SC: Divorce

In South Carolina, you must prove you are entitled to be granted a divorce from your spouse. Many divorces in South Carolina are now granted on the no-fault ground of the two spouses living separate and apart for a period of one year without reconciliation.

The other grounds are fault-based and can include:

  • Adultery
  • Physical abuse or cruelty
  • Habitual alcohol or drug use
  • Desertion

A party must prove very specific facts in order to be granted a divorce on any of the five grounds. Even a no-fault divorce based on living apart for one year requires what is called a “corroborating witness” who can testify that the two spouses have lived apart for an entire year prior to filing, and that there has been no collusion between the parties to obtain the divorce. An order of separate support and maintenance is an order which can define the relationship between two separated parties who do not have grounds for divorce.

Other Aspects of Filing for Divorce

When filing for a divorce or separation in South Carolina, you will need to determine if there are other legal issues that need to be brought before the judge such as child custody, child support, alimony, or property division. Certain issues cannot be addressed by the court after a divorce has been granted, so it is important to understand the process prior to filing for a divorce or separation. The court can resolve issues related to alimony, property division, and child support on a permanent basis at any time after the lawsuit has been filed and served.

Many people settle some or all their issues without requiring a judge to make the final decision. However, agreements between parties are still approved by the court, rendering a hearing necessary for approval. Contested cases with no settled issues will be decided by a family court judge after a full trial on the issues.