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Published: 2008-03-26

Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce in South Carolina

What are the grounds for divorce in South Carolina?

There are five grounds for divorce in South Carolina: 1) adultery, 2) desertion for a period of at least one year, 3) physical cruelty, 4) habitual drunkardness or drug abuse, and 5) living separate and apart without cohabitation for a period of one year.

Does South Carolina have "no fault divorce"?

Couples who have lived separate and apart for more than one year without intervening cohabitation can obtain what is generally regarded as a "no fault" divorce.

Can we be "legally separated" in South Carolina?

South Carolina law does not provide for legal separation as such. However Husband and Wife can enter into agreements to divide their property, and have these agreements approved by the Family Court. Under some circumstances, South Carolina law also allows a spouse to obtain support payments during a period of separation.

Who can get a divorce in South Carolina?

If both parties live in South Carolina, the one suing for divorce must have lived in South Carolina for at least three months. When one of the parties lives out of state, the other must have resided in South Carolina for at least one year before the action is filed.

How long does it take to get a divorce?

That depends on the complexity of your case, the number of cases on the family court docket, the attitude of your spouse. Generally speaking, an uncontested divorce can be obtained in less than a year.

What do we do while we are waiting for a final divorce hearing?

You can arrange all or some of your finances by mutual agreement. If you cannot agree on these things, the Court can hold a hearing and issue temporary orders for spousal support, child custody, child support, preservation of property, and other matters incident to the divorce.

We agree on everything, so can we both use the same lawyer?

No. A lawyer may only represent one of you. An attorney would have a conflict of interest in representing both parties to a divorce or separation.

How much child support can I obtain?

Child support is calculated according to uniform guidelines in most cases. A copy of these guidelines can be found at If there are special circumstances, the Court may deviate from the guidelines.

Can we have joint custody of our children?

The South Carolina General Assembly recently changed South Carolina law to make joint custody arrangements permissible. However, you can expect the Family Court to pay careful attention to the effects that any proposed custody arrangement will have on the child.