South Carolina Divorce Procedures

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"Pro Se" is a Latin phrase. When translated it means "for oneself." When an individual represents self in a court procedure without the assistance of a lawyer, it is called as Pro Se legal representation. The individual may be a Plaintiff or a Defendant.

Steps in Pro Se South Carolina Divorce Procedure

  • The Petitioner should approach the clerk of court, Family Court division with the filled packet of forms
  • If the Petitioner is filing the pauper form, then the Petitioner has to wait till the affidavit is accepted or declined
  • In case the affidavit of the pauper form is rejected, the filing fee has to be disbursed to the clerk of the court
  • The court clerk allocates a docket number to the divorce case
  • The court clerk returns stamped copies of the following documents to the Petitioner
    • Complaint for Divorce
    • Summons
    • Certificate of Exemption
    • Family Court Cover Sheet
  • One copy of the above documents must be retained by the Petitioner for self and the other copy must be served to the Respondent by Certified Mail, Restricted Delivery, Return Receipt requested. The Petitioner may visit the local post to understand how to send these documents
  • In case, the Petitioner sends the documents to the Respondent through the U.S. Post Office, then after getting the green return receipt card back from the Post Office, the Petitioner must ensure that the Respondent has signed the card
  • On the top of the green return receipt card, the Petitioner must record the docket number as well as the words "Summons and Complaint." Further, a copy of this card must be made and saved in the personal file
  • When the Petitioner does not get the green return receipt, then in order to serve the divorce papers to the Respondent, the Petitioner must approach the local Sheriff's office
  • Now, it is time to complete the Affidavit of Service. On this form, the docket number must be printed on the upper right hand corner
  • If the service is done by mail, then the year, day and month on the green card must be printed on the top portion of the affidavit
  • In the presence of a Notary Public, the Petitioner must sign in the space where it is written "Plaintiff, filing pro se". It is very important that the Notary Public sees the Petitioner signing the Affidavit of Service
  • If the service is done by the Sheriff, then, the Petitioner must request the Sheriff to fill in the bottom half of the affidavit, to notarize the form and then return it to the Petitioner
  • 35 days must be counted from the date the Sheriff served the papers to the Respondent or 35 days must be counted from the date on which the Respondent received the divorce papers by mail, excluding the date on the green return receipt card. This date must be marked
  • On this calculated date, if the Petitioner does not receive an Answer from the Respondent, then the Petitioner is supposed to fill and file an Application and Affidavit for Default and a Request for Hearing
  • Further, the clerk of court will mail a Notice of Hearing in which the schedule of the hearing would be mentioned
  • The Petitioner must forward a copy of the Notice of Hearing to the Respondent
  • Fill in 2 copies of the DHEC Form 0692 (Department of Environmental Control). Also, make 2 copies of the Final Decree of Divorce but the details on the Decree must be filled by the Judge
  • The Petitioner must prepared 2 legal sized envelopes. On one of these, the present address of the Petitioner must be written while on the other the present address of the Respondent must be written. Both the envelopes should be stamped
  • While attending the hearing, the following objects must be taken to court
    • The 2 envelopes
    • DHEC Form 0692 and its 2 copies
    • The Original Decree and its 2 copies

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