Are you considering starting a divorce proceeding or have you received legal documents for divorce? Contact our skilled Rock Hill divorce lawyers from Minor Law Divorce Lawyers at (803) 504-0971 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.
The divorce process in Rock Hill, SC, can be incredibly stressful. On top of ending your marriage and wondering what the future holds, you must navigate complicated court procedures. Additionally, you and your spouse likely have various issues to work out, including property division, child custody and support, and alimony.
Minor Law Divorce Lawyers can help you understand your options and navigate your case. We have years of experience handling family law matters in South Carolina. We can help you obtain a favorable resolution to your case.
How Can Minor Law Divorce Lawyers Help You Navigate Your Divorce in Rock Hill, SC?
With so much at stake during such an emotionally-charged time, it’s best to have an advocate in your corner to guide you and give sound advice. That’s where Minor Law Divorce Lawyers comes in.
Our divorce attorneys are passionate about helping people understand their rights and options so that they can make informed decisions. Attorney Donae A. Minor will always maintain open communication and ensure that you know where your case stands.
If you hire our family law firm for help with your divorce in Rock Hill, SC, you can expect us to:
- Listen to your expectations and explain your legal rights
- Assist you in making decisions regarding all aspects of your case
- Communicate and negotiate with your spouse or their divorce attorney to work towards an agreeable outcome for all parties
- Draft, file, and respond to all pleadings on your behalf and monitor any deadlines
- Advocate for you in all court hearings and at trial if your case reaches that phase
To learn more about our legal services, contact our compassionate divorce lawyer in Rock Hill, South Carolina for a confidential consultation.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce in the State of South Carolina?
There is a three-month waiting period before a court will issue a final divorce decree for a fault-based divorce. In other words, once the divorce complaint is filed, you must wait at least three months for a judge to sign off on it. Note that this isn’t automatic – your divorce won’t automatically be finalized three months from filing.
Additionally, there is an exception to this waiting period if your divorce is based on one year of separation or desertion. In those cases, the court can issue a final order once the defendant files a response to the petition (or 30 days after the defendant is served if they never respond).
Aside from the applicable waiting period, the time it takes to finalize a divorce in South Carolina depends on numerous factors, including:
- The complexity of the case
- The issues that are contested
- The parties’ willingness to negotiate and reach an agreement without court intervention
- The court’s schedule, if hearings are required to resolve issues
- Whether the divorce is fault-based or not
Contested divorces can take over a year to resolve, especially when numerous hearings, mediation, and trial are involved. On the other hand, if the divorce is uncontested and the parties reach a favorable agreement, their marriage may be dissolved within several months.
How Can I Get Divorced in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, there are some requirements you must meet before you’re eligible to file for divorce and dissolve your marriage.
For one, there is a residency requirement. To initiate a divorce proceeding, either party must have resided in SC for at least one year. If both parties are South Carolina residents, the filing party must have lived in the state for at least three months.
You must also decide whether you’re filing for a fault-based or no-fault divorce.
Under South Carolina law, the following are fault grounds for divorce:
- Desertion (abandonment) for at least one year
- Habitual drunkenness, including the use of drugs
- Physical cruelty
The no-fault ground for divorce requires that the parties live separate and apart for at least one year before filing.
To initiate the divorce process, a party must file a summons and complaint with the family court and have it served on their spouse. Ideally, the parties will be able to reach an agreement regarding the various issues, such as property division and child custody – especially with the help of a knowledgeable family law attorney in Rock Hill, SC.
Even so, the parties must submit any written agreements to the court for approval. If approved, the agreement will become part of a final decree or consent order.
If the parties cannot agree on any issue, mediation or a hearing will likely be required to resolve the matter.
How Is Property Divided After a Divorce in South Carolina?
South Carolina is an “equitable distribution” state. In a divorce action, marital property is divided and distributed equitably between the parties – which doesn’t necessarily mean an even 50/50 split. Marital property is anything acquired during the marriage, including bank accounts, real property, jewelry, artwork, and retirement accounts.
First, the parties must share financial disclosures with each other so that marital assets and debts can be identified and valued. If the parties cannot agree on property division, a court will evaluate various factors when making a decision.
The equitable apportionment factors include:
- The duration of the marriage and each party’s age at the time of marriage and separation
- Any fault or misconduct by either party that may have affected the couple’s economic circumstances
- The marital property value and each spouse’s contributions
- Each party’s income and earning potential
- Either party’s need for additional education or training to earn income
- Each party’s physical and emotional health
- Each party’s nonmarital property
- Each party’s retirement benefits (if any)
- Whether the court has awarded either party separate maintenance or alimony
- Whether the marital home will be granted to one party
- Any tax considerations
- Whether either party has support obligations from a prior marriage or otherwise
- The marital debt
- Child custody and visitation arrangements
The court may also consider any other relevant factors that could affect property division.
