South Carolina Divorce Laws

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South Carolina divorce laws talk about the necessary legal provisions that need to be followed while going through a divorce process in this state. These laws explain the legalities about the matters related to divorce such as child support, child custody and property distribution. In order to file for divorce in South Carolina, it is essential to fulfill the residency requirements mentioned in the divorce laws. The residency requirement for a petitioner who was a resident of the state with the other spouse while the conflicts in the couple started, are just three months. But, if a plaintiff is not residing in the state nor the other spouse, then the residency requirement will be longer such as a period of one year.

South Carolina Divorce Laws regarding Child Support

Child support is the amount to be paid by the parents for meeting the expenses related to the educational and the developmental needs of the child. The South Carolina Child Support guidelines are observed by the Court to determine an appropriate amount of child support. Generally, the non-custodial parent is asked to pay the child support either in advance or in the form of monthly installments. But, in exceptional cases, the court may deviate from the guidelines if it is necessary to provide justice to the parents and child. However, the Court considers the below mentioned factors to conclude whether it is essential to deviate from the guidelines -

  • Compulsory subtraction of union fees and retirement pensions.
  • Unpaid remuneration for dental or medical expenditures.
  • Families that have more than six children.
  • Consumer debts.
  • Property distribution in an equitable manner.
  • Expenditure of education of the spouse or children.
  • Available amount of income that can be used for children.
  • Fixed payments per month inflicted by a Court.
  • Child support obligation due to any other relationship.
  • Support obligations for other dependents residing along with non-custodial parent.
  • Agreements between the divorcing partners
  • Spousal support.
  • Considerable difference in income – if the non-custodial parent's income is too less than the custodial parent's income, then it becomes economically impracticable for the non-custodial parent to pay as per the guidelines.

South Carolina Divorce Laws regarding Spousal Support

Spousal support, called as alimony sometimes, is an amount provided by a partner to the other. This monitory help is given to assist the partner to overcome the financial difficulties caused by a separation from the partner. Spousal support is not given to a partner if he or she is found guilty of adultery prior to the earliest of these two events -

  • The formal signing of marital settlement agreement or of a written property.
  • Entry of a permanent order approving a property of marital settlement agreement between the partners or of a permanent order of separate maintenance and support.

The Court takes into account the following factors while taking a decision regarding spousal support -

  • The present and reasonably expected requirements and expenditures of both partners.
  • The status of living enjoyed in the married life.
  • The earning capacity and previous job details of each partner.
  • The educational level of each partner along with the requirement of each partner to have additional education or training so that the other partner's income potential can be reached.
  • The emotional state and physical condition and ages of each spouse.
  • The period of marital life.
  • The presence and degree of a support obligation due to a prior marriage or any other event of either partner.
  • The effects on tax of both partners due to a particular form of support.
  • Fault or marital misconduct of both or either parties.
  • Other issues that are considered relevant by the Court.

Property Distribution

If the property division is not finalized mutually by the spouses, the court decides it on an equitable basis. That means, the distribution may not be necessarily equal between the partners. The Court contemplates over the following issues while deciding property distribution -

  • The non-marital property of each partner.
  • The requirement of the partner having less income to undergo education or training to reach the income potential of the partner having more income.
  • The emotional and physical health of each partner including the expenses for medical treatment.
  • The income and earning potential of each partner and the chance for acquisition of capital assets in the future.
  • The valuation of marital property inclusive of how the input by each partner has resulted in the appreciation, depreciation, preservation and acquisition of marital property. The input of each partner as a homemaker is also seen. The Court considers the factual existence and the quality of the contribution.
  • Fault or marital misconduct of either partners.
  • The period of marital life.
  • Other relevant issues.

Like most states, South Carolina divorce laws are not different. One should, however, be aware of these laws when filing a divorce.

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