If you are considering divorce in South Carolina, do you know what property you get to keep and what is divided with your spouse? Additionally, who is responsible for any debts that have been incurred during the marriage? Here are the basic rules regarding property and debt division in South Carolina divorces.
South Carolina Property Division
South Carolina is considered an “equitable division” or “equitable apportionment” state for divorce. This means that the court tries to divide the marital property equitably, and that does not always mean an equal 50/50 split. The court decides what is equitable and fair based on the financial position of each spouse, in addition to what they will need to move forward after the divorce.
When dividing property, only the marital property is considered. Property is split into two categories: marital and nonmarital. Marital property is acquired or bought during the course of the marriage, regardless of which spouse’s name is on the title. Property used to benefit the marriage or shared with the other spouse even if it began as nonmarital property may be considered marital property in a divorce. Nonmarital property consists of all property belonging to one spouse prior to the marriage, gifts to one spouse during the marriage, and inheritances.
Property Division Considerations
Under South Carolina law, the court looks at a set of factors to determine what is equitable in property division. It is important to note that alimony is a separate action, and is not considered in property division issues. The list of factors can be found in sections 20-7-472 and 20-7-473, and it includes:
- Length of marriage;
- Age of the spouses;
- Marital fault or misconduct;
- Current value of marital property;
- Contribution of each spouse to acquiring marital property;
- Income of each spouse;
- Earning potential of each spouse;
- Health of each spouse;
- Needs of each spouse;
- Nonmarital property of each spouse;
- Retirement benefits of each spouse;
- Tax consequences;
- Child custody arrangements;
…and any other factor that the court deems relevant for determining the equitable distribution of marital property.
South Carolina Debt Division
Credit card debt or poor investments made with marital funds during the marriage are considered marital debts. Like marital property, these debts are the responsibility of both spouses, regardless of who made the purchases or investment choices. However, financial misbehavior such as excessive gambling or purposefully causing massive credit card debt in order to hurt the other spouse after divorce proceedings have begun can be considered in the equitable division of debt and apportioned accordingly.
Contact a Mount Pleasant Divorce Attorney Today
Going through a divorce is always painful, and determining who gets what can become a very messy process. If you or someone that you know is going through a divorce in the Mount Pleasant, Charleston, or greater South Carolina area, let an experienced divorce attorney at Klok Law Firm LLC help guide you through the process. Call or contact the office today for a confidential consultation of your case.