In a divorce, money is often a contentious issue. Romance aside, common sense says both spouses should think ahead about how to protect each one’s assets in case of a future divorce. In South Carolina, a prenuptial agreement will simplify the divorce process, in the way of an “insurance policy” for divorce. In some cases, a prenup can even prevent a couple from divorcing. But many people put off a prenuptial agreement because they’re too busy, or for other reasons, such as a shortsighted reluctance to break the starry-eyed mood.
In the absence of a prenup, when you do decide to divorce, your first and most important step will be to hire an experienced divorce attorney. In most cases, your lawyer can help you avoid litigation by negotiating, mediation, or a collaborative approach that includes protecting each spouse’s own assets.
South Carolina, like most of the states east of the Mississippi, is an “equitable distribution” state (equitable meaning fair and impartial), (The western states favor “community property,” where all property is divided 50-50.) Under South Carolina law, the court regards everything you own as “marital property” that will be divided 50-50. This means that the division of property and debts between the divorcing parties should be fair and equitable, but not necessarily equal. That 50-50 division is the assumed starting point for equitable distribution. A 50-50 split, however, is not always fair. Do you really want to divide the heirloom family portraits that you brought into the marriage?
In South Carolina, property will be divided between divorcing spouses in a way that is equitable. You will have an opportunity to divide your own property during the divorce if you can work with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse and your spouse’s attorney. If that isn’t an option, you and your attorney will be able to explain to the court why an unequal distribution is more equitable.
The court considers a multitude of factors in determining the equitable distribution of your marital property, including the length of the marriage, the value of your joint property, the
financial contributions and conditions of each spouse, and whether one party is at fault for the divorce. Your personal situation will not necessarily count for much. “Remember that the facts that seem so shocking to you may not be shocking at all to the judge, because he or she has already heard about this sort of thing several times this week,” advises south-carolina-divorce.com.
South Carolina recognizes that in a short-term marriage, often few assets are accumulated during the marriage. Most property can be viewed as separate, returning both spouses, as nearly as possible, to the same financial position they were in prior to the marriage.
The seasoned family law and divorce lawyers at the McGrath Law Firm, founded by attorney Peter McGrath, will walk you through every step of the challenging divorce process to address your concerns and achieve your goals as efficiently as possible. From spousal support, child support, fault, and equitable division of property and debt to valuations, pre-nuptial agreements, and restraining orders, the experienced attorneys at McGrath Law Firm have a successful track record in all aspects of divorce law. Call us to schedule your consultation at (800) 283-1380.