Greenville Family Law Attorney
Divorce is a painful process that has emotional, physical, and financial consequences.
You and your ex-spouse face difficult decisions and sacrifices, creating a sense of loss, injustice and grief.
Hiring a Family Law Lawyer Greenville SC can take some of the pain away because:
- They can remove the need to interact with your ex-spouse
- They intervene on matters related to child support, child custody, and visitation
- They are professionally trained tough negotiators
- Won’t allow you to be overpowered or bullied
- Will stand up for you and help to protect your assets
Feelings and emotions are high in matters related to divorce and the family. When you hire a lawyer, you need someone with a sympathetic and compassionate demeanor. It helps if they’re also a good listener.
If you’re not already aware of the legal framework around divorce proceedings in South Carolina, here we outline the basic legislation that you need to be aware of. A family law lawyer in Greenville SC can assist you with any of the following.
Divorce Grounds in South Carolina
There are five grounds for divorce in South Carolina.
- Continuous separation for at least one year
- Physical abuse
- Desertion for more than a year
- Habitual drunkenness or drug use
How Do You Start The Process of Divorce?
A divorce begins when a spouse files a Summons and Complaint. This claim is filed in the family court. The action is then tried in court.
There are some legal requirements to filing for divorce in South Carolina.
To file a Summons and Complaint, a family law lawyer will prepare the documents you file. To be able to file for a divorce in South Carolina you must:
- Have resided in South Carolina for at least one year
- If you’re not a resident in South Carolina then the defendant must have lived in South Carolina for a minimum of one year
- If both of you live in South Carolina when the divorce is filed, then the plaintiff (person filing for divorce) needs to have lived in-state for at least 3 months
- Whether the divorce or summons is held depends on where the defendant is living when the action commences
- The actions will commence in South Carolina if the plaintiff lives there if the defendant is not a resident, or there is insufficient due diligence
- In both parties lived together as man and wife in South Carolina, the actions commence in South Carolina. If the plaintiff doesn’t live in South Carolina, the case will be brought wherever the defendant lives
How Is Property Divided After Divorce in South Carolina?
One of the most difficult aspects of divorce is the division of property. In South Carolina, any debts or assets you acquire as a couple during the marriage is considered marital property. Non-marital property includes things such as gifts, inheritance and any gain in value of non-marital property.
Anything you owned before you were married is classed as non-marital property. But, what will happen with everything else? A family lawyer can help you to protect what is rightfully yours and ensure the property is divided fairly.
The family court takes various factors into consideration such as:
- The length of time you were married
- Your ages, both at the time of marriage and divorce
- Any marital misconduct such as adultery or alcoholism that caused economic loss or the breakup
- The property’s value, who acquired it, cared for it, or damaged it
- Income and earning potential
- Level of training required to attain a certain earning capacity
- The emotional and physical health of each spouse
- Extra-marital property
- Retirement benefits
- Tax obligations
- Who has custody of the children
- Who owns the deeds or liens to marital property
Who Gets Child Custody?
In South Carolina, the law does not favour gender where child custody is concerned. Both parents have equal rights to custody of the child.
If the child is born out of wedlock, then custody naturally leans towards the mother unless she relinquishes duty of the child.
Ultimately, determining who gets child custody involves ensuring that the child’s interests come first. This is a complex matter. A family law lawyer can help you to represent your fitness as a parent in your best light.
The factors a family law judge consider include:
- The child’s needs
- The ability of the parents to understand the child’s needs
- The child’s wishes
- The parent’s wishes
- The willingness of each parent to encourage the child’s relationship with the other parent
- Previous and current interactions and relationships between the child, their parents, siblings, and other significant family members
- Whether each parent disparages the other parent in front of the child
- Using a child as a pawn to hurt the other parent such as denying access
- How actively involved the parents are with the child
- How stable the proposed home will be
- Mental and physical health
- Any abuse or neglect
- Any domestic violence
If you are getting divorced due to adultery, this is known as marital indiscretion. The grounds of marital indiscretion does not necessarily go against the adulterous parent. Ultimately, the family judge will assess the bigger picture in terms of the child’s best interest.
Arranging Child Visitation
Ideally, you and your ex-spouse will agree amicably on a visitation schedule for the sake of your child. Sadly, it is common for disagreements to arise. If there is animosity between two spouses the chances are a parent will violate the visitation order terms. A parent that willfully violates the visitation order will be held in contempt by the family court.
The amount of child support is calculated according to a formula in South Carolina. This formula takes various factors into account such as parent’s income, cost of daycare, health insurance, and the number of children. You can check how much you may receive right here.
Alimony is determined in the family court. Once the amount is agreed, either spouse may be paid either as a lump sum or in instalments.
Factors considered to determine alimony include:
- How long you were married
- The age of each spouse
- The emotional and physical health of each spouse
- Educational background of each spouse and the amount of education for a spouse to attain the same level of income
- Employment histories
- Tax obligations after alimony
- Any financial responsibilities from a previous marriage
- Marital misconduct
A temporary alimony payment can be ordered while the divorce is pending. The amount may be modified if there is a change in either spouse’s circumstances.
In South Carolina, there are several types of alimony such as:
- Lump sum alimony: This route involves paying the supported spouse a finite lump sum. The amount may be paid in separate instalments. This type of alimony is fixed and not possible to alter
- Rehabilitative alimony: The family court may order to stop alimony payments if the supported spouse dies, remarries, or cohabits with another spouse
- Permanent, period alimony: Alimony payments cease when either spouse dies, remarries, or cohabits. This type of alimony can be modified by a family court judge
Hiring a Lawyer
You need a trained professional to settle matters such as alimony, child custody, and child support. You also need a professional with a caring demeanor who can get tough when necessary.
Angela Frazier is a skilled and experienced family lawyer who has helped many family law cases in Greenville, SC. She is knowledgeable, hardworking, and genuinely interested in what is best for the child. To set up a consultation to discuss your family law matters, please call (864) 256-3553.