SOUTH CAROLINA DIVORCE
South Carolina law requires that one of the parties to the divorce action must have lived in South Carolina for at least one year [three (3) months if both parties are residents of South Carolina] before filing the divorce.
If you have minor children living with your spouse in another state for over six months then you should consider filing in that state as that court has jurisdiction over the children. You spouse can waive that jurisdiction in writing.
County of Filing:
You should file the divorce in the county your spouse lives in, or in the county that you both lived in when you separated, or in your county if your spouse lives out of state. You or your spouse must have a South Carolina address in the county of filing. South Carolina civilian residents living overseas may file in South Carolina if they have maintained their residency in South Carolina.
Active duty members of the military (or their spouses) may file in South Carolina if they have been stationed in South Carolina for one year or were residents of South Carolina when they entered active duty. Smart Divorce.com staff includes former active duty officers and enlisted personnel and are completely knowledgeable on the special military requirements and the “Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act”. Our staff prides themselves on the service they provide our military members.
GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE: NO-FAULT or FAULT ?
No divorce from the bonds of matrimony shall be granted except upon one or more of the following grounds, to wit:
(2) Desertion for a period of one year;
(3) Physical cruelty;
(4) Habitual drunkenness; provided that this ground shall be construed to include habitual drunkenness caused by the use of any narcotic drug; or
(5) 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.
South Carolina law requires that thirty (30) days elapse from the filing of the Complaint and summons or Answer and Waiver before a final judgment of divorce be entered. If your spouse signs the South Carolina “Answer and Waiver...” immediately after you file the complaint then you can divorced in as little as 30 days.
The law further requires that neither party to the divorce may remarry, except to each other, until sixty (60) days after the judgment of divorce is entered
PROPERTY OF THE MARRIAGE:
In a divorce, the property (land, house, buildings, and items of personal property) owned (and debts owed) by the couple is divided between the parties. In an uncontested divorce, this division is accomplished by means of a Marital Separation Agreement (MSA). You and your spouse must agree to the property and debt division and memorialize your agreement in the Marital Separation Agreement, which will be incorporated by reference into the Decree of Divorce that ultimately ends your marriage. You may agree to divide the property any way you like, as long as a basic fairness is maintained. You do not need to list items already divided or not an important issue in the divorce. You may revise the MSA after receipt of the documents from us by sending an email with your changes. There is never a charge for revisions at any time up to one year.
If you cannot agree on any item of this division, the dissolution of marriage transforms into a contested divorce. If at the final hearing the divorce is still contested we do not provide advice for that hearing. You may need to consult an attorney or be prepared to tell the judge why you feel your requested division of property is fair.
Spousal Support is either agreed upon by the parties or determined by the judge in a contested hearing. We cannot give legal advice regarding spousal support but will include your request in the documents.
The questionnaire you fill out will outline the custody, visitation and support for the children. We will prepare the documents accordingly, and we will also prepare a Marital Separation Agreement (at no additional cost) which outlines in specific detail all the provisions regarding the children. Both parties must attend the parenting class or get a waiver. A list of the places in South Carolina to attend may be obtained from the court.
The child support will either be an amount you and your spouse agree upon, or it will be determined for you by the court, according to the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines. If you wish the court to calculate the amount then you will need to file the standardized Child Support Guidelines form and Child Support Income Statement/Affidavit which we provide. See “South Carolina Child Support Calculator” on any search engine such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc.
You may have Joint Legal Custody or Sole Legal Custody. This determines how the decisions are made regarding the raising of the child(ren).
Physical custody may be with one residential parent or “SPLIT CUSTODY” where the child(ren) live a substantial time with each parent.
This can be any program agreed upon by the parties and may change from time to time. If the parties cannot agree then the state guidelines are in effect. State guidelines are outlined in the MSA provided with your documents. You do not need to list your present visitation agreement as it will change from time to time but you may if you wish. “No Visitation” or “Restricted Visitation” may be requested by supplying the reason on the questionnaire.
ou must file the divorce documents in the Circuit Court in the county that you are filing in. Some court addresses for larger counties are as follows:
Richland County Family Court: PO Box 2766, 1701 Main Street, Rm 205, Columbia, SC 29202 Phone: (803) 576-1999 Fax: (803) 748-5039
Lexington County Family Court: 205 East Main Street, Suite 146, Lexington, SC 29072-3599 Phone: (803) 785-8212 Fax: (803) 785-8314
Charleston County Family Court: 100 Broad Street Suite 106, Charleston, SC 29401-2258 Phone: (843) 958-4400 Fax: (843) 958-4434
Beaufort County Family Court: PO Box 1128, 102 Ribaut Road, Rm. 208, Beaufort, SC 29901-1128 Phone: (843) 470-5218 Fax: (843) 470-5248
Dorchester County Family Court: 101 Ridge Street, St. George, SC 29477 Phone: (843) 563-0121 Fax: (843) 563-0178
York County Family Court: PO Box 649, 1675 -1G York Highway, York, SC 29745 Phone: (803) 628-3036 Fax: (803) 628-3133
Greenville County Family Court: 305 E. North Street, Greenville, SC 29601-2120 Phone: (864) 467-8551 Fax: (864) 467-8540 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Florence County Family Court:180 N. Irby St., Florence, SC 29501-3456 Phone: (843) 665-3031 Fax: (843) 665-3097
Horry County Family Court: PO Box 677, 1301 2nd Avenue, Conway, SC 29528 Phone: (843) 915-5080 Fax: (843) 915-6081
Georgetown County Family Court: 129 Screven Street, Suite 221, Georgetown, SC 29442 Phone: (843) 545-3046 Fax: (843) 545-3294
The court filing fees for a divorce in South Carolina is approximately $150.
If your spouse won't sign and must be served, then the sheriff may charge a fee of around $25 to serve your spouse.
If you don't know the whereabouts of your spouse, then your spouse will need to be served by publication. The average publication fee is approximately $75.
You may call the Clerk of the Court in your county to determine the exact fees in your county.
METHODS OF SERVICE:
1. The most common way is to have your spouse sign the documents AFTER you have filed the complaint with the court. You can hand deliver the documents , mail them or have a third party deliver them to your spouse. This method is available even though your spouse is incarcerated.
2. If your spouse will not sign or you not not sure if your spouse will sign then you can get service by having the sheriff in spouse’s county serve a copy of the filed documents along with other documents requiring spouse’s signature. You can contact the sheriff in any state to serve your spouse. You can also get service by Certified Mail, (Return Receipt Requested) if your spouse lives out of state. If your spouse is incarcerated then you can get service by having the prison/jail officials serve your spouse.
3. Service by publication. If you cannot find your spouse after a diligent search then you can publish. The publication fee for the newspaper is approximately $65 but varies for different counties. Upon the filing of the Affidavit the clerk shall direct that service of notice be made by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the complaint is filed. We provide all the required documents for service by publication.
Go to our questionnaire and get started today.