Getting a divorce in South Carolina is harder than in other states. That’s because there are conditions, which you must meet before you can file for divorce. If you’re looking to file for divorce in Greenville, South Carolina contact Greenville Family Attorneys for help.
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What Should I Do If I want to File For Divorce in South Carolina?
It’s advisable to contact your Greenville divorce lawyer first. If you don’t have an attorney, our team of experienced and dedicated divorce lawyers can help you with your case.
Title 20 of the South Carolina State laws explains the divorce process. But one crucial thing to note is that if you file for divorce and you’re under 21, the court will see you as over 21. This makes sure all parties have equal rights during property division. Your case will be heard in the court of common pleas. The county where your case is heard depends on where you live. If both parties live in different counties then the case will be heard in the county where they last lived as a married couple. If one party doesn’t live in South Carolina, then the case will be heard in the county where the plaintiff lives.
What are the Legal Grounds for Divorce in Greenville, SC?
South Carolina is an at-fault state, which means one party must be at fault to file for divorce. But there are exemptions to this law. If you’re contemplating filing for divorce, there are four “faults,” of which one has to be met to get divorced. The four at-fault are:
- Desertion for one year
- Physical cruelty, including physical abuse
- Habitual drunkenness, which includes alcohol and any other narcotic drugs.
You can only file for divorce when there’s no fault if you and your spouse have lived separate and apart without cohabitation for at least one year. After the parties have lived separated for at least one year, then the divorce proceedings can begin.
To get divorced in Greenville, you must prove that your spouse committed at least one of the four at-faults above. You must prove your claims with legally sufficient evidence. This means you must have enough evidence that’ll convince the judge that one of the fault grounds is existent. You can do this through the testimony of a third party, such as a private investigator or the testimony of a witness to verify your spouse’s infidelity or the lack of cohabitation.
What are the South Carolina Residency Requirements to Get a Divorce in the State?
If you want to get divorced in South Carolina, you must live in the state for at least one year if your spouse is a nonresident. However, if you and your spouse live in South Carolina for at least three months, then either party can file for divorce in the state. If either you or your spouse has lived in South Carolina for a year or longer, then either of you can file for divorce in the state even though the other spouse has never lived in the state.
Alimony, child custody, child support, visitation, and/or property division involve the court getting personal jurisdiction over the nonresident spouse. Jurisdiction matters are complex, so to avoid your case getting dismissed because of failure to meet jurisdiction requirements seek the help of an experienced Greenville divorce lawyer at Greenville Family Attorneys. Our team of dedicated divorce attorneys has extensive experience handling divorces and addressing such matters in South Carolina Family Court.
What Process Must I Follow to File for Divorce in Greenville, SC?
There are certain conditions that you must meet in conjunction with the faults mentioned above. It’s important also to establish first whether the divorce must be filed. If there are no children, debts, or shared property, then filing for a simple divorce is quite easy.
To start the divorce process, you must fill out various forms, including:
- The Family Court Cover Sheet
- The Certificate of Exemption
- Complaint of Divorce
- Summons of Divorce
- The Financial Declaration form.
You must sign the Financial Declaration form in the presence of the notary public, so don’t sign this form until you’re in the presence of this person.
Apart from the lawyer’s fees, there are other costs involved in filing for divorce. For example, the clerk of court will charge a fee to file your divorce papers. All the divorce papers must be three-fold, one copy for yourself, one for your spouse, and one for the court. Also, you may incur additional fees for the Sheriff to serve the divorce papers. If you can’t pay the fees, file a Motion and Affidavit to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. This motion exempts you from paying the court fees and the Sheriff’s fees. However, the motion doesn’t exempt you from paying your divorce attorney.
Keep all the copies of the divorce paperwork safe. After you serve or deliver your divorce paperwork to your spouse, you must have a signed Acceptance of Service. Also, you must file that with the clerk of court. If you serve your divorce papers through the US mail, you must file additional paperwork with the clerk of the court.
The paperwork includes proof that it’s sent as certified mail, restricted delivery, and return receipt request. Your spouse must sign the return receipt. You must also complete and file an Affidavit of Mailing, which must be signed in the presence of the notary public. If you serve your divorce papers through the Sheriff, make sure you collect an Acceptance of Service form, which you must also file with the clerk of the court.
Once you have filed all the paperwork, there’s a waiting period before you can ask for a court date. The waiting period is 35 days, which starts on the day after you have served your spouse.
During the waiting period, your spouse has time to file their response. After you get their response, then you can proceed with the divorce. At this stage, it’s important to hire a divorce attorney if you haven’t hired one already. If your spouse agrees with your divorce terms, then file a Request of Hearing and an Affidavit of Default for Divorce with the clerk of the court.
Don’t forget to file your spouse’s answer, too. Then, the court’s clerk will mail you a Notice of Hearing. During this hearing, you must appear in court. If you haven’t received a signed response from your partner, take the unsigned forms with you to court.
During divorce proceedings, you’ll need at least one witness to testify on your behalf about your separation and marriage. The witness must testify that you’ve been living apart for at least one year. Remember to fill the Final Order of Divorce and the Report of divorce before the court hearing and take them along to court.
During the court hearing, the judge may ask you some questions, which range from the inquiry on the documents to your marriage. Once the judge is satisfied that you’ve followed all the laws, they’ll sign the Final Order of Divorce, which is then filed with the clerk of the court. It’s crucial to make sure that the judge signs the Final Order of Divorce, as this is the only way to divorce someone officially.
Why Do I Need to Call A Divorce Attorney?
Filing for divorce in South Carolina may seem like a simple process, but it’s always good to seek help from an experienced attorney. Our family law attorneys offer a free case review, which can give you an idea of how difficult your divorce will be, and if you meet all the requirements and the costs involved.
To learn more about divorce laws or to start your South Carolina divorce proceeding, call Greenville Family Attorneys at (864) 475-9393, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Greenville divorce lawyers.