You had every intention of spending the rest of your life with your spouse when you got married. Going through a divorce can be an incredibly difficult and emotionally complex time regardless of the reason for your separation.
When you decide to end your marriage in South Carolina, you can file a no-fault divorce or one founded on specific grounds. Grounds for a divorce in South Carolina include alcohol abuse, infidelity, drug abuse and physical abuse. In these situations, you will generally not need to prove an extended physical separation. For a no-fault divorce, you and your spouse will need to be living apart for at least one year to file.
Understanding Uncontested Divorces
A divorce may be either no-fault or based on specific grounds in addition to being contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce in South Carolina is one where both parties agree on the basics of divorce. This means they can reach a consensus on:
- Division of property
- Child support
Usually, uncontested divorce happens after a couple has been separated for at least a year. Both parties are ready to leave the marriage, are willing to move forward and agree on the basic terms of how post-marriage life will work.
Since so much is agreed upon, uncontested divorces can take as little as two or three months to resolve after the separation requirements are fulfilled.
How an Uncontested Divorce Works
Even if you are in agreement and ready to proceed with dissolving your marriage, an uncontested divorce still requires some work. You must meet the requirements for separation and you must file the paperwork. Both you and your spouse must submit financial declarations to be put on file. Your agreement has to be in writing and approved by a family court. The court will examine the document to ensure it is fair to any children and to both parties.
Once the agreement is ready, the divorce case has to be filed with the courts. You must request a hearing and show up for your court date. After the hearing, you can start your new life as an unmarried person.
Frequently Asked Questions About Uncontested Divorces in South Carolina
If you’re going through an uncontested divorce, you probably have a lot on your mind, as well as many questions. You might be feeling frustrated, angry or worried about the future.
It’s best to get in touch with an attorney to discuss the specific details of your unique case. Here are the answers to a few of the most common questions about uncontested divorces in South Carolina.
Do I Need a Lawyer for an Uncontested Divorce?
It is possible to file for an uncontested divorce in South Carolina without a lawyer, provided that you and your spouse meet the general requirements. However, working with an attorney is the better option for most people.
Even if you agree on most things, marriage involves many legal and financial rights, and you need to ensure you do not overlook anything. For example, you may need to make sure the marital home is refinanced and the deed is changed to reflect new ownership if the property will not be sold. If you have a visitation schedule for children, you may need to update that schedule as your child gets older and as circumstances change.
When creating your agreement, you also need to keep in mind that your circumstances may evolve and your agreement could have far-reaching consequences. For example, child support and the division of assets can impact both parties’ taxes. If one partner goes on to meet someone else or gets a new job, this can affect everything from visitation to the financial lives of both parties.
Coming up with a functional agreement is a challenge, and you will want to ensure all the paperwork is in order. In many cases, it is advisable to seek the advice of a knowledgeable attorney.
Do I Need to Wait a Year to Get an Uncontested Divorce?
The simple answer to this question is yes. In South Carolina, you and your spouse will need to have lived apart for at least a year before you can file for an uncontested divorce. This requirement means that you must live in entirely separate households, not even spending a single night under the same roof during the one-year separation period.
If you and your spouse began living separately before agreeing to file for divorce, you can consider the day you stopped sharing a household as the first day of this one-year period.
How Long Must I Live in South Caroline to File for an Uncontested Divorce?
The answer to this question depends on whether your spouse also lives in South Carolina. Are you living in the state while your spouse lives elsewhere? To file for an uncontested divorce, either you or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least one year.
The residency requirement is a bit different if both spouses live in South Carolina. You must have both lived in the state for a minimum of three months.
Do I Need to Be in the Same Place as My Spouse to Sign the Divorce Paperwork?
In South Carolina, there is no need to see your spouse in person to sign the paperwork for your divorce. You have a few options, including sending the forms through the U.S. mail or a Private Process Server.
You can also finalize the divorce in court without your spouse present, although you will need to present the documents they signed or proof that they were appropriately served and notified of the hearing date.
Schedule a Consultation With Lauren Taylor Law
Involving an attorney in your uncontested divorce doesn’t mean that the process has to be drawn-out and expensive. The right attorney will help guide you through this complex legal process and ensure that you and your spouse reach the best possible agreement. If you’re looking for an attorney with knowledge, experience and compassion, consider Lauren Taylor Law.
Lauren Taylor offers legal representation in complex divorce cases and will work to protect your interests and those of any children in the relationship. If you’re getting a divorce in South Carolina, contact Lauren Taylor Law and make sure you have all your bases covered.
South Carolina divorce attorney Lauren Taylor is an authority on 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.