The Basics of Divorce, Part 1

Basics of divorce - The Peck Law FirmWhen getting a divorce, most — if not all — people have a lot of questions. If you are considering or starting a divorce, this is a worrisome, difficult time. The future is uncertain, and you likely aren’t sure what to expect from the process. Below, I outline some of the basics of divorce in South Carolina.

What do I have to do to start my divorce?

For many, the simple act of filing for divorce can seem daunting. There are several things that must be taken into consideration, including:

  • Where/when you file
  • What you use as the grounds for your divorce
  • Whether your spouse or you are seeking alimony
  • Are there children from the marriage and can the parties agree on child custody
  • Will this be a high asset divorce where the parties cannot agree on an equitable division of the marital property [Note that South Carolina is not a “community property” state]
  • Who will pay for the attorney’s fees and costs of the divorce

The answers to these questions are seldom as simple or obvious as you might think. Before you take any action, you should consult with a knowledgeable Mount Pleasant family law attorney.

In what county can you file for divorce?

When you start a South Carolina divorce, you must file in the correct county. If your spouse and you are residents of South Carolina, you can file in one of two counties: (a) the county where you last resided together; or (b) the county where your spouse lives. If you are not a resident of South Carolina, you must file in the county where your spouse lives. If your spouse is not a resident of South Carolina (or cannot be found), you are allowed to file in the county where you reside.

Before you file for divorce, you must live in the county for a certain period of time: (a) three months, if your spouse and you are residents of South Carolina; or (b) one year, if your spouse is a non-resident.

To begin your divorce, you must file a complaint with the appropriate family law court.  In this complaint, you should state whether you want alimony. You should also indicate whether there are any children from the marriage, a prenuptial agreement, or significant marital assets.