How Do I Get a Divorce?

The divorce process can often seem daunting—even impossibly complex. If you and your spouse are ready to move onto the next chapter of your lives, we want you to know that you do not have to face this process alone. At the Shaw Law Firm, LLC, we are committed to helping our clients walk through every step of a divorce with legal guidance that is both compassionate and effective. We know how the law works, and we are prepared to help you protect your best interests and seek a resolution to your divorce that is fair and agreeable to you.

Grounds for Divorce

In the state of South Carolina, there are five grounds to file for a divorce. Of these, four of them are fault based:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion for One Year
  • Physical Cruelty
  • Habitual Drunkenness

The fifth ground allows for individuals to file a “no-fault” divorce (also referred to as an uncontested divorce). To file for a no-fault divorce in South Carolina, you do not need to prove that any form of marital misconduct occurred; you simply need to prove that you and your ex-spouse have been separated for one year. Should you choose to file for this type of divorce, you may be able to file for a “simple divorce,” if you meet the following:

  • For at least one year prior to filing, you or your spouse have lived in South Carolina—or you both live in South Carolina and have for three months prior to filing.
  • You and your spouse are filing a divorce based on a one year separation.
  • You and your spouse do not have any marital property and/or any marital debt—or, if you have marital property and/or marital debt, the two of you have come to an agreement on how to divide it.
  • You have not had any children together and no children born during the marriage, or if you have children together you have both reached an agreement on custody, visitation rights, and child support (that meets state guidelines).

Overview of the Divorce Process

While the “simple divorce” process may seem straightforward, there are few divorces that fall neatly into that bucket. Often, divorces involve disagreements and uncertainty—and it is in your best interest to work with a divorce attorney who can look out for your rights. Below, our firm explains the general process for filing for divorce in the state of South Carolina. If you have further questions, we encourage you to contact us today.

  • First, the service of a summons and complaint begins the divorce.
  • Upon receiving, the defendant has 30 days to file a formal written response and request other relief.
  • Mediation may be ordered by the court
  • A guardian ad litem may be appointed to represent the interests of the children born of the marriage
  • If parties can settle, an abbreviated hearing will be held by the court.
  • If parties cannot settle, a trial will be held for each party to present their evidence.
  • After the trial, the judge will determine what relief should be granted.
  • If there are any urgent issues, a temporary hearing may be held before the final hearing.

Except in one year separation divorces, a two month waiting period is required before a trial can be held for the divorce and a three month waiting period is required before the decree can be completely issued.

If you are ready to get started with your divorce, we encourage you to contact our Charleston firm today!

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