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Divorce Laws in South Carolina

In South Carolina the court will make an attempt to reconcile the couple before granting a divorce. This may or may not include the involvement of a “special master” or referee.

South Carolina is one of the few States which place a strong emphasis on the preference of the child when determining child custody.

Residency and jurisdiction in South Carolina
In South Carolina, if one spouse lives outside of the State then the other spouse must live in the State for at least one year before filing. If both spouses live in South Carolina, then the filing spouse only has to live in the state for three months before filing.

Divorce must be filed either in the county where the couple last lived as husband and wife or in the county where the defendant lives, unless he or she lives outside of the State. If the defendant lives outside of South Carolina, the divorce must be filed in the county where the filing spouse lives.

Fault or no fault and grounds for divorce in South Carolina
South Carolina allows fault and no fault divorce. No fault divorce is granted if the couple has lived separately and without sexual relations for at least one year.

Acceptable grounds for fault are as follows:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion for at least one year
  • Physical cruelty
  • Habitual alcohol or drug abuse

Division of property in South Carolina
South Carolina is an "equitable distribution" State meaning the property is not divided 50/50, but rather in a manner that the court deems fair to both parties. When dividing property the court must consider:

  • Length of marriage
  • Age and health
  • Marital misconduct
  • Value of the property
  • Contributions made to the acquisition of the property
  • Income and Earning capacity
  • Needs and debts
  • Child custody
  • Separate property
  • Tax consequences

Spousal support in South Carolina
South Carolina grants temporary and permanent spousal support. When determining spousal support, the court must consider:

  • Length of marriage together with the ages of both spouses at the time of marriage and at the time of divorce
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Physical and emotional health
  • Educational background together with the need for further training or education to achieve true earning capacity
  • Employment history and earning capacity
  • Current and future earning capacity
  • Current and future expenses and needs
  • Property and property division
  • Child custody and its effect on employability
  • Marital misconduct
  • Support obligations from prior marriages
  • Tax consequences

Child custody and support in South Carolina
In South Carolina, the preference of the child is the first consideration when determining child custody. The amount of influence the child has on the court’s decision will depend on the child’s:

  • Age
  • Experience
  • Maturity
  • Judgment
  • Ability to express a preference

In addition to the preference of the child, the court will consider:

  • Evidence of domestic violence
  • Nature of the divorce
  • Religious faith

South Carolina uses the Income Shares Model for calculating child support.

If you are considering or facing divorce in South Carolina, contact an experienced South Carolina divorce attorney today.

Click here to select from South Carolina divorce lawyers in your area.

Click on a link to find a Divorce Lawyer in that state.
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Disclaimer: Divorce law information contained throughout this page is intended to generally inform you about divorce lawsuits in South Carolina and introduce you to divorce lawyers throughout the U.S. The information regarding divorce and divorce law is not meant to be taken as legal advice. If you like to speak with an experienced divorce attorney, click on the link to your state to find an experienced divorce lawyer in your area for an initial consultation.
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