Navigating a divorce can be draining and complicated. It’s essential to take care of yourself during the process, especially amidst all the different procedures and regulations. You should also stay organized and updated about divorce processes and your rights.
If you’re considering filing for an at-fault divorce in South Carolina, you need to keep some essential state laws in mind. With a complete understanding of how to prove this divorce type, you can make the process easier for yourself. In turn, you can begin a peaceful new chapter of your life.
Here is more information on proving a South Carolina at-fault divorce.
Reasons for an At-Fault Divorce in South Carolina
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When filing for an at-fault divorce, you must provide proof of a spouse’s wrongdoing and document how these actions led to the dissolution of your marriage. For a fault divorce in South Carolina, specific requirements prove grounds for filing.
South Carolina allows you to file for an at-fault divorce for four possible reasons:
- Habitual drunkenness: This reason alleges that your spouse’s drug or alcohol abuse led to a breakdown of your marriage and a reason for divorce. You need to provide documentation of frequent drinking or drug use and reasoning for how this habit makes your marriage unfit to continue. To prove habitual intoxication, you could supply physical receipts of frequent alcohol purchases. You could also give records of criminal offenses due to alcohol abuse, such as a DUI record.
- Physical cruelty: You can also file for an at-fault divorce due to physical abuse. This reason entails your partner inflicting any form of severe physical harm on you. It requires proof of extreme cruelty that is enough to threaten one’s life, such as firing a gun at someone.
- Desertion: Desertion refers to your spouse leaving without return and without discussing it with you first. If you want to use desertion as grounds for an at-fault divorce, your spouse must be gone for at least one year and not have given you any support during that time.
- Adultery: Lastly, you can also file for fault divorce if your spouse cheated on you. You typically need circumstantial evidence to prove adultery, such as photographs, witness testimonies or input from a private investigator.
With sufficient evidence of one of these grounds, you can file for an at-fault divorce in South Carolina.
No-Fault Grounds and Stipulations: Is South Carolina a No-Fault State?
You can also file for a no-fault divorce in South Carolina. Unlike an at-fault divorce, a no-fault divorce doesn’t require extensive proof. Instead, these divorce types are based on mutually agreed upon differences. Both spouses agree that they can’t reconcile their disagreements and decide to end their relationship.
The filing process becomes much less complicated because you don’t have to prove spousal abuse or misconduct. You can also get started on property or alimony negotiations sooner.
To file for a no-fault divorce, you’ll need:
- One year or more separation: You and your spouse must have officially lived apart for at least a year before filing. Simply keep track of when you started living apart, and after a year, the court should grant you the divorce.
- Independent corroboration: To successfully have grounds for divorce in South Carolina, you also need separate proof of your year-long separation. This could be a witness who testifies to your separation or other evidence of your physical separation.
How to File a Divorce in South Carolina
Because the divorce process in South Carolina is different from many other states, it’s important to keep track of the state’s requirements. The more knowledge you have, the easier the process becomes, and the quicker you can move forward.
Here is a basic overview of how to file for divorce in South Carolina.
Before you file for divorce, you should make sure you meet South Carolina’s state requirements first. For any divorce, you must meet one of these standards:
- Either you or your spouse resided in South Carolina for at least one year before you file for divorce.
- Both spouses must have lived in South Carolina for at least three months before filing.
If you fit one of those requirements, you meet the basic qualifications for divorce filing. Additionally, if you want to file for a no-fault divorce, you need to reach these requirements:
- If you own property together or share debts, you must have a mutual understanding of how to split these.
- If you have children, you must reach a visitation or custody agreement.
- You and your spouse must have lived separately for at least a year.
What You Need to File
To file for a divorce in South Carolina, you need essential documents like:
- A Summons for Divorce
- A Complaint for Divorce
- A Family Court Cover Sheet
- A Certificate of Exemption
In addition to these, you might need additional information based on the type of divorce you file for. As discussed above, an at-fault divorce requires more physical proof of spousal misconduct.
Here are the types of information you need for both divorce types:
- At-fault divorce: To file for an at-fault divorce, you need substantial proof of your reasoning for filing. For instance, if you file for an at-fault divorce due to alcohol abuse, you need to provide documentation of your spouse abusing alcohol in some capacity.
- No-fault divorce: You only need evidence of your physical, year-long separation for a no-fault divorce.
Once you have gathered these materials, you can file the papers at your local county courthouse. The next steps depend on how soon your spouse files a complaint.
Enlisting a Lawyer
While hiring a lawyer isn’t required for divorce processes, many experts recommend enlisting their help. If you have a written settlement with details on how you will split your shared property and child custody, a lawyer’s help might not be as crucial. However, in most cases, having a lawyer’s help to guide you through the divorce process can be highly beneficial. They can use their expertise to help you file your documents and provide evidence for at-fault cases.
Most at-fault cases require a lawyer, as they help you through more complicated legal matters. Overall, an attorney helps streamline the divorce process and can reduce the stress you might be feeling. If you experience any confusion or complications with your South Carolina divorce, consider hiring a lawyer for assistance.
Request a Consultation from Lauren Taylor Law
Lauren Taylor has provided high-quality assistance for hundreds of South Carolina divorce cases. Her Charleston and Greenville law practices specialize in family and divorce law for South Carolinians. Ms. Taylor commits to top-notch service and only provides clients with the best assistance possible.
For help with a fault divorce in South Carolina, request a consultation from Lauren Taylor Law today.
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.