South Carolina Divorce Steps

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A divorce is taken to end a marital relationship formally. There are many reasons behind a decision of divorce. The basic ground is breach of commitment and lack of love in the marital union. Some grounds for divorce reflect cruel behavior or cheating of a partner while some causes are based on the irreconcilable differences between spouses. The type of divorce will vary according to the mutual understanding and relations between spouses. South Carolina divorce steps depend on the nature of divorce taken and primary requirements of divorce in this state.

The first requirement for a divorce is completion of obligatory residency period in the particular state and the county where divorce case has to be filed. For South Carolina, if a couple is a resident of the state then period of three months is sufficient to complete residency requirement. But if any of the partner is non-resident, then the other spouse has to complete minimum one year of residency in order to file for a divorce.

South Carolina Divorce Steps: Filing and Service of petition

  • The Petitioner must procure the divorce forms from the court clerk, fill them and file them with the court clerk

  • If the Petitioner has filed the Pauper's affidavit, this Petitioner must carry with him or her the proof of bills, proof of income and bank statements. The judge might demand these proofs while allowing a concession on court fees

  • The judge might schedule a hearing regarding the pauper's affidavit. During this hearing, the Petitioner must explain why he or she cannot afford to pay the filing fee

  • If the judge orders to pay the filing fee, the Petitioner must do so. The fees are to be paid in the court clerk's office

  • The court clerk allocates a docket number to the divorce case. It is also known as a case number

  • The Petitioner must record this number on the upper right corner of all pages where it is requested. Further, the Petitioner must make two copies of all these pages

  • The next divorce step is that of service. The Petitioner must serve the following documents to the Respondent:
    • Complaint for divorce
    • Summons
    • Certificate of exemption
    • Family Court Cover Sheet

  • The mode of services are such as Certified Mail, Restricted Delivery, Return Receipt Requested. If the Petitioner has a query regarding any mode, he or she may contact the local post office

  • If the post office returns the green return receipt card to the Petitioner, he or she must ascertain that the Respondent has signed the card

  • If the Petitioner does not get the green return receipt, then, such a Petitioner must contact the local Sheriff's office for service

  • The Petitioner must complete the Affidavit of Service at this stage. This document should contain the docket number in the upper right hand corner

  • If the service has been done by mail, the date on the green card must be copied on this affidavit

  • A notary public must be a witness that the Petitioner has signed this affidavit

  • If the service has been done by the Sheriff, the Petitioner must request this Sheriff to fill in the bottom half of the affidavit and then notarize it

South Carolina Divorce Steps after Service

  • Excluding the date of service, the court allocates thirty five days to the Respondent to file an answer
  • In case the Respondent fails to file an answer in the stipulated period, the Petitioner must file the "Application and Affidavit for Default" and "The Request for Hearing"
  • The court clerk schedules the hearing and mails a "Notice of Hearing" to the Petitioner
  • The Petitioner must mail a copy of this notice to the Respondent
  • The Petitioner must fill in Form 0692 (DHEC) that is Department of Environmental Control
  • Only the judge is given the right to fill out the details of the Final Decree of Divorce
  • The Petitioner must make two copies of the Form 0692 and the Final Decree of Divorce
  • The Petitioner must prepared two legal sized envelopes that have been stamped as per requirement. One must be addressed to self and other to the respondent
  • While attending the hearing, the Petitioner must carry with self these two envelopes and the following:
    • Form 0692 with two copies
    • Final Decree of Divorce with two copies

Once the divorce is finalized, the copy of final order and concerned documents should be mailed to the respondent who has failed to file an answer within stipulated period. In case of a missing respondent, the case is treated as an uncontested divorce and a petitioner obtains everything he expects from a divorce. In this way, South Carolina divorce steps operate an overall procedure for a dissolution of marriage.

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