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April 18, 2019

The Difference Between a No-Fault & Fault Divorce

The difference between a Fault Divorce and a No Fault Divorce in Charleston SC

What’s the Difference Between a No-Fault & Fault Divorce?

Under South Carolina Family law, you can file for a no-fault divorce or a fault divorce. A no-fault divorce comes as a result of either a lack of fault of either party or equal fault of both parties. This divorce does not require any proof or reason, only that both parties agree that neither is at fault. A fault divorce, however, asserts that the divorce was caused by one of the parties.

In determining which form of divorce to file, you should also consider whether or not your spouse may be able to assert that you were at fault. If, for example, you have committed adultery, your spouse will be able to bring this up in court if you file for divorce on the grounds of physical cruelty, or any other fault divorce.

Defining a No-Fault Divorce in Charleston

Although no-fault divorces are simple, in that the only reason that needs to be given for the divorce is that the couple is no longer compatible, no-fault divorces can take longer than a fault divorce because South Carolina law requires that the couple is separated for one year before a no-fault divorce can be granted.

Definition of a Fault Divorce in Charleston

There are multiple kinds of fault divorces, depending on the situation leading up to the divorce. Regardless of the reason for the divorce, there is no one-year waiting period for any fault divorce. You may seek a fault divorce based on your partner’s:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion, which does require that you have been deserted for at least one year
  • Physical cruelty
  • Habitual drug or alcohol use
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If you do obtain a fault divorce, it is unlikely that your spouse will be able to seek alimony, because they have been declared at fault for the divorce. It is also common for the spouse determined to be at fault to be granted less property in the divorce as well.

Proving Fault in Divorce Cases

In order to obtain a fault divorce, you must be able to prove in Family Court that your spouse did, in fact, commit the actions you assert in your divorce claim.


Adultery may be proven through photos, videos, social media exchanges, or text messages.

Desertion requires proof that the spouse has been gone for at least one year without any intention of returning home. You must also prove that you did not give your spouse reason to leave.

Physical cruelty requires proof of physical violence, including police reports, photographs, hospital reports, restraining orders, or any other evidence that your spouse has been violent.

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Drinking and drug use may be more difficult to prove, as it requires proof that the spouse not only uses drugs or alcohol, but that it is done habitually. Bank records or receipts showing the purchases, arrest reports related to drug or alcohol use, or text messages may help you to prove your spouse’s habit.

These items of proof can sometimes be difficult to obtain. Be certain to contact an attorney to assist you in compiling the evidence you need to obtain your divorce.

Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney in Charleston

If you are considering divorce, contact Lauren Taylor Law today. We can help you determine which type of divorce is appropriate for your situation and file the appropriate divorce paperwork and prove fault, if necessary.