Since almost half of all marriages end in divorce in the United States, most people have been affected by a divorce in some way, and millions of Americans know firsthand how devastating a divorce can be to all family members involved, not just the divorcing spouses. Children are certainly the youngest and most impressionable casualties of failed marriages, and divorces, even the amicable ones, are one of the most stressful experiences many of us will go through in our lifetime.
If you find yourself in a marriage that is no longer good for you, or if your spouse has asked for a divorce and you don’t know what the next step is, you’ll need a good divorce lawyer. Even if your spouse says he or she wants nothing from you, you will need a divorce lawyer. If you don’t have children, you will still need an experienced divorce lawyer because even when there is no child custody or child support issue to work out, divorces can be difficult. While the specifics of divorce law vary from state to state, general divorce law is quite similar in all 50 states.
South Carolina Divorce Lawyer
A divorce in South Carolina could happen in a year (if certain conditions are met), or it could go on for several years. How long your South Carolina divorce takes depends on several different factors that divorce attorney, Darrell Beckham, will go over with you in his Prosperity, South Carolina law office:
- The procedure for filing the divorce
- The grounds for the divorce
- Whether the divorce is contested or uncontested
- The court’s docket
- How the spouses (and their lawyers) handle the divorce
Filing for Divorce in SC
The divorce procedure in South Carolina starts with one spouse filing for divorce. When the complaint is filed in the court, the spouse receiving the summons has 30 days to answer (some spouses will assert a counterclaim). If a counterclaim is put forth on the spouse asking for the divorce, that spouse then has 30 days to respond to the counterclaim. Without even counting the time necessary to do the paperwork and draft the summons and complaint, it can take a minimum of 60 days for the original complaint and any counterclaim to be answered by both spouses.
Grounds for Divorce in SC
The grounds for divorce in South Carolina are either “fault grounds” or “no-fault grounds.” The fault grounds include: habitual drunkenness with alcohol or narcotics: adultery; physical cruelty; or desertion. A no-fault divorce requires that you be physically separated from your spouse (with different addresses) for one year before you can file for divorce. The law is very strict on how the time frame of one year is measured, and if you spend one night with your spouse, say, during the sixth month of your one-year separation, you must start over at day one of the 365 days of living separately. Even if no physical intimacy occurred the night you stayed over, in the eyes of the court system, you were together as a married couple and will have erased all previous “apart” time you had with each other.
Contested and Uncontested Divorce in SC
Uncontested divorces are settled more quickly, typically, than contested divorces. If there is no arguing over children’s issues and finances, then a divorce may be granted very soon after you spend one year living apart from your spouse in a no-fault divorce. If there are child custody and support issues to settle, and if there are assets to split, then the divorce process takes longer. The more you and your spouse can agree to, the less time will be necessary to make the divorce official.
Court Docket in SC
Some counties in South Carolina have court dockets that are backed up for months, and even years. Some counties, however, are able to get you scheduled rather quickly. Darrell Beckham understands how the family court system works in South Carolina counties, so he will be able to give you a good idea of what you can expect in the county in which you live. An uncontested divorce may only take 30 minutes once it reaches the final stage of going to court and being decided by a judge, but a contested divorce will take much longer once it reaches the court.
Handling a Divorce in South Carolina
If you’re in a contentious divorce, the process to split will take much longer. If your spouse is going to fight you over every piece of property you acquired during your marriage, and if he or she is going to challenge every decision you’ve made regarding your children, then you can expect your divorce to take a very long time. Some couples in South Carolina have been arguing over child custody and child support issues for years. When one spouse is trying to punish the other during the divorce process, it can be a nightmare for one or both spouses.
An experienced South Carolina divorce lawyer like Darrell Beckham knows how to handle divorces every step of the way. He will listen to you, discuss your case with you, and make himself available to you 24/7 throughout your divorce process. Mr. Beckham offers no-cost consultations in person or over the phone, so if you live in Newberry County, Richland County, Lexington County, the City of Columbia, and or anywhere in South Carolina, please contact the Law Office of Darrell Beckham, LLC at his York County, South Carolina law office today.