Divorce is an unpleasant — and sometimes unavoidable — part of life. As you consider taking this step, it’s essential first to take a closer look at the big picture of divorce, as well as what the process for divorce is in South Carolina.
Divorce Statistics in South Carolina
As of 2017, there were 2.6 divorces granted per one thousand residents in the state of South Carolina.
To file for a divorce in South Carolina, you must be a current resident of the state and have lived here for at least one year before the desired filing date.
Divorces are handled in family court by a family court judge. These are the same judges that deal with alimony, child custody, child support and division of assets.
Deciding When to Divorce
Although most people don’t enter into a marriage expecting a divorce, it may eventually prove to be in your family’s best interest. Before making such an important decision, be sure you and your spouse are ready for a divorce. You might consider attending marriage counseling or speaking to a therapist to help work through some issues. Trying to resolve the problems before automatically turning to divorce is especially important if there are children involved.
It’s also important that you do your homework and familiarize yourself with the process of divorce in South Carolina.
If you have given the subject it’s due diligence and decided that divorce truly is the best option, then you have a few different options regarding a timeline. Each part of the year comes with its own considerations, especially concerning taxes.
Keep in mind, in some cases, the most important thing to do for your safety may be to leave your spouse as soon as possible.
Consulting a family attorney is the best way to ensure your divorce is handled quickly and efficiently.
Top 5 Reasons For Getting a Divorce in South Carolina
Although there are several reasons it may be time to end a marriage. The law recognizes five central reasons for divorce in South Carolina. These include:
- Adultery: In South Carolina, you must be able to prove that your spouse had both the motivation and the opportunity to have an affair. While proving adultery typically doesn’t require proof of actual sexual intercourse, you must be able to provide evidence of a romantic relationship or intention.
- Habitual drunkenness: Habitual drunkenness refers to a spouse who has a problematic relationship with mind-altering substances, including alcohol and narcotics.
- Physical cruelty: This is also referred to as physical or domestic abuse. In the United States, an average of 20 people per minute are physically abused by their romantic partner.
- Abandonment: Marital abandonment refers to spouses who walk away from — or sever ties with — their family with no intent to return or continue supporting those left behind. In South Carolina, abandonment becomes a case for divorce after one year of separation.
- No-Fault: Unlike the previously mentioned causes of divorce, no-fault divorce requires no proof. No-fault divorces often happen when couples mutually agree to end a marriage, due to irreconcilable differences or simply “falling out of love.” South Carolina requires that a couple separates for at least one year before seeking a no-fault divorce.
What Happens Next
Choosing when it’s time for a divorce is only the first step. There are three things divorced adults in South Carolina will need to discuss:
- Determining and dividing assets: The court uses several factors when determining how your assets are both defined and distributed during a divorce. These factors may include the type of asset, the duration of the marriage and the health of each spouse. Any marital misconduct that may have been cause for the divorce is also taken into account.
- Alimony: Alimony is also referred to as financial spousal support. A family court attorney can help you determine who may be eligible to receive alimony payments, as well as how much those payments should be.
- Custody: Child custody and child support is often the most difficult and emotionally taxing part of a family divorce. A family court attorney will help guide you through the process of deciding which custody situation is the best fit for your family. Your attorney can discuss the possibility of required child support payments with you.
Children and Divorce
An average of more than 787,000 couples get divorced each year, across the country. Many of those divorces involve children.
Divorce can have a significant impact on your child’s wellbeing. Often, children of divorced parents are at a higher risk for emotional stress or difficulty in other areas of their life and development.
If you have decided with certainty to move forward with a divorce, it’s important to sit down with your child and explain what is happening. Reassure them that they are not to blame and they are still loved and supported. Encourage them to ask questions.
Assuming the divorce is not due to violent or unsafe circumstances, you and your spouse may consider co-parenting your child after it is finalized.
Why South Carolina Divorce Rates are Declining
Divorce rates across the U.S. are declining. The state of South Carolina has recently seen some of the lowest divorce rates in the history of the state, as evident from the significant drop in divorce percentages from 4.5 in 1990 to only 2.9 in 2014.
Some studies suggest millennials are to thank for the United States reaching some of its lowest recorded divorce rates. Research shows that young Americans in their twenties face a less-than 50% chance of divorce. One reason for that lower divorce rate might be that millennials are postponing marriage.
Others attribute lower divorce rates to the fact that many states are making divorces harder to attain. This may very well be a valid factor in South Carolina’s lowered divorce rate, as the state is widely considered one of the most challenging states to get a divorce in.
A lower divorce rate in the United States could also be due to a decreased number in marriages. Some research suggests that 25% of millennials won’t get married in their lifetime. Many couples are choosing to remain single or opt for cohabitation without marriage instead.
Navigate the Process of Divorce in South Carolina With an Experienced Family Law Attorney
Divorce is tough — both emotionally and legally. In some cases, you may be able to keep your divorce out of the courtroom. An experienced family law attorney can help you understand and explore your legal options, including alimony, division of property and child custody cases.
South Carolina is one of the most challenging states in the union to get a divorce. If you’ve decided that divorce is the best next step to take, it’s important to get in touch with a family law attorney who can help you navigate the process with confidence. Contact Lauren Taylor Law today to set up a consultation.
South Carolina divorce attorney Lauren Taylor is an authority on family law in Charleston and Greenville. Lauren Taylor Law is an authority on divorce, child support, and alimony in South Carolina. She graduated from the Charlotte School of Law, and has been practicing for several years now. Lauren Taylor relies on her experience and passion to fight for you during this stressful time. Learn more about her experience here.