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South Carolina Divorce



Before filing for divorce, it helps to understand the requirements for getting divorced in South Carolina and to learn more about the divorce process. You should also hire a divorce attorney to ensure that you and your spouse reach a fair divorce agreement.

To begin a divorce proceeding in South Carolina, at least one spouse must have been a South Carolina resident for one year, or both spouses must have been residents for at least three months. There is a 90 day waiting period between filing for divorce and the divorce's being granted.

Grounds for Divorce

Under South Carolina law, couples can obtain a no-fault divorce or a fault-based divorce.

To obtain a no-fault divorce in South Carolina, you and your spouse must have lived separate and apart for at least one year before filing for divorce.

To obtain a fault-based divorce, you must provide a reason (known as grounds) for asking for a divorce. Acceptable grounds are:

  • Adultery
  • Alcoholism or narcotic drug abuse
  • Physical abuse or the fear of physical abuse
  • Willful desertion for at least one year

Property Division & Alimony

As part of your divorce, all marital property must be divided "equitably" (but not necessarily equally). Marital property includes assets and debts acquired during the marriage. Separate property, which includes property acquired before the marriage and property obtained during the marriage via gift or inheritance to strictly one spouse, is not subject to equitable distribution.

Under certain conditions, the court will order alimony, or spousal support, to be paid from one spouse to the other. Alimony is designed to lessen the financial impact of the divorce on one spouse. The length and amount of support awarded depends on several factors, including the length of the marriage and each spouse's financial situation and earning capacity.

Child Custody & Support

If you and your spouse have minor children, then the court hearing your divorce case will also rule on issues related to child custody, visitation and child support.

If parents are unable to reach a custody agreement on their own, then the court will make a custody ruling based on the best interests of the child. Among the factors a South Carolina judge will consider:

  • The welfare of the child
  • Each parent's circumstances
  • The child and parent's religious faith and the best spiritual interests of the child
  • The child's preference, if the child is old and mature enough to express a preference

Both parents are responsible for supporting the child, which means the non-custodial parent will be required to pay child support. A judge will usually rely on a child support calculator to determine child support amounts.

Find & Hire Local South Carolina Divorce Attorneys

Your divorce agreement will have long-lasting effects on you as well as your minor children, which is why it's important to hire a divorce lawyer to guide you through the process. If you live in Columbia, Charleston or elsewhere in South Carolina, Attorneys.com offers a free service that can quickly connect you with lawyers in your area. Complete the form on this page or call us at 877-913-7222 to get matched with a local lawyer today.