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Legal Separation Lawyers in Charleston

File for Separation in South Carolina

A separation period is when you and your spouse make the conscious decision to live apart from one another. In South Carolina, the only way for couples to get a no-fault divorce is to live separately for one year. Living separately occurs when spouses live in two different locations. Living in different bedrooms in the same house does not qualify as living separately.

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South Carolina Rules on Orders of Separate Maintenance & Support

In South Carolina, legal separation is not recognized by the courts. Instead, Orders of Separate Maintenance and Support are issued. These are Orders regarding arrangements for visitation, child custody, alimony, and property division, including marital debts.

  • Either husband or wife can file for an Order of Separate Maintenance and Support as long as the spouses are living apart.

Order of Separate Maintenance and Support are usually a permanent resolution to issues related to children, property, and support although your marriage is not officially ended. These orders allow for all of the issues between you to be resolved without requiring proof of grounds for divorce or a waiting period of one year.

The following issues will be addressed:

  • Closing joint accounts
  • Allocating marital debt
  • Spousal support
  • Health insurance
  • Child custody, visitation, and support
  • Which spouse will remain in the family's home
  • Who will be responsible for paying bills during the separation period
  • Transferring titles to personal property (e.g. automobiles and boats)

The issues addressing the division of retirement accounts, using life insurance as collateral for alimony, and awarding post-divorce alimony are not addressed in temporary orders; they are all considered final issues that will be dealt with at a later time.

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If the spouses are unable to reach an agreement on the relevant issues, a judge will hold a trial, take testimony, and rule on each of the issues presented.

To learn more about Orders of Separate Maintenance and Support and how they affect divorce, contact Shaw Law Firm, LLC for a consultation with our attorneys!

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