What’s the Difference Between Divorce and Separation?
Technically, South Carolina doesn’t recognize “legal separation.” The parties are either married or not and living together or apart.
However, in many cases, one spouse may need alimony or child support from the other to stay afloat financially. That spouse can request separate support and maintenance, which can resolve disputes for people who either haven’t yet filed for divorce or are subject to a waiting period.
For example, a couple may decide to dissolve their marriage based on the no-fault ground of living separately for one year. During that year, one party may need support, such as if they stayed home to care for the couple’s children.
That party can request an Order of Separate Maintenance and Support from the court. This order can address any pending issues until the divorce is finalized. In other words, it is a temporary order and does not end the marriage. The parties can agree to the terms, or a judge can decide on any contested issues.
How Can I Get Custody of My Children After a Rock Hill Divorce?
The paramount factor in any South Carolina child custody case is the best interest of the child.
It’s typically best for parents to agree to a parenting plan and custody agreement since they know their child and family better than anyone else. However, child custody is often a hotly contested issue in a divorce proceeding.
- The child’s needs
- Each parent’s capacity to meet the child’s needs
- The child’s preferences
- Each parent’s relationship with the child
- The likelihood that each parent will encourage a continuing relationship between the child and the other parent
- Any behaviors exhibited by either party to involve the child in their divorce dispute
- Each parent’s ability to be involved in the child’s life and the stability of each household
- Any past instances of neglect, abuse, or domestic violence
The best arrangement is generally joint custody, where each parent has equal rights to make decisions regarding the child. However, courts will evaluate the relevant evidence to decide whether joint or sole custody applies.
It’s best to have an experienced divorce attorney in Rock Hill to help you navigate this complicated and emotional process.
Am I Entitled to Alimony After a Rock Hill Divorce?
Alimony is granted in several circumstances, such as if there is a large disparity in earning capacity between the parties.
Whether you’re entitled to spousal support will depend on numerous factors that a family court judge must consider, including:
- The length of the marriage and the standard of living established
- Each party’s physical and emotional health
- Each party’s education and the need for additional education or training to earn a living
- Each party’s earning potential and employment history
- Each party’s expenses and financial needs
- The marital and nonmarital property
- Child custody considerations, such as if one parent stays home with the children
- Either party’s fault or misconduct during the marriage
- Tax consequences
The court may award different types of alimony, including:
- Periodic alimony: Alimony payments terminate if the receiving party remarries or cohabitates with another person or upon the death of either party. This type of alimony can be modified if there’s a change in circumstances in the future.
- Lump-sum alimony: Payment may be one installment of a finite sum or periodically over time and only terminates upon the death of the supported party (or by agreement between the parties).
- Rehabilitative alimony: This type of alimony is typically awarded after short-term marriages. The court may set an end date, which may be when the supported party completes college or job training to become self-supporting.
- Reimbursement alimony: This support is typically granted to compensate the receiving party for certain things, such as if they helped their spouse obtain a degree.
Alimony payments may be temporary or permanent, depending on the circumstances. A Rock Hill family lawyer can help you work out an equitable alimony agreement, whether you’re the paying or receiving spouse.
Schedule a Consultation With a Divorce Lawyer in Rock Hill, SC
If you’ve made the difficult decision to get divorced in Rock Hill, SC, you don’t have to figure out the process alone. Contact Minor Law Divorce Lawyers to discuss your case with a compassionate legal advocate.
Attorney Donae A. Minor is here to help you understand your rights and options. Call our law firm today to speak with an experienced Rock Hill family law attorney.
Visit our Rock Hill, SC Divorce & Family Law Office
Monday – Friday: 9:00AM – 5:00PM
Additional Divorce Resources
- SC Judicial Branch – Visit the official website of SC Judicial Branch
- South Carolina Superior Court Clerk’s Office – Court record storage and retrieval, information, and financial management for the judicial system and county government.
- South Carolina Family and Social Services – Read more about family and social services in South Carolina
Rock Hill, SC Therapists
- Beacon of Hope Counseling, LLC – 1035 Oakland Ave, Rock Hill, SC 29732
- Dr. Lois Veronen, Ph.D. – 229 Johnston St, Rock Hill, SC 29730
- Kennington Counseling – 1420 Ebenezer Rd Suite 101, Rock Hill, SC 29732
- LifeStance Therapists & Psychiatrists Rock Hill – 502 Cherry Rd Suites 201 and 202, Rock Hill, SC 29732
- Thriveworks Counseling & Psychiatry Rock Hill – 1030 Riverwalk Parkway Suite 203, Rock Hill, SC 29730
*Disclaimer – we do not endorse these companies or profit from having them listed on our website.
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