Living separate and apart in South Carolina is living under separate roofs. A couple who stays in separate bedrooms in the same house is not separated.
Separate living spaces on the same property may satisfy the Court’s requirement for separate residences. Every case is difference so you should discuss your living arrangements with a qualified Family Court attorney.
Each party’s circumstances are different. Leaving your home does not mean that you are giving up your property. There may be valid reasons for you to move out of the home or it may be important for you to remain there. We advise consulting with a qualified Family Law attorney prior to making any decisions about moving out of your home.
The South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure prohibit one lawyer from representing two opposing parties even if the separation is amicable. The parties can hire one attorney to act as mediator, but in this capacity the lawyer/mediator cannot give you legal advice. It is always best for each party to have independent counsel.
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.
Once a custody order has been issued by the Family Court, it may be changed by showing that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that warrant a modification of the order. This can be done by filing a complaint for modification.
Alternating weekend and holiday visitation with a non-custodial parent has historically been referred to as “standard visitation.” In crafting a visitation plan, it is important to reflect on what will work best for the Children and the parents considering routines, distance between the homes, school, work, and sports schedules, and cooperation. Each of our visitation plans is specifically tailored to your needs. For example, one family may find alternating weeks will be better for the children, another may like alternating weekends – but their weekend runs from Thursday to Monday, still others may want to rotate days 2-3-3-2.
Under South Carolina law, unmarried or divorced parents may be required to contribute towards their children’s college expenses. Case law sets out a four-part test in which one must show that the child will benefit from college, that the child has a demonstrated ability to make satisfactory grades, that the child cannot otherwise go to school and the parent has the financial ability to contribute. The child has an obligation to apply for any grants or scholarships which may be available to offset the expenses of college.
There is a shared-custody worksheet that can be used to calculate support if a child is with a parent more than 109 nights a year. The Family Court has discretion as to when the shared-custody guidelines are applied. It is best for you to discuss your specific needs with experienced child support lawyers at Bleecker Family Law.
If you are under a Court Order to pay child support, it may be modified by the Family Court if you can prove to the Court that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since entry of the Child Support Order.
If you are under a Court Order to pay child support you must continue to pay until you are released from the order. A standard order may require the paying-parent to continue to pay until the minor child turns 18 years old or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. However, if your order is silent on when the obligation ends, you may ask the Court to stop your child support payments because your child is emancipated (e.g., your child is 18, is married, is self-supporting, etc.). Parties may agree to extend child support beyond the age of emancipation.
Child support is typically set based on the South Carolina DSS Child Support Guidelines using the parties’ income information, health insurance information, and work-related daycare expenses. In some cases, there may be reasons to deviate from the Guidelines, so it is important to talk with our experienced lawyers at the Bleecker Family Law about your individual needs.
The question is whether or not a non-marital inherited asset has been “transmuted” into marital property. There are certain factors that may have contributed to its transmutation and an experienced attorney will want to talk with you about how long you and your husband have lived in the home, whether or not you put his name on the title, and whether or not he has he made financial contributions to paying the home’s expenses or making improvements.
The Family Court has jurisdiction to equitably divide property that was obtained by the parties during the marriage. This means property that was obtained from the date of the marriage until the date that the Complaint is filed in the Family Court. Not all property may be marital. For example, property that was given to or inherited by one spouse from a third party may be non-marital if it has not been commingled with other marital property. South Carolina’s laws on property division are complex. You should consult with the experienced Family Court attorneys at Bleecker Family Law regarding your specific needs.
There are many reasons to enter into a Prenuptial Agreement. For example, if you have assets that you would like to preserve in the event of divorce, or if you want to establish what your financial responsibilities will be if you separate, you should consider entering into a Prenuptial Agreement. The lawyers at Bleecker Family Law are here to help you craft the best Prenuptial Agreement to meet all of your needs.
Not all Prenuptial Agreements will withstand a legal challenge. If you feel that you were rushed into signing an agreement, if you did not have an attorney advising you, or you believe that you did not receive full financial disclosure, you may be able to challenge the validity of a Prenuptial Agreement. It is best to discuss these issues with an experienced family law attorney at Bleecker Family Law.