Man signing divorce papers with ring on the table

The Law

South Carolina has five grounds for divorce. The four “fault grounds” are adultery, habitual drunkenness or drug abuse, physical cruelty, and desertion.
One may obtain a “no fault” divorce by living separate and apart from your spouse for more than one year. The one-year clock starts to run for a no fault divorce on the day that the parties separate.
Adultery means having sex with someone other than your spouse. In the Family Court one proves adultery by showing your spouse’s romantic inclination towards a third party and then the opportunity for them to have committed adultery. Evidence must be given by a third-party (e.g., private investigator, friend, or colleague) who has personal knowledge of the inclination and opportunity.
Physical cruelty is proven by showing that your spouse’s conduct created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury. Again, you will need a witness to corroborate the grounds.
A divorce on the grounds of habitual drunkenness or drug abuse is proven by showing that your spouse’s consumption is habitual and has caused the breakdown of your marriage. Evidence to support this cause of action may be medical records, criminal records, third party observation, driving records, etc.
Desertion is rarely ever used as a grounds for divorce because the length of time for absence in a desertion claim is the same as the no fault ground of one year.

If it is time to end your marriage, you need the right Charleston divorce attorney to represent you. The Charleston attorneys of Bleecker Family Law understand the legal challenges that arise from intricate family problems.  Each case is unique and we treat each client with respect and understanding.  You will have the personal attention your case deserves, and our divorce law firm will advise you in a timely and cost-effective manner. It is always best to negotiate a settlement of your case, but if that is not possible we are experienced Charleston divorce trial lawyers and we will take your case to court.


To file for divorce in South Carolina, one spouse must have lived in South Carolina for more than one (1) year, if the other lives outside the state. If you both have lived in South Carolina for more than three (3) months, then either of you may file for a divorce in South Carolina.

Every county in South Carolina has a Family Court. If you meet the residency requirements to file in South Carolina, your case should be filed in the county in which you last lived with your spouse or in the county in which your spouse now resides.

In South Carolina there are four fault grounds for divorce and the no-fault ground of living separate and apart for more than one (1) year. The fault grounds are adultery, habitual drunkenness or drug abuse, physical cruelty, and desertion.

If an aggrieved party is able prove that they meet the elements for a fault-based divorce, the Family Court may grant the divorce ninety (90) days from the date that you filed your Complaint for a divorce. A party seeking a “no fault” divorce may be granted a divorce after proving that they have lived separate and apart (under different roofs) for more than one (1) year.

For a fault-based divorce the ninety (90) day clock begins to run on the date that you file your Complaint. For a no-fault divorce, the clock begins to run as soon as you separate, even if you have not yet filed an action in the Family Court. For example, if you separate from your spouse on March 1, 2015, you will be eligible to ask for a no fault divorce on March 2, 1016.

Your spouse cannot stop you from obtaining a divorce if you are able to prove your claim.

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