Divorce can be a very complicated process. For most people, it is not as cut and dry as they would like. It is in your best interest to obtain the services of a qualified divorce lawyer.
Fault Based Divorce
South Carolina has four different categories for fault-based divorces. Adultery, desertion, drug and alcohol abuse, and physical abuse are all fault-based divorces. In the past, all divorces in South Carolina needed to cite one of these reasons. These are not as common today. South Carolina now has no-fault divorce as well.
A no-fault divorce is when neither party is deemed responsible for the dissolution of the marriage. Divorcing couples need to live separately for at least a year without any cohabitation during that period.
No-fault divorces are common in Greenville because they are secure, and neither individual claims fault for the end of the marriage. The couple cites irreconcilable differences, live separately, and a divorce is granted.
At-Fault Divorce Circumstances
When it is determined that one party is at-fault, the outcome of the divorce can be changed significantly. In South Carolina fault can impact the custody, spousal and child support, and the distribution of property.
An affair can significantly impact the divorce settlement if the judge determines that the affair took needed resources from the family. A typical example is when the husband has a mistress whom he showers with gifts, trips, and other expensive items. The judge might split the marital assets in favor of the wife for the marital resources spent on the affair.
“Judge splitting” also applies to alimony. In South Carolina, adultery is grounds for alimony. If a woman has an affair and leaves her husband, she would be prohibited from applying for alimony, regardless of her financial situation after the marriage ends.
What if my spouse does not agree to the divorce?
Many couples typically agree jointly to put an end to the marriage. However, this isn’t always the case. All too often, one spouse feels blindsided by the divorce. Many clients come in questioning if their spouse can overturn the divorce by not agreeing.
The short answer here is that if one person wants the divorce, then that is grounds enough to begin the proceedings. A qualified Greenville, SC Family Law attorney understands the nuances of the law, which prevents your spouse from trying to block the divorce.
One tactic that is commonly used by the spouse who does not want the divorce is being unwilling to compromise. This can seriously delay the process. However, they can’t suspend it indefinitely. A competent attorney on your side can help speed along the process and help you work with an intransigent spouse.
How to file for divorce in Greenville
Divorce papers need to be filed in the county of residence. If the plaintiff is a resident, but the defendant is not, the papers need to be filed in the county where the plaintiff resides. The only exception to this is if the plaintiff is a nonresident, then the documents need to be filed where the defendant resides.
What is marital property?
A quality attorney will advise you that there is a difference between what is seen as marital property and what is not. Most people don’t realize that the separate property and marital property are treated differently during a divorce.
Marital property is items acquired during the marriage. These items are subject to an equitable division during the divorce proceedings. This includes houses, cars, pensions, and other big-ticket items purchased while the couple was still married.
It doesn’t matter whose name is on the property. For example, if one spouse purchases a new car before the divorce, that c
ar can be included in the assets that would need to be split during the divorce.
Separate property is not subject to equal division during the divorce proceedings. Separate property is items that were in one person’s possession before entering the marriage. An example of this is artwork or jewelry that was owned before the marriage. Those items would be considered off-limits during a divorce proceeding.
Inheritance and gifts also qualify as separate property regardless of when they were acquired. Many clients are worried that all items can be subject to equal division, and this is where having a qualified attorney can be an asset.
What is equitable division?
All property and debts acquired during a marriage must be divided during a divorce. You will need to create a list of all assets. Just because it is called equitable division doesn’t mean it is entirely equal. The goal the process is to ensure assets are divided so both parties can maintain the standard of living they were accustomed to during the marriage. Some assets and debts might include:
- Bank accounts
- Retirement accounts and pensions
- Real estate
- Personal property
- Any debts incurred during the marriage
Every attorney understands that property division is one of the most challenging aspects of a divorce settlement. Inheritance is typically off-limits, but some gifts can be added to the assets. This includes gifts between the married parties. For example, if one spouse buys the other a car as a gift, this can be included in the marital assets during the divorce.
This is also true of gifts given to one spouse. If the other party argues that it was a joint gift, your attorney will have to convince the judge that the gift was given solely to you. This is why it is so essential to get a qualified attorney on your side during divorce proceedings.
How long will it take to get divorced?
The truth is that divorces can be complicated and drag on for a long time if you’re not prepared. There are many factors that can determine how long it might take to get your divorce finalized. Some of these factors include:
- Jurisdiction of the divorce
- Finances and investments
- Custody issues
- Complexities of the terms and assets
- Your relationship with your spouse
The most challenging aspect for many people to understand is that their relationship will ultimately determine the amount of time it takes to get a divorce finalized. You and your spouse have to work together to get the issues resolved.
Call a Divorce Attorney in Greenville SC
If either party is continuously going against the other, this can cause the divorce to drag. It is not uncommon to see contested divorces stretch out for a year or more.
However, if you and your spouse can agree to the terms promptly, then your divorce might only take a matter of months to get resolved. Ultimately, it is up to both parties to work cooperatively.
If you are going through a divorce, call the Elliot Frazier Law Firm, LLC today for your consultation.