Legal Reasons for Divorce in South Carolina

Legal Reasons for Divorce in South Carolina

If you live in South Carolina and want to get a divorce, then you’ve probably heard that you have to have grounds. In other words, you can’t just get divorced without a reason. This can be a little deceiving, though, because it makes it sound as though one spouse must have done something bad in order to justify dissolving the marriage. But this isn’t actually the case. You don’t actually need “fault” to get divorced.  You just need to meet one of the statutory or legal reasons for divorce.

Under Section 20-3-10 of the South Carolina Family Code, here is a brief explanation of the specific grounds upon which you can base your divorce:

Ground #1: Adultery

Listed first, adultery is perhaps one of the most talked-about reasons for divorce. If you can prove (or your spouse will admit) infidelity, then South Carolina says you can get divorced.

Ground #2: Desertion For At Least 1 Year

Now, desertion does not mean your spouse is away on business. It means he or she has taken off and made it clear that there are no intentions of returning. It may also be that you simply have no idea where the person went. Desertion is akin to abandonment. Of course, it has to last at least a year, so if your spouse returns periodically, this won’t likely work as a legal reason for divorce.

Ground #3: Physical Cruelty

This is meant to cover physical violence and abuse. If your spouse is physically abusive, then you are living through domestic violence. You have a host of options for getting out of an abusive marriage, and divorce is just part of it. If you are living in a violent relationship, you should immediately get yourself and your children out of the environment and contact one of the many support agencies dedicated to helping victims escape violent situations. You will also want to contact an attorney who is experienced at dealing with divorces that involve domestic violence.

Ground #4: Habitual Drunkenness

This one is frequently misunderstood. It can also include narcotics or other substance abuse problems. If you can prove that your spouse has a substance abuse or chemical dependency problem, you may be able to use this as a ground for divorce.

Ground #5: Mutual Separation

Finally, if you can’t honestly allege or agree upon any of the above, you can simply separate for a period of at least a year. Some people may call this a “waiting period” for divorce, while others may refer to it as a “no-fault” divorce. Whatever you call it, South Carolina law just says that if you can’t agree upon or prove one of the other grounds, you’ll have to live apart for a year before divorce.

Hire A Mount Pleasant, SC Divorce Lawyer

Most people are reluctant to admit wrongdoing. Likewise, courts will not grant a divorce if it is clear that the parties have “colluded” in order to end the marriage. It can be best to work with a skilled attorney who can help ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible under the circumstances. Whether your divorce is contested or fairly amicable, Klok Law Firm LLC can help you find the options that are best for you. Contact us today for help.

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