Divorce in South Carolina: Marital Property Law

Divorce in South Carolina: Marital Property Law

During a divorce in South Carolina, the property that is in the marriage is split between the divorcing spouses. While both spouses can come to an agreement as to how the marital property is divided up, many times emotions trump reason and the spouses are unable to come to an outside agreement. Instead, they turn to the court to make the decision for them. When this happens though, some parties will seek to keep some property out of the divorce proceedings, arguing that the property was outside of the marriage or not marital property. What exactly is considered marital property under South Carolina law, and how does property become marital property?

Divorce in South Carolina: What is Marital Property

Under South Carolina Code Section 20-3-630, marital property is generally understood to be all the property acquired by the spouses during the marriage. It does not matter if the legal title to some property is only in one spouse’s name. Property used for the benefit of the marriage, shared with the other spouse or given to the other spouse is considered marital property.

Marital property consists of assets and liabilities. The most common types of property that is divided up by the court at the time of divorce are real property, valuable personal property such as collectibles, electronics and vehicles, and intangible property like stocks, annuities and benefits.

How Does Individual Property Become Marital Property?

As stated previously, all property acquired during the marriage is considered marital property. However, property that was acquired before the marriage individually may eventually become marital property if the individual property is used for the benefit of the marriage, shared with the other spouse or commingled with other marital property.

Statutory Exceptions To The Marital Property Rule

There are also a number of statutory exceptions found under the previously cited portion of South Carolina law as to what constitutes marital property. These exceptions are important because family courts do not have jurisdiction or authority to apportion or distribute non-marital property in a divorce. Some of these important exceptions include:

  • Inheritances made to one spouse
  • Gifts made to one spouse
  • Property acquired before the marriage
  • Any property that is an exception to the marital property rule that is exchanged for other property

These exceptions are important when it comes time for a divorce in South Carolina. Inheritances and gifts made out to one spouse can often be large and significant in terms of value. Keeping them outside of the divorce is generally beneficial for one spouse over the other.

Get Help From A Mt Pleasant Divorce Attorney

Keeping assets from being defined as marital property is a common strategy for one spouse to avoid having to give a fair share of the marital property to the other spouse. It takes an experienced South Carolina divorce attorney to help ensure that all the marital property is properly distributed.

Contact the Mt Pleasant divorce attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC today for a consultation on your case.