Divorce Attorney in South Carolina

image of divorce attorney at work
Getting divorced without an attorney can lead to problems, especially if your spouse has one.

What is a Divorce Attorney?

Protecting the rights of their client, together with the custody and financial aspects, a divorce attorney will explain the available legal options. They should also listen to the client’s view of their situation and their objectives, then give advice based on their specific needs.

The legal process of any separation or dissolving a marriage is complicated, and can be time-consuming, emotionally draining, and can take up to a year to resolve. Although you don’t have to have a lawyer to get divorced, it could lead to problems, especially if your spouse has one.

In the United States separation comes under state law, and every state has its own established grounds. South Carolina allows ‘fault based’ and ‘no-fault’ divorce. However, where we differ from some other states is that parties must be separated for a full year before a ‘no-fault’ is granted. Charleston follows the SC state law.

Divorce Lawyer FAQs

Procedure, Duration and Cost

How do I get a divorce in South Carolina?

This can be achieved after filing the necessary court documents and then having a judge issue a decree. Once you are married, only a judge can declare you otherwise. Most of the time, you must be separated for a full year before this can be granted. If, however, you can prove adultery, habitual drug or alcohol use, or physical abuse, then you can obtain one sooner. A lawyer is best able to advise you on your options and course of action.

How long does it take to get divorced?

There are two main types in South Carolina:

  • At-fault type occurs when one party is responsible for the breakup of the marriage because of adultery, habitual drunkenness, or physical abuse. These can take as little as 3 months.
  • No-fault type takes at least a year because the law requires the parties to be separated a full year before one is granted.

How much does it cost for a South Carolina divorce?

  • The cost will range widely. With a few assets such as a house, cars, bank accounts, and kids, the cost can be between $5,000 and $10,000. If the parents disagree on how to divide each and every asset or disagree over custody, the price can increase substantially.
  • For those involving substantial assets, the cost can be much higher. Proving fault, finding hidden assets, and fighting for a larger share of the pie will cost more in legal fees, but the fight is worth it if there is a large financial upside. Forensic accountants, guardian ad litems, mediators and others are often involved when there are high net worth individuals involved. It is not uncommon for the costs to exceed $100,000 when there are large assets involved.

Marital Assets, Alimony and Custody

Is my business considered marital property?

This can be a million-dollar question (or more), and determining it can be tricky. Many companies are the property of a couple who marries, then buys a firm with joint income, and works on it together, then it’s clearly a marital asset. If any of those facts change, however, then the answer changes. Additional facts might also affect the answer. There is the possibility that it’s not a zero sum game. Only a lawyer can help determine what is marital and not, so if you find yourself asking this question, you need to find a highly qualified divorce and business law firm to help.

Who gets the children in a divorce?

  • As with most things, who retains custody depends on the facts and circumstances of each situation. Often one parent will be awarded full custody and the other will receive visitation. There are some instances, however, when joint custody is appropriate. It all comes down to the best interest of the child.
  • Most of the time, the one who cares for the kids most will have custody and the other will have a visitation schedule. Figuring out who that is can be difficult. Mom might talk to the teachers and take the kids to doctor’s appointments. Dad, however, might coach baseball and know about the school bully. In these instances, when both parents play different but vital roles in the lives of their offspring, determining which to choose is tough.

Can I request alimony?

It is intended as a monetary payment, either lump sum or on a continuing basis, from one party to the other. The general idea is that once divorced, both parties should maintain a similar standard of living as they enjoyed before doing so. In South Carolina, the shorter the marriage, the less likely a party will be awarded anything. The longer a marriage, the more likely. It is important to understand that alimony is not child support, which is handled completely separately.

Need help navigating a divorce?

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Your Divorce Attorney in Charleston SC

image of divorce attorneys having a meeting
Discussing the terms required by SC state law to issue a divorce and how to reach a mutual agreement.

Divorcing is never easy, but it took many years before I realized how challenging a complete separation is for the parties involved. It wasn’t until a good friend of mine needed us to help him through the process that I saw the stress, anxiety, and financial burdens the divorcing experience has on people. As a divorce lawyer, I strive to treat everyone like a friend in need.

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