Think you know everything there is to know about divorce in South Carolina? Even if you think you might know it all, the facts below can either serve as a refresher or perhaps even teach you a thing or two you didn’t know about divorce in the Palmetto State.

How long does it take to get a divorce in South Carolina?

It depends.

For a no-fault divorce, a married couple must live separate and apart continuously for one year before an action for divorce can be filed. Living separate and apart means that you and your spouse must live in separate domiciles (not just in separate bedrooms). The separation must be intentional and the period of one entire year must be reached before filing the action.

On the other hand, for fault-based divorces, you are not required to wait a year before filing for divorce. Fault-based grounds include adultery, physical cruelty, habitual drunkenness, and desertion for a period of one year. Regardless of whether you file a no-fault or fault-based divorce, you have to wait two months after the filing of the divorce before there is a hearing and the divorce is granted.

Does “legal separation” exist in South Carolina?

Legal Separation does not exist in South Carolina.

A couple is considered separated when they live in separate places. Although the separation is not considered a “legal separation,” it does give rise to legal claims, allowing you to move forward on certain issues at any time following the separation. These issues can include a request of the Court to determine temporary child custody, child support, spousal support, and even the division of assets (also known as equitable apportionment). This can be done before the parties are eligible to proceed with the action for divorce.

Does Common Law Marriage exist in South Carolina?

Yes, South Carolina is one of the few remaining states that recognize common law marriage.

While there is not an exact amount of time that a couple must live together to have a common law marriage, the state of South Carolina dictates that a couple must share an intent to be married to one another, cohabitate, and present themselves to the public as a married couple. If a court determines a common law marriage exists, all the same rights and duties as a formal legal marriage exist and the marriage must be dissolved in the same manner as a formal legal marriage. That means the same rules and guidelines set out above regarding formal divorce also apply.

Do I have to live in South Carolina to file for divorce there?

Residency matters when it comes to divorce in South Carolina.

To file for a divorce in South Carolina, both parties must have resided in the state for at least 3 months, or if only one party currently resides in South Carolina, then that party must be a resident for a year prior to filing for divorce.

Have more questions about divorce in South Carolina? The experienced Family Law attorneys at Sodoma Law York can help you navigate the divorce process from beginning to end. Please give us a call today at 803-366-0001 or e-mail info@sodomalaw.com to schedule a consultation. We are here to help.