Deciding to divorce is never easy, and no one enters it lightly. For some, it is the last resort after months or even years of trying to make things work. For others, it is a decision made after careful consideration and contemplation. No matter how you come to the decision, it is certain to be a difficult one.
If you live in Greenville, South Carolina, and are considering divorce, there are some important things you should know about how it works in this state.
Grounds for divorce
In Greenville, as in the rest of South Carolina, you must have grounds for divorce. According to a Greenville Divorce Lawyer, these can include adultery, habitual drunkenness, physical cruelty, and abandonment. Of course, not all divorces are based on these grounds. Many are no-fault, which means that the couple simply disagrees irreconcilably and wants to end the marriage, which would stand as growing apart over time.
If you do not have grounds for divorce, you may still be able to get a divorce if your spouse agrees to it. This is called a mutual consent divorce and, to get one, both you and your spouse must sign and file an affidavit saying that you both agree to the divorce.
If you plan to divorce in Greenville, you must be separated from your spouse for at least a year before you can file. This separation period starts on the date when you and your spouse stop living together in the same house to be apart permanently. It is important to note that even if you live in different houses, you may not be considered separated if you are still sharing finances, running joint businesses, or doing other things together as a couple.
Additionally, you must be a resident of South Carolina for at least three months before you can file for divorce in the state.
Filing for divorce
Once you have been separated for at least a year, and wish to start the divorce process in Greenville, one spouse must file for divorce in Greenville by going to the county courthouse and filling out the necessary paperwork (this is typically the county where the couple was married). You will need to pay a filing fee, which is currently $150. Once you have filed, your spouse will be served with divorce papers and will have 30 days to respond.
On the other hand, if you and your spouse have already agreed on the terms of the divorce, you can file for what is known as an uncontested divorce. In this case, you will both sign and file a marital settlement agreement with the court and attend a hearing. If the judge approves, your divorce will be final.
If your spouse does not respond
If your spouse does not respond to the divorce papers within 30 days, you can file a motion for a default judgment, meaning that the court will grant you the divorce without your spouse having to participate in the process any further. However, even if you get a default judgment, your spouse can still contest the divorce within 30 days of being served with the papers. In this case, you will have to start the process over again.
Of course, it is always best if you can come to an agreement with your spouse about the terms of the divorce, as this will make the process much easier and less stressful. However, if this is not possible, you should still be aware of how the process works in Greenville.
Child custody and support
If you have children, one of the most important things to consider in your divorce is child custody. In South Carolina, there are two types of custody: legal and physical. Legal custody refers to the right to make decisions about the child’s education, health care, and religious upbringing, while physical custody refers to which parent the child will live with.
In Greenville, as in the rest of South Carolina, custody will be awarded based on what is in the best interests of the child and depending on the child’s age, the child’s relationship with each parent, each parent’s ability to provide for the child, and any history of domestic violence.
If you and your spouse cannot agree on custody, the court will decide for you. However, it is always best if you can agree, as this will be less stressful for both you and your child.
If you have children, the court will also order one parent to pay child support to the other. Child support is intended to help cover the costs of raising a child, including food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and educational expenses.
In Greenville, child support is typically calculated using a formula that takes into account the income of both parents, the number of children, and the amount of time each parent spends with the child. However, the court does have the discretion to deviate from this formula if it believes it is in the best interests of the child.
Division of property
Another important issue to consider in a divorce is the division of property, including both assets (such as a house or a car) and debts (such as credit card debt or a mortgage).
In Greenville, the property will typically be divided equally between the two spouses, however, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if one spouse has earned significantly more money than the other during the marriage, the court may award a greater share of the property to the less well-off spouse.
On the other hand, if one spouse has been found to have committed adultery or to have abused the other spouse, the court may award a greater share of the property to the innocent spouse.
If you are considering a divorce in Greenville, it is important to be aware of the process and what to expect. In most cases, divorces will be granted as long as both spouses agree to the terms.
If you have children, custody and support will be determined by what is in the best interests of the child. Child support will also be ordered. The division of property will typically be split evenly between the two spouses, but there are some exceptions.
However, it is always best to come to an agreement with your spouse about these issues rather than leave it up to the court.