SEPARATION FOR ONE YEAR: THE ONLY NO FAULT GROUND FOR SC DIVORCE

ONE LEGAL GROUND FOR SEPARATION IN FORT MILL DIVORCE

LIVING SEPARATE AND APART FOR ONE YEAR

Under South Carolina law, you must establish one of five grounds to obtain a divorce from your spouse. The most common and easiest way to divorce is on the basis that the two spouses have been living separate and apart for a period of one year. The Family Court will require a “corroborating witness” that the parties have, in fact, lived separately for the required time period prior to filing for divorce. This is the so-called “no fault” ground and allows both parties to end the marriage relatively peaceably. No one has been accused or shown to be “at fault.” And, there are no ugly permanent findings of adultery or abuse. This path is preferable and is usually the least expensive in terms of legal fees. If possible, this is the goal when couples reach the decision that their marital relationship is over and cannot be reconciled.

FAULT GROUNDS

The other and more difficult grounds for separation and divorce include Adultery, Physical Abuse or Physical Cruelty, Habitual Drunkenness or Habitual Drug Use, and/or Desertion. As reflected in the various descriptions, these grounds involve proof of bad behavior, and there are very specific facts that must be shown in order to get a divorce under any or several of these scenarios. Many persons think that alleging fault may help them in an anticipated custody dispute, but this is often not the case. Family court judges are accustomed to false allegations or mere suspicions during a divorce and often require strict proof before finding fault. Your lawyer should be careful to not wrongfully allege facts or circumstances that cannot be proven. Once your credibility with the court is lost, it is lost forever. An experienced Fort Mill divorce attorney will know to thoroughly prepare their cases before filing a divorce claim based on fault grounds. Experts such as forensic accountants, private investigators, and psychological professionals may be necessary to establish the evidence required to prove your case. This process can take time and require substantial legal fees but may be necessary if your spouse chooses to “take the hard road.” We always prefer the most effective and least expensive route, but both parties have to work together. Either way, we are ready to go the distance and do what is necessary.

SEPARATE MAINTENANCE AND SUPPORT

Before seeking a divorce, a person can obtain a legal separation by asking for a Decree of Separate Maintenance and Support. In order to file for divorce or separation in South Carolina, at least one (1) of the parties must have resided in South Carolina for more than one (1) year, or show that both spouses have lived in South Carolina for a minimum of three (3) months. During this initial filing, you will also need to determine if there are other immediate legal issues that need to be brought before the court, such as child custody, support, and visitation as well as temporary alimony. In a final divorce decree, all marital issues, including property division, child matters, and any other alimony requests will be resolved

MANDATORY MEDIATION

In the old days, parties either resolved on their own or had to go to court and let a family court judge decide their case. Now, there is mandatory mediation in South Carolina divorce actions. Here in York County, there are a number of good, qualified mediators that are often effective in getting cases resolved. If needed, we can seek mediators from other parts of the State, including Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston. Mediators can be very helpful in breaking impasses and getting parties to compromise in the interests of their sanity, children, and legal costs. Both sides have to give up something for mediation to work, but the short-term sacrifice is usually worth the long-term regain of control over your life. Once a case is thoroughly researched and prepared, mediation is a great solution to the remaining issues so that you can begin the next phase of your life.

FORT MILL DIVORCE LAWYER TOM HOLLAND 

Mr. Holland is a former South Carolina prosecutor with over twenty (20) years legal experience. He has been an Assistant Solicitor with the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit (Union County), violent crime prosecutor with the Sixth Judicial Circuit, and a Lancaster City Solicitor. Mr. Holland has also served as an Special Assistant United States Attorney as well as General Counsel for the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office. From his years as a criminal prosecutor, Mr. Holland now uses that experience to aggressively represent individuals going through a divorce. After having prosecuted real criminals, Mr. Holland is not afraid to fight and stand up for his clients in family court. He will not tolerate bullying behaviors by ex-spouses or their lawyers. Having gone through a divorce himself, he understands what you are facing and can help get you through the process. The goal is always the same. If the marriage cannot be saved, let’s get it done as relatively painlessly as possible and move on with the next chapter in your life.

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