Divorce in South Carolina: Commonly-Asked Questions

1. What Do I Have to File to Start My Divorce Action in Rock Hill & Gaffney, SC?

You must first file a summons and complaint to begin the proceedings for your divorce.

2. Can I Get a Divorce Without Hiring a Divorce Attorney?

I never recommend handling a divorce without an attorney.

3. What Will Happen If I Go to Court to Obtain a Divorce without an Attorney?

Without an attorney, your interests, the interests of your children, and your financial estate may not be fully protected.

4. Do I Have to Go to Court to Get a Divorce?

Yes, in South Carolina you do have to go to court to get a divorce.

5. How Long Will It Take for Me to Get a Divorce?

While each divorce is different, all divorces in South Carolina must be resolved within 365 days from the date that the initial summons and complaint are filed. However, the family court judge has the ability to grant an extension.

For a fault-based divorce, it is possible for parties to obtain a divorce within 90 days after the date of the filing of the summons and complaint of the fault-based ground. The party seeking the divorce must meet their burden of proof to prove to the court that the fault-based ground exists.

6. What are the Grounds for Divorce?

To obtain a divorce on a fault ground, South Carolina recognizes: 1. Adultery, 2. Habitual Drunkenness or Drug Use, 3. Physical Cruelty, and (4) Desertion for a period of one year or more. (It is important to note that desertion is rarely ever used.)

The only no-fault divorce that is recognized in South Carolina is a divorce based on the continuous separation of one year.

7. If I File for Divorce, Can I Get Alimony?

Possibly. The court considers a number of factors when deciding whether one party is entitled to alimony. The factors include but are not limited to duration of marriage, disparity of income of the parties, future earning potential of the parties, fault of either party, and tax consequences of the alimony award.

8. If the Court Orders Alimony, How Long Will I Receive It?

The length of time of an award of alimony varies. There are different types of alimony in South Carolina: lump sum alimony, periodic alimony, rehabilitative alimony, and reimbursement alimony

With the exception of lump sum alimony, most alimony awards terminate if the receiving party remarries or cohabitates with another person for a period of more than 90 days or the death of either party.