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.