If you and/or your spouse wish to get a divorce in Greenville, South Carolina, there are some rules that you will want to keep in mind. First, South Carolina offers several “at-fault” reasons that will grant you and your spouse a divorce. They are: 1) adultery 2) physical cruelty 3) habitual drunkenness and 4) desertion. If none of these apply to your situation, you can file for a “no-fault” divorce, which means you can obtain the divorce after living separately and apart from your spouse for a year.
You and your spouse will have to iron out the details of what your life will look like after the divorce, and if the two of you cannot reach an agreement on those terms, the judge will decide them for you. You will be bound by the judge’s decision, so it may be in your best interest to reach these agreements on your own. But you really shouldn’t tackle this divorce on your own. It is best to hire an attorney to represent your interests in court and throughout the entire process. You may think that you and your spouse can handle it, and stay on good terms. However, when the process really gets underway there are going to be issues best handled by a neutral party. Lauren Taylor Law in Greenville, is prepared to help you get through this arduous process; she has the experience and know-how to represent you and your interest from start to finish.
What Factors Are Taken into Account in My Divorce?
Not surprisingly, the court will need to take several factors into consideration when you file for a divorce in
South Carolina. These factors include the expected issues of division of property and debts, child support, alimony and custody of any minor children. In looking at these factors, judges will apply the law of equitable distribution to decide the division of property and debts; be aware that this division may not be a fifty-fifty split. The judge will take into account all aspects of property, including but not limited to, cars, furniture, collectibles, etc., as well as real property which includes land and house(s). Also under consideration by the judge will be your debts, including any mortgages, car loans and credit card debt owed.
Which Court Hears Divorce Cases?
The more information you provide to your attorney, the better. Get together as many records as you can such as a list of all your assets, when and how they were acquired, the current value of all assets, if available, and the list and value of all current debt owed by you both. Keep in mind that all property is not necessarily divided between the two of you: gifts acquired outside the marriage are exempt from division and inheritance falls into this same category. Your experienced divorce lawyer in Greenville will compile the facts and present them to the judge assigned to your case. This presentation will normally be done in a courtroom setting, but sometimes can be done outside of a courtroom.
When the judge is considering the negotiation of a fair split of property and debts, he or she will take into account several factors:
1) the financial contributions of each of you to the marriage
2) the age and health status of both parties
3) whether one of you is at fault for the demise of the marriage
4) the length of time you’ve been married.
Am I Entitled to Alimony in South Carolina?
The answer is, perhaps. Alimony can be ordered paid by either party in a divorce. It may be ordered in payments, or it could be in a lump sum. It can be short-term or permanent. In considering alimony payments, the judge will look at the following factors: 1) the length of the marriage 2) the ages of both spouses 3) the physical and emotional condition of each party 4) the educational background of each spouse, and this includes looking at a possible need for further education or training for the party to get up to speed on income they can earn 5) the employment history and earning potential of each (example: if a woman has been a stay at home mom for so long she is too far away from her skills in previous employment, applies in #4 above as well)
6) the standard of living established during the length of the marriage 7) current earnings and the prospect of reasonable future earnings of both parties 8) the current and expected expenses of both spouses 9) whether there was any marital misconduct or fault on the part of either spouse 10) the tax implications of a support judgement.
A spouse who commits adultery in South Carolina is not eligible for alimony. Other behaviors considered “at-fault” on the part of either spouse do not preclude alimony. The judge can order temporary alimony while the divorce is pending; the decision of permanent alimony can only be modified after showing a change of circumstances, and in South Carolina this means when one of the spouses dies or when the spouse receiving the alimony remarries or lives with someone for more than ninety days.
Who Gets Child Custody in a Divorce?
Custody decisions in South Carolina are decided by the law of “best interest of the child” and can be shared or joint custody, and if one spouse has primary custody the spouse usually will be granted regular visitation. The children may have input in the custody arrangement if they have achieved an appropriate level of maturity. The judge may order the children be represented by a neutral third party to protect their interests, called a Guardian Ad Litem.
If the two spouses can’t work out the custody arrangement on their own, the judge will do it for them, taking into consideration the following:
1) the age and health of each spouse
2) the income and education of both parties
3) the employment and work schedule of each spouse
4) the parenting style and religion of each party
5) the ages and sexes of the children
6) consider the child(ren)’s preference if they are mature enough
7) consider if there is any evidence of domestic violence among the parties
8) any details or information provided by the Guardian Ad Litem, if one was appointed.
In South Carolina child support is calculated using specific guidelines, taking into account the gross income of the spouses. The court may require child support payments be made through the court clerk, which will include a collection fee, to ensure payments are made. Employers will generally allow for wage garnishment to satisfy child support as well.
There are many variables goes into deciding all the aspects of a divorce in South Carolina. There are multiple facets in any divorce case and Don’t go it alone, make the call to Lauren Taylor Law today.