SC Divorce and Family Law Attorney

Family Law

Divorce & Separation

South Carolina Divorce and Separation

Your novel organizes the process

When you become a client of the Law Office of Ken H. Lester, you receive a client information packet. This packet contains a short course on domestic relations law in South Carolina, the table of contents for your novel, and more. Our novel approach can help to steer you through a seemingly overwhelming array of documents, figures, and facts.  The more information you provide in your novel, the more efficient and effective the process for the dissolution of your marriage or relationship can be.

Filing for divorce

To begin the divorce process in South Carolina, one spouse must file a complaint for divorce in the county where your spouse lives or where you live if your spouse does not reside in South Carolina. If you both still live in the state, you may also file where you last lived together.

South Carolina residency requirements apply: you or your spouse must have been a resident of South Carolina for at least one year. If both of you live in South Carolina, you must both have lived here for at least three months.

In South Carolina, you can file for divorce based on five grounds.  They include either a single no-fault ground that only applies if you and your spouse have been living separate and apart for one year or four fault grounds:

  • Adultery

  • Physical cruelty

  • Desertion for more than one year

  • Habitual drunkenness or habitual use of drugs

Division of property, both real and personal

Our client information packet contains instructions for completing your property list. It requires substantial detail, so be prepared. But know that all this hard work upfront will help to streamline a process that can often be turbulent.

In South Carolina, the court divides marital property — the assets and debts you jointly acquired and owned during your marriage — equitably when you divorce. Equitable distribution means fair, not necessarily equal, distribution.

Some property, however, is considered separate and not marital property, including property acquired:

  • Prior to your marriage

  • Separately during the marriage until the point of separation

  • Through gift or inheritance

  • In exchange for non-marital property

  • Due to an increase in value of any non-marital property

Judges consider several factors in dividing marital property:

  • How long you were married, both spouses' age at the time of the marriage and at the time of divorce

  • Any marital misconduct

  • Value of marital property

  • Each spouse's income and earning potential

  • Each spouse's physical and emotional health

  • Need for additional training or education to achieve that spouse's income potential

  • Non-marital property

  • Any vested retirement benefits

  • Alimony

  • Awarding the family home to the spouse with physical custody of the children

  • Tax consequences

  • Any support obligations from a prior marriage

  • Liens or other encumbrances upon marital property

  • Child custody arrangements and obligations

Legal separation

If you and/or your spouse seek separate maintenance and support, similar rules to divorce apply; however, the grounds are not as strict and the judges do not require as much proof. Although you remain married, the following become legally defined:

  • Child support

  • Alimony

  • Child custody

  • Property—including house, car, furnishings, savings accounts, and other assets

  • Visitation

  • Restraining orders

Alternative methods to resolve marital disputes

At the Law Offices of Ken H. Lester, we offer methods other than litigation to resolving marital disputes if the circumstances warrant them. These methods include:

  • Mediation

  • Arbitration

  • Binding arbitration

  • Other Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods

Contact the Law Offices of ken h. lester, for your divorce, separation, or property division issues

Let us be your stabilizing force.  We guide you through the legal process so you can make the best decisions for you and your family. Call us at one of our offices or complete the online form to schedule your initial consultation. 

Serving South Carolina with offices in Columbia, Beaufort, and Myrtle Beach