Ending a marriage is difficult. You may feel frustrated, regretful and sad. Once you and your spouse decide you are done, getting your divorce taken care of quickly and with as little drama as possible is often your top priority.
You should understand the steps to getting a divorce in South Carolina before you file. We can help you prepare for this big life change and ensure that you get what you deserve during this difficult period.
Qualifications for a Divorce in South Carolina
To file for divorce, you must satisfy one of these requirements:
- You or your spouse have lived in the state for at least one year prior to your court filing.
- You have both lived in the state for at least three months prior to your court filing.
South Carolina offers no-fault divorces that simplify the legal proceedings. To qualify, you must meet these three requirements:
- You may not have any shared marital property or debt. If you do, you agree on how to divide these things.
- You don’t have any children and you aren’t expecting any children — or you have already reached a custody, child support and visitation agreement.
- You haven’t lived with your spouse in at least one year.
Preparing and Filing Your Forms
You will need to fill out some forms, which you can get on the South Carolina Judicial Branch website:
- Complaint for Divorce
- Summons for Divorce
- Family Court Cover Sheet
- Certificate of Exemption
When you fill out your forms, use the person requesting the divorce as the plaintiff’s name and the other person as the defendant. Sign the forms that require a notary public when you are with that person, and make three copies of each form — one for each spouse and one for the court.
To file your forms, you can go to the county where you and your spouse last lived, the county your spouse lives in right now or your county, if your spouse no longer lives in South Carolina. You will need to pay a fee when you file your papers, though you can file a motion to have it waived if you can’t afford the fee.
Giving Your Spouse the Papers
You must “serve,” or give your spouse the divorce papers, after you file them. If you are on good terms, your spouse may agree to take service of the papers. If you aren’t on good terms, you can ask anyone over age 18 to give them to your spouse. You can also request a process server or sheriff to give them, though you may have to pay.
Court Hearing and Final Steps
Your spouse has 35 days to answer or contest your divorce request. If they agree to everything, you will finalize the divorce at a hearing. If they don’t, you will go to trial, where a judge will help you hammer out agreements on the disputes.
A lawyer can help you through every step of this process. Contact Lauren Taylor Law today to schedule a free initial consultation and discuss your divorce proceedings.
South Carolina divorce attorney Lauren Taylor practices family law in Charleston and Greenville. She graduated from the Charlotte School of Law, and has been practicing for more than ten years.
Since the firm’s inception in 2012, Mrs. Taylor has helped hundreds of people navigate the uncertainties surrounding the family and criminal court process.
She has cultivated a team that ensures each case has a strategy crafted specifically to the clients needs and desires.
Her commitment to top notch service has led her to open two additional offices in the low country where she now resides with her husband Michael and her golden retriever, Buster.