What To Expect From the South Carolina Divorce Process
South Carolina has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country at 6%. Still, married couples decide all the time that getting divorced is the best thing for them.
The divorce process can take months, or years, depending on several factors, which this article will discuss.
From the mouth of a Mount Pleasant lawyer, keep reading to learn what you can expect when filing for divorce in South Carolina.
Filing Divorce Paperwork
The divorce process begins with filing a summons and complaint for divorce. You must submit the paperwork to the clerk of family court. Then the court will serve the papers to the other spouse.
The spouse has 30 days to answer the papers and make a counterclaim. If the spouse makes a counterclaim, the spouse who initiated the divorce has 30 days to respond.
Grounds for a South Carolina Divorce
In South Carolina, there are two reasons for divorce. The first is fault grounds. A fault-based divorce includes reasons such as:
- Habitual drug or alcohol use
- Physical abuse
You can request a trial 90 days after you file for divorce in this type of divorce.
The second type of divorce ground is “no-fault.” This type of divorce happens after one year of continuous separation. This means you cannot file for divorce until you and your spouse have lived separately for one year.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce
The most significant factor that determines how long your divorce will take is whether it’s contested or uncontested.
Contested divorces involve a dispute. The dispute can relate to the following:
- Child support
- Child custody or visitation
A contested divorce can easily last one year. This is because other state agencies will get involved. Additionally, parties get to participate in “discovery” during a contested divorce.
This means each side can obtain evidence through several formal procedures. As a result, discovery is often a long and drawn-out process.
Conversely, an uncontested divorce is when both parties agree to call the divorce terms. This again includes child support and custody. But, it also includes how you will split property and finances.
Uncontested divorces usually stem from “no-fault” grounds. So, the sooner your file the paperwork and get a hearing, the sooner the divorce is final.
This usually takes 2-3 months.
The Role of Your Divorce Lawyer
Aside from legal procedures, your lawyer can also influence how long the divorce process takes. Some lawyers encourage their clients to fight over as many details as possible in the divorce, which will draw out the process.
The longer your divorce takes, the more your lawyer gets paid. While your lawyer is there to help you, be aware of how contested you really are with your ex-spouse. Some things aren’t worth drawing out the process for.
At the same time, don’t rush the process to get it over with.
Hire a Mount Pleasant Lawyer To Help With the Divorce Process
The divorce process is never easy, regardless of how amicable you are with your ex-spouse. Working with a divorce lawyer will help you navigate the paperwork and stress.
To work with the best Mount Pleasant lawyer, contact us at McGrath Law Firm. We’re a small dedicated team to helping our clients get their desired outcomes.