Separation and Separation Agreements South Carolina
Unless you have grounds for a fault-based divorce in South Carolina, spouses are required to live “separate and apart” for one (1) year prior to the entry of a final divorce judgment. In South Carolina, unless you have grounds for a fault-based divorce, it is generally beneficial to most separated married couples to have a contract governing the important things arising from the separation drafted in advance of a final divorce. Sodoma Law has extensive experience helping clients in negotiating and drafting these contracts, commonly known as Separation Agreements or Marital Settlement Agreements. Given the 365-day separation period, most couples work with their respective attorneys soon after separation to create an Agreement that address any important issues and marital claims instead of waiting for the separation period prior to divorce to be met.
Separation Agreements act as the “private law” of your separation, offering both spouses clarity about what expectations are during the time they are living apart. In South Carolina, separation agreements may encompass areas such as:
- Property division, including debts and assets
- Possession of the marital residence
- Allocation of expenses
- Maintenance Support (alimony)
- Child Custody, including a parenting schedule
- Child Support
An executed separation agreement in South Carolina must be approved by the Court to be considered legally binding and enforceable under most circumstances . Once the Agreement is approved and made a court order, it is then enforceable by contempt. If one party is found to have violated the Agreement or Order then the violating party can be sentenced to jail, ordered to do community service, ordered to pay a fine, or a combination of any of the three sanctions for failing to abide by the terms.
The separation process impacts an individual’s legal rights and can play a key role in shaping the course of the separation and divorce process that lies ahead. As with any contract, it is important not to sign or agree to the terms of a Separation Agreement until you have an attorney review it and are sure that you understand and agree with the terms set forth. Likewise, if you are the party planning to leave the marriage and marital home, it is imperative that you seek legal advice prior to doing so.
The attorneys at Sodoma Law York have experience assisting clients with every facet of the separation process. Whether you are an individual who has been asked by their spouse’s attorney to sign an agreement, or you are the one initiating the separation, we can help. Our attorneys can work with you to draft an Agreement or Order tailored to your family’s needs, offer a thorough review of all documents and contracts, suggest amendments and revisions as needed during the process, and more.