Going through a divorce is one of the most stressful situations you can face in your life. Once you have made the difficult decision to end your marriage, you may wonder how to go about getting a divorce and what to expect throughout the divorce process. When you get a divorce in Greenville, South Carolina, there are various considerations including child custody and support, a division of property and determination of alimony.
Grounds for Divorce in South Carolina
To be able to file for divorce you must establish that there are grounds to dissolve your marriage. In Greenville, South Carolina, one of the following grounds for divorce needs to be met.
- Desertion (for one year or longer)
- Physical cruelty
- Habitual alcohol use or drug abuse
- Separation for a period of one year
The most common reason for divorce is that the spouses are incompatible. However, incompatibility itself is not one of the grounds for divorce. A couple may agree to divorce and then separate for the required period of one year. This allows you to use separation as the grounds for your divorce. This is also called a “no-fault” divorce.
Filing a Complaint
Either you or your spouse must file a complaint with the court to start the divorce process in Greenville, S.C. The person who initiates the divorce is known as the plaintiff spouse while the other spouse is called the defendant spouse. Divorce papers are served to the defendant spouse to inform him or her of the divorce proceedings. The defendant spouse is allowed to file a written response. The documents indicate the reason for divorce.
When you wish to obtain a no-fault divorce, you must wait for a period of one year, during which time you and your spouse no longer live together. If you are utilizing other grounds for divorce, you are not required to wait for a year before filing. Proving grounds for divorce can be more difficult and complex and therefore it is easier to obtain a divorce through no-fault. When one spouse is found to be responsible for the end of the marriage, he or she could face some financial or other penalties as a result.
Default Divorce in Greenville, South Carolina
A default divorce happens when a spouse who has been served with divorce papers fails to respond. If you have started the divorce process and your spouse refuses to respond or cannot be located, you may be able to obtain a default divorce. It is important to realize that your failure to respond to divorce papers does not keep the process from happening. Instead, it could have the opposite effect. The spouse who doesn’t respond could find that he has lost his right to ensure an equitable settlement. The spouse who gets a default divorce in Greenville, South Carolina could end up receiving everything that he or she asks for in court.
If your spouse cannot be located, you are still able to obtain a divorce as long as you go through the proper procedures. You need to take appropriate steps to locate your spouse, which must be done properly for your divorce to be granted. You have to prove that you tried to locate your spouse or that you tried to serve papers to the last known address. Additionally, you must publish a public notice in a newspaper according to guidelines and show proof that the notice was published. Once you meet the requirements, your divorce will be granted by default.
Uncontested and Contested Divorce Process in South Carolina
When both you and your spouse agree to the divorce and to the settlement terms, the divorce is uncontested. This is the easiest and least stressful option for ending a marriage. Sometimes, however, you and your spouse disagree as to the terms of the settlement. If this happens, you will need to work together to try to resolve your areas of dispute. You can accomplish this more easily with help from a divorce attorney in Greenville, South Carolina.
Some of the most important settlement terms that need to be ironed out include child custody and support, alimony, visitation, and distribution of assets and debts. Any of these areas can cause your divorce to stall if you cannot come to an agreement. In South Carolina, marital property is to be divided equitably between both spouses. In some instances, other factors might come into play as well. For example, one of many factors that are considered is whether there was marital misconduct by one party. If so, it could impact the distribution of assets in the divorce.
Resolving Difficult Divorce Issues
Many times, couples can agree to the terms of their divorce. If so, they can settle the divorce by agreement, and the court will generally approve it and dissolve the marriage. If, however, you and your spouse have a dispute regarding one or more aspects of the settlement it requires additional time and work. The courts prefer that couples work to resolve disputes so they may order mediation. Mediation is a method that allows a professional third party to oversee the resolution process in dealing with specific issues that are in contention. In some cases, you may be able to resolve issues with the help of your divorce attorney in Greenville, S.C. Your lawyer knows how to handle even the most difficult of disputes and may be able to assist in achieving a reasonable result without having to drag the matter out for too long.
In cases where couples are unable to agree to settlement terms, even after considerable effort, the court will review the matter and make a determination. The court will issue a divorce along with any orders that are necessary such as child support, custody, and alimony.
Schedule a Consultation with a Greenville Divorce Lawyer
Divorce can be an arduous process, especially if you and your spouse have been married a long time or have a large number of assets. When you are ready to end your marriage a divorce lawyer in Greenville, S.C., will answer any questions and assist you in the next steps. Contact the experienced divorce lawyers at Elliot Frazier Law Firm to learn more about the divorce process today.
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.