It Takes Time With South Carolina Divorce Laws

South Carolina Divorce Law

South Carolina is called the Palmetto State, named after a very strong tree that was used to build an outpost called Fort Moultrie that protected the Charleston harbor during the revolutionary war.  

British cannonballs bounced off the strong but soft logs and the invasion was thwarted, at least for a while.  If you want to protect yourself from a failing marriage, you may need to get to know the divorce laws in South Carolina.  

Grounds for divorce in South Carolina

One reason that divorce moves slowly in South Carolina is the primary ground for divorce.  

In the old days, couples used to have to prove that one spouse did something wrong before they could be granted a “fault” divorce.  Today, most divorces are granted on a “no-fault” basis, meaning the couple just wants to split up.  

State of South Carolina divorce laws allows a no-fault divorce when a couple has “lived separate and apart without cohabitation for a period of one year.”  

That can be a very long year.  During that time, a couple generally should split up with each spouse getting their own home.  Sometimes this is easier said than done. Some couples cannot afford two households and will instead try to live separately in the same house.  

If they relapse and spend a night together like a married couple, then a judge could potentially find they have not been separated long enough.  That said, in most cases when a couple says they have been split of a year a judge usually will not second guess them.  

South Carolina divorce laws – property division

South Carolina Divorce Laws - Property Division

You may have heard a friend ask, what are the divorce laws in South Carolina?  

Odds are that person was really thinking about money. When a couple gets divorced the court will typically divide up their property.  For some people that is a simple matter of splitting their joint bank account.  

Others have an extensive list of assets and debts that a court must take into account.  Items that each spouse had before the marriage, along with inheritances and gifts they received during the marriage, are generally considered separate property.  

South Carolina divorce laws give the judge authority to divide how to “equitably,” or “fairly,” divide up the couple’s property.  The judge is given 15 factors to look at, including the duration of the marriage, the conduct of the parties, the health and earning capacity of each spouse, and the importance of keeping the family home.  

Alimony can also be awarded.  If a couple has children, South Carolina has a calculator that is used to determine the presumed payments taking into account how the child is splitting time between the parents and what the parent’s earn.  

Get cozy first

A person generally must seek a divorce in the state where they live.  

Many states allow one spouse to file for divorce after living in the state for just a few weeks.  South Carolina is much slower. South Carolina divorce laws require one spouse to live in the state for at least one year before filing for divorce.  If both spouses live in the state, then the time is cut down to three months before filing for divorce in South Carolina. Either way, it will take some time if you are new to the state.  


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