Important Facts You Should Know Before Filing for Divorce in South Carolina — Family Law

Divorce Lawyer Spartanburg SC

What are the grounds for divorce in South Carolina, according to Family Law?

South Carolina recognizes both no-fault and fault grounds for divorce (SC Code 20-3-10). If you have been living separately for a year, without cohabitation, a couple can file for a no-fault divorce. Otherwise you will need to provide a fault-based reason for divorce, including adultery, desertion by one spouse for a year or more, physical cruelty, or habitual drunkenness or narcotics abuse.

What are the residency requirements and waiting period for a divorce?

The spouse filing for a divorce must live in South Carolina for at least three months if both spouses are currently residing there. Otherwise, if only one spouse is a resident of South Carolina, they must live there for a year before filing for a divorce.

Per SC family law, there is a mandatory three month waiting period between the date the divorce is filed and the date the court can issue a divorce decree.

How does the court decide the division of marital property?

South Carolina is an “equitable distribution” state in the division of property and debts between the divorcing parties. The judge will make a determination about what is fair and equitable and will consider the following issues:

  • The length of the marriage.
  • The value of the property being divided.
  • Each spouse’s income and earning capabilities.
  • The contribution of each spouse to the marital property.
  • The amount of alimony awarded to a spouse, among other factors.

The division of property does not have to be equal. The judge will determine if it meets a definition of fairness. Only marital property will be considered for division during the divorce proceedings. Property acquired by either spouse prior to their marriage or received as a special gift or inheritance may not be subject to division between the divorcing parties. This may include any property subject to a written agreement between the spouses defining it as a non-marital property.

Who can request alimony (or spousal support)?

Either spouse can request alimony from the other. Support may be granted on a temporary basis until the divorce is final, for a defined period of time after the divorce, or indefinitely depending on the circumstances. South Carolina allows for several different kinds of support.

How is child support and visitation determined?

Parents may make their own agreement about child support and submit it to the court for review. Otherwise the court will look at each parent’s resources and needs, and follow the state guidelines when making determinations. South Carolina provides an online calculator to determine child support at the Child Support Enforcement website (

South Carolina makes child custody decisions based on the best interest of the child. The court allows the child to voice a preference for the primary parent if the child is mature enough.

If you need a legal expert in SC family law, please call the law offices of Anderson, Bailey, Moore, and Nowell for a free consultation today.

This blog is intended for general informational purposes only, and is not intended to serve as a substitute for talking to one of our lawyers here at Anderson, Moore Bailey and Nowell. In fact, the first step you can take towards resolving your problem is to have a face to face conversation with one of our lawyers. Our consultations are free, they are confidential, and we can almost always schedule you an appointment the same day we receive a call.