A Greenville, South Carolina, divorce is a legally complex and emotionally challenging experience. However, there is an easier approach to divorce that could simplify the process and relieve a lot of your stress. This approach to divorce is known as a simple or uncontested divorce.
What is an Uncontested Divorce in Greenville, South Carolina?
In Greenville, South Carolina, there are five possible grounds of divorce. Four of these grounds are fault- based grounds (adultery, alcohol or drug abuse, physical violence, desertion), and the fifth ground is a no fault ground. In a no fault divorce, you do not have to prove any fault or marital misconduct by your spouse. The only condition for a no fault divorce or uncontested divorce is that you and your spouse must have been living separately for a year or more. In most cases of uncontested divorces, the couple can file for and get a divorce without making any court appearances.
How Is Alimony and Custody Decided in an Uncontested Divorce in Greenville, South Carolina?
In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse must reach an agreement on all of the issues of your divorce, including alimony, child custody, division of property, and so on. You make all of the decisions together, and this is how the divorce becomes uncontested. In some cases of a no fault divorce, if both parties are unable to come to a common decision in some matters, then the judge might consider fault grounds when making decisions on alimony and child custody.
Eligibility for an Uncontested Divorce in Greenville, South Carolina
You and your spouse are eligible to file for an uncontested divorce in Greenville, South Carolina, if:
- If you or your spouse has lived in Greenville, South Carolina, for at least one year, or if both of you have lived in Greenville, South Carolina, for at least three months before filing.
- If you have been separated for at least one year, without living together at any point during that year.
- If you have no marital property or debt or you have reached an agreement on how to divide the marital property and/or debt.
- If you have no children or if you do have minor children and have reached an agreement on custody, visitation rights, and child support.
Should You Try to Get an Uncontested Divorce in Greenville, South Carolina?
Whether or not you should try to get an uncontested divorce in Greenville, South Carolina, depends on the specific facts of your case and various factors, including your and your spouse’s personalities and emotional stability. It also depends on the reasons for your divorce, the conflicts in your case, and your ability to be cordial, cooperative, and civil with each other. You and your spouse know much more of your case and your relationship than a judge will learn in a few hours, and you may be able to come to an agreement that suits both of you. However, to achieve this, it is important for you to trust each other and not let any prior conflicts get in the way of negotiating the terms of your divorce. Not all uncontested divorces are the same, and it is possible for conflicts to arise which may lead to a messy divorce. Couples with major disagreements and complex issues are unlikely to succeed with an uncontested divorce in Greenville, South Carolina.
How Is an Uncontested Divorce Better Than a Contested Divorce?
One of the main advantages of an uncontested divorce over a contested one is the cost. Uncontested divorces usually cost much less than contested divorces. Taking a divorce to trial can delay the process, leading to a higher attorney fee. Staying out of court is another advantage of an uncontested divorce. A lengthy trial can only add to your emotional and financial stress. Moreover, in an uncontested divorce, the conflict is kept to a minimum, since both you and your spouse must reach an agreement together. Finally, a contested divorce can lead to things getting ugly between you and your spouse. If you have any children, it is important that they see you as a cooperative pair that will be capable of co-parenting in the future. Messy divorces can also cause grave emotional distress to children.
What If Your Spouse Is Not Willing To Sign The Divorce Papers?
If your spouse will not sign the divorce papers, then an uncontested divorce is not possible. This is what is known as a contested divorce. Often, a contested divorce goes to trial to resolve the issues of the divorce. However, it is possible to avoid this by reaching a negotiated settlement with your spouse. The goal of a negotiated settlement is to resolve all of the issues of the divorce and reach an agreement without taking the divorce to court. A negotiation can also be reached by mediation with your spouse or his/her attorney. It is not always necessary for your spouse to sign the papers to receive a divorce.
What If You Cannot Contact Your Spouse?
It is possible that you are unable to contact your spouse but you wish to file for divorce. It is not absolutely necessary for you to be able to contact your spouse in order to get a divorce in Greenville, South Carolina. However, the court will require you to make reasonable effort to contact or track down your spouse. Sometimes, this can also mean that you may have to hire a private investigator and run an ad in a local newspaper. The investigator will have to certify in court that your spouse cannot be found in order for your divorce to be finalized without them.
Contact the Elliott Frazier Law Firm for More Information About Greenville, South Carolina, Divorce
A divorce, uncontested or contested, is a complex process. Reaching an agreement on matters of custody and alimony definitely requires legal expertise. The attorneys at the Elliott Frazier Law Firm can be helpful in several ways, including negotiating with your spouse or his/her attorney, coming up with a reasonable parenting plan, and assisting you with alimony matters. Moreover, an attorney can ensure that no conflicts arise while negotiating, in order to keep your case out of court. Call us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about divorce in Greenville, South Carolina.
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.