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6 Surprising Ways South Carolina Adultery Laws Can Affect Your Divorce

Do you live in the state of South Carolina? Was your spouse unfaithful to you?

A cheating spouse is one of the most tragic and stressful things to deal with in your life. If you’re seeking a divorce, you must understand the details of your case.

Adultery, also known as cheating, is grounds for a “fault-based” divorce. Meaning one or both parties were at fault, which led to (or even caused) the divorce proceedings.

South Carolina has specific laws regarding adultery and its effect on divorce. Read this article about South Carolina adultery laws to find out more.

1. Speed Up the Divorce Process

Many people don’t know this, but married couples can’t get divorced for any reason. Not easily, at least.

The legal grounds for divorce in South Carolina are as follows:

  • One year continuous separation
  • Physical abuse
  • Habitual drunkenness or narcotic drug use
  • Adultery
  • Desertion (more than one year)

All of these besides the first are “fault-based” causes for divorce. Since adultery is a fault-based divorce in South Carolina, proving adultery can speed up your divorce process. No need to be stuck in a nightmare divorce for longer than necessary!

If you can prove that your spouse had sexual relations outside of your marriage, your divorce doesn’t have to be so drawn-out. Hopefully this can save you some time, money, and additional heartache.

2. Burden of Proof

Now you may be thinking, “How do I prove that my spouse had an affair?” Don’t worry, the burden of proof for adultery in South Carolina is surprisingly reasonable. In South Carolina, adultery can be proven with circumstantial evidence.

You can prove that your spouse committed adultery based on motive and opportunity. No DNA evidence, video evidence, or eye witness testimony is necessary.

“Motive” includes things like romantic texts, emails, and pictures. “Opportunity” means significant time spent alone with the person they cheated with. Enough time that they could engage in sexual relations.

If you can reasonably show these two things, you can most likely prove adultery.

3. Both Parties’ Attorney Fees

Some people might hesitate to divorce their unfaithful spouse because of the legal fees. You’ve probably heard all your life that “divorce is expensive!”

Well, take heart. South Carolina adultery laws are designed to protect the faithful spouse.

Because adultery is a fault-based divorce, the adulterer can end up paying both parties’ attorney fees. Theirs AND yours! This doesn’t happen 100% of the time, but it can happen.

When you’re speaking with a divorce lawyer, be sure to ask about this possibility.

Don’t understand attorney fees and all they entail? Read up on the basics to learn what you need to know.

4. Cheating During Separation

You may be physically separated and maybe even mentally over, but divorce is a legal process. Physical separation without legal divorce is still a marriage.

A South Carolina court might call an extramarital relationship “adultery” even during separation. Did your partner have a sexual relationship while you were separated but not divorced? That is something to consider.

Even after divorce proceedings are underway, your marriage isn’t over until the divorce is finalized. This also means that you need to be careful about your relationships!

Don’t participate in any romantic or seemingly harmless relationship before you’re officially divorced. Just like your spouse can be found guilty based on circumstantial evidence, you can too. That could cause trouble for you in court.

Cheating is still cheating during separation.

5. Adulterer Is Not Entitled to Alimony

Alimony is a spouse’s responsibility to financially provide for their ex-spouse and family after divorce. The amount of alimony is decided by the judge. It’s based on a few different things:

  • Both spouse’s incomes (including educational background and work experience)
  • Both spouse’s ages at marriage and divorce
  • Length of your marriage
  • Standard of living within your marriage
  • Anticipated expenses and needs (including child support, taxes, and prior obligations)
  • Marital and non-marital assets of each spouse

Imagine you married young, before you had real work experience or a useful degree. You immediately had children. You and your spouse decided together that you’d stay home full-time.

Ten years later you’re expected to fully support yourself after a divorce. That’s not fair. Alimony laws are set up to protect the disadvantaged spouse in that case.

Another thing South Carolina divorce courts consider is “marital misconduct,” which includes adultery. You could receive more alimony because of your spouse’s unfaithfulness and they could lose their rights to any alimony.

A proven adulterer is not entitled to alimony in South Carolina. This should give you confidence in your pursuit of a fault-based divorce. The laws are largely on your side.

6. Child Support & Property Division

What about payment of child support and the division of assets? Does adultery affect those? Not necessarily.

Some adultery cases can absolutely impact these things, for example, if your cheating spouse sent a considerable amount of money to their other partner. In that case, you would probably be awarded a greater portion of the assets. Or more child support money to make up for the money sent away.

If that’s NOT the case, child support and property division usually proceed as normal. In South Carolina that means an equitable division of marital property.

South Carolina Adultery Laws for You to Know

Divorce is hard. Divorce because of adultery is even harder.

You don’t want to add to the heartache you’ve already experienced. You want to get everything taken care of as painlessly as possible.

If this is the situation you’re in, you need to fully understand local laws surrounding adultery and divorce. Each state is different, so get to know South Carolina laws.

In South Carolina, these are the six main things to know and consider about adultery and divorce. As the faithful spouse, you may be surprised how strictly South Carolina laws work to favor you.

Don’t hesitate to seek guidance. Reach out for all the help available to you. Let an experienced divorce lawyer benefit you. Contact us today to see how we can help. 

Angela Elliot Frazier is a Family Law Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. She graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years now. Angela Frazier believes in helping you through one of the most stressful times of your life. Learn more about her experience by clicking here.

Your lawyer for your life.

Greenville, Spartanburg, Oconee, Anderson, Pickens, South Carolina Attorney At Law