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Do you need grounds for an at-fault divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2021 | Divorce

To file for divorce in South Carolina, you’ll need to include the grounds on which the request is based. You could opt for a no-fault divorce or choose a specific reason if you blame your spouse for the split. If you go with a no-fault divorce, you might have to meet certain requirements beforehand.

What are the grounds for divorce?

South Carolina has five grounds for divorce. You could file for divorce on account of adultery, abandonment, alcoholism and physical abuse. If you and your estranged spouse are on civil terms, you could petition for a no-fault divorce. However, you’ll need to live separately for at least a year before you can file for a no-fault divorce.

Once you’ve settled on grounds for a divorce, you’ll have to file your paperwork at the local Family Court. Unlike regular courts that handle a number of cases, Family Courts are specifically designed to handle divorce cases. If you and your estranged spouse can’t come to an agreement out of court, a judge will make the final decision on child custody, child support, property division and other issues.

What if none of these grounds apply?

If you don’t have the grounds for an at-fault divorce, you could file for a no-fault for divorce after a year has passed. Otherwise, you’ll have to settle on grounds for divorce as defined by South Carolina law. An attorney could help you choose the option that’s best for your situation.

Since South Carolina is an equitable distribution state, you won’t have to evenly divide up your assets 50/50. In fact, if you hold your estranged spouse accountable for the divorce, you might be entitled to a larger share of assets. Conversely, if your estranged spouse holds you responsible, you might not be eligible for spousal support.