Greenville, SC Divorce Lawyer
Greenville Attorney Christine M. Howard understands that not every issue can be resolved immediately, and not every issue should be litigated. She is passionate about helping her clients resolve many of these problems through mediation.
Solving problems through mediation can actually be faster than litigating them, and waiting for multiple hearings. And you could save money, as your resources won’t be tied up in unnecessary conflict.
In South Carolina, there are two basic divorce filings a spouse can make, fault or no-fault. These types have different pros and cons and it’s important to choose the path that best serves your individual needs.
Among the benefits of filing a no-fault divorce is that fact that you will not have to prove your spouse is guilty of any marital wrongdoing. A no-fault filing requires that you declare, in writing, the marriage is “forever broken” and cannot be reconciled. To qualify, you will need to live separately and apart and reside in the state for at least one year or at least 3 months if you and your spouse both reside in the state.
In cases of fault divorce, one party claims the other violated the sanctity of the marriage. Things such as adultery or abuse are common reasons to seek this type of traditional divorce. Many times, the spouse that has been treated unfairly in the marriage will point to these issues as a reason to end the marriage sooner or ask for reimbursement of attorney’s fees.
Importance of Separation
Gaining a legally recognized separation in South Carolina is an important part of divorce. You cannot gain a final decree without living apart for one year. It’s also important to maintain clear boundaries during the separation period. If you occasionally date each other or interact in a romantic fashion, a judge may set aside the filing. He or she could consider the marriage salvageable and order couple’s counseling. Legal separations mean leading separate lives.
Separation maintenance will also need to be sought. Similar to alimony, the court may issue a tentative order that outlines financial obligations while the divorce is pending. Further, protection is needed during this time to prevent the disappearance of assets or the increasing of debt.
Before a final decree can be issued, marital assets and debts will need to be divided. South Carolina uses a system of “equity” designed to fairly distribute wealth acquired during the marriage. Couples and their attorneys can negotiate a reasonable plan and present it to the court for approval. When people cannot agree, a judge will make the decisions. Keep in mind that equity is not the same thing as equal and a judge will weigh many factors before awarding assets, alimony and child support.
When people think about alimony, the general understanding is the monthly payments that help maintain a lifestyle. This type can be somewhat formulaic and determined based on income vs bills. But alimony can also be punitive when a spouse was treated improperly in a way that had an economic impact. There are also less common types of support that include:
- Periodic Payments: These are ongoing but stop when a spouse remarries or engages in another romantic relationship.
- Lump Sum Payments: This one-time payment gives a spouse the total amount in a brief period of time.
- Reimbursement or Rehabilitation: These types are a set amounts and the alimony ends when payment is complete.
Divorce can be a stressful and uncertain time in anyone’s life. It’s important to have an experienced divorce attorney to help protect your interests during the legal process.
Christine M. Howard Family Law Attorney
202 W Stone Ave
Greenville, SC 29609