
Additionally, any action for divorce or for separate support and maintenance must be filed in the county court in which:
- Your spouse, the Defendant, lives at the time of the start of the divorce action.
- Where you, the Plaintiff lives if your spouse is a nonresident or after you’ve performed due diligence, can’t be found, or
- Where you and your spouse last lived as husband and wife unless you, the Plaintiff is a nonresident in which case the action must be brought in the county in which the Defendant lives.
How Does Division of Property Work in South Carolina?
In the state of South Carolina, the family court will divide marital property acquired jointly when your divorce is being decided.
It’s essential to keep in mind that equitable division doesn’t necessarily mean equal division, but rather fair distribution. There may, however, be some property that is considered non-marital such as a property you acquired before your marriage, inheritance, or gifts.
In determining how your marital property is divided, the South Carolina family court will consider a lot of factors that include:
- How long you and your spouse were married
- Your ages at the time of marriage and at the time of divorce
- Marital misconduct by either of you if the misconduct affected economic circumstances or contributed to the divorce.
- Value of the marital property.
- Each of your incomes and earning potential
- The need for training and/or education by either of you to achieve your earning potential
- Your and your spouse’s physical and emotional health
- Vested Retirement Benefits
- Non-marital property of each of you
- Tax Consequences
- Awarding of the family home to a spouse who has physical custody of any children
- Support obligations of a previous marriage by either of you
- Encumbrances and/or liens against the marital property
- Child Custody
How is Child Custody Decided?
South Carolina family law judges will always base their decisions on what is in the best interest of the child.
In some cases, you may wish to have child custody based upon the marital indiscretion by your spouse. Still, you need to remember that a marital error doesn’t make your spouse an unfit parent. If your children are older, the judge may also consider their wishes.
What is Alimony?
Either you or your spouse may be awarded alimony in South Carolina and according to South Carolina family court law. The alimony could be paid periodically or in a lump sum, depending on your individual circumstances.
South Carolina family courts can award different types of alimony based upon the circumstances of your case. They include:
- Permanent, Period Alimony: This type of alimony will end on death or upon the remarriage of the spouse receiving alimony. This kind of alimony can also be modified based upon a change of circumstances, as determined by a South Carolina family court judge.
- Lump-Sum Alimony: This involves a finite total sum to be paid all at once or periodically over a specified period. This kind of alimony cannot be modified and ends only on the death of the spouse that receives the support.
- Rehabilitative Alimony: This kind of alimony ends on the terms of the order by the South Carolina family court upon the remarriage or continued cohabitation of the spouse receiving the support or the death of either you or your ex-spouse.
- Reimbursement Alimony: This alimony will end upon the remarriage or continued cohabitation of the supported spouse, and it will end upon the death of either you or your ex-spouse.
Adultery by you or your ex-spouse is an absolute bar to the at-fault party receiving alimony in South Carolina.
You must choose the right South Carolina divorce lawyer to represent you. The Greenville, South Carolina divorce attorneys at Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey, L.L.C. have the knowledge, experience, and skill to guide you through the divorce process and ensure that all your rights are protected.
A minimum consultation fee of $300 is required on all family court matters. Please take a minute to read our Frequently Asked Questions.
Q: Am I required to pay child support if I don’t have any contact or visitation with my child or children?
A: Yes, all parents are required to pay child support regardless of how often you contact or visit your child or children. The only instance where this may not be necessary is if your parental rights have been terminated.
Q: Can the Department of Social Services (DSS) force me to submit to a drug test?
A: No, DSS does not have the right to force you to submit to a drug test; however, by refusing the test, it does give them reason to suspect drug use in the home and they may seek removal of any children.
Q: I have court hearing requesting that I pay child support. What should I do?
A: Every situation and family court matter is unique. When possible, we recommend contacting an experienced family law attorney to help you navigate family court and ensure the best outcome for you and your children. Our family law attorneys are available to help. We require a minimum consultation fee of $300 on all family court matters. Schedule a comprehensive consultation by calling us today at 864-523-7738 or contact us online.
Q: We have an uncontested divorce and are in agreement on everything. What are the fees for an uncontested divorce?
A: While an uncontested divorce may feel like an open and shut matter, our attorneys give all family court matters a comprehensive review and consultation. We require a minimum consultation fee of $300 on all family court matters. Since divorce includes two parties, we can only represent one spouse in this instance.
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