Divorce can include many considerations, including religious, moral, financial, and legal concerns. Before you file for a divorce, think through your options carefully. Divorce represents a solution to an irretrievably broken marriage, but it is not the only remedy.
Here are some factors to consider as you decide whether divorce is right for you.
What is a Divorce?
A divorce dissolves a marriage. It also allows the spouses to unwind the legal relationship created by their marriage.
A divorce resolves four main issues:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Property division
- Spousal support or alimony
Every couple experiences some moments of unhappiness with their marriage. Before committing to a divorce, you should consider how a judge might resolve each of those four issues.
Divorce will return you to the single life. This could be important if you want the option to remarry. But if you do not want to be single, you can consider a legal separation instead of divorce.
Legal separation allows you and your spouse to live separately while remaining legally married. During this time, you can try out various options for custody of and visitation with your children. You can also get a feel for the ways that your finances will work without your spouse’s contributions.
South Carolina does not have a procedure for separating from your spouse. You just move out of the home or ask your spouse to move out. After you have been separated for at least one year, South Carolina allows you to file for a no-fault divorce.
If you and your spouse do not separate amicably, you might need to petition the court for an order of separate maintenance and support. This court order creates a structure for handling your finances and child support during the separation. This will give you a preview of your finances after a divorce.
Impact on Your Children
When you divorce, you should have a plan for your children. Absent an allegation of abuse or neglect, judges usually want both parents involved in their children’s upbringing. This means you need to think about how your children will divide their time between parents.
You will also need to consider the resources you and your spouse have to raise the children. A judge could require you to pay child support if you have greater resources than your ex-spouse. You could also pay child support if your ex-spouse has the children more than half of the time.
Your Living Arrangements
After your divorce, you will need a place to live and resources to meet your needs. This means you need to have a realistic plan for the property you might receive or lose in the divorce and whether you can receive alimony or not.
South Carolina awards an equitable distribution of property. A judge does not necessarily need to split your marital property equally. Instead, the judge can consider the economic inequality of the spouses and their relative earning power in distributing property. The judge then awards a fair share of property, rather than an equal share.
Courts in South Carolina also have great power when it comes to awarding alimony. Alimony can equalize economic inequality between spouses, provide a spouse the chance to get job training or an education or reward a spouse for years of uncompensated household work.
Role of Legal Counsel
To accurately assess these four factors in your specific circumstances, consider speaking to a family law attorney. Even though this may be your first divorce, an experienced lawyer often has experience with hundreds of divorce cases. This experience gives the lawyer insight into the ways that a judge could view your circumstances in a divorce.
To learn more about how divorce could change your life, contact Bleecker Family Law to schedule a no-obligation consultation.