Some states do not have grounds for divorce, but there are still grounds for divorce in South Carolina. To be clear, you will need to allege a ground for filing for divorce. This can be confusing if you know someone who has gotten divorced in another state that is a no-fault state. Some states only have no-fault divorces, which means the party filing for divorce does not have to allege any grounds for filing and cannot actually allege grounds for divorce. Differently, in South Carolina, you will need to name one of the grounds for divorce in order to legally end your marriage. Our Charleston divorce lawyers can tell you more about the grounds for divorce under South Carolina law.
Five Grounds for Divorce in South Carolina
South Carolina law lists five grounds for divorce. Before it cites the specific grounds for divorce that you can allege, it clarifies that “no divorce from the bonds of matrimony shall be granted except upon one or more of the following grounds” and then lists the following:
- Desertion for a period of one year;
- Physical cruelty;
- Habitual drunkenness; or
- Living separate and apart.
There is a No-Fault Option
That last ground for divorce is actually a type of no-fault option. Here is the specific language in the statute: “On the application of either party if and when the husband and wife have lived separate and apart without cohabitation for a period of one year.” To be clear, if neither spouse has cheated and there is no evidence of desertion, physical cruelty, or habitual drunkenness, you will not need to prove that your spouse’s misconduct caused the divorce, and you can still be eligible for a divorce. You can even use this no-fault option if you and your spouse both want the divorce, and there is no obvious fault.
In order to be eligible for the no-fault option, you must live separate and apart from your spouse for at least one year, and you cannot cohabit with your spouse at any point during that continuous one-year period.
Residence Requirements Also Apply and Are Separate from Grounds for Divorce
In addition to asserting one or more of the grounds for divorce, you should know that you will also need to meet a residence requirement if you want to get divorced in South Carolina. To be eligible for a divorce in South Carolina, the law requires that either you or your spouse have resided in South Carolina for at least one year before the divorce filing. The statute clarifies that residing in South Carolina “means a continuous presence in this State for the period required regardless of intent to permanently remain in South Carolina.”
Contact a Divorce Attorney in Charleston
Whether you have specific grounds for divorce based on marital misconduct or you want to find out more about a no-fault divorce, one of our Charleston divorce attorneys can help. When there is no obvious “fault” that caused the divorce, it can be confusing to learn that you need to allege a ground for divorce in order to end your marriage. As we have discussed, there is a no-fault option, and our firm can help you through the process. Contact The Peck Law Firm online or call our firm today at 843-631-7117 to learn more about how we can assist you.