Understanding “No-Fault” in No-Fault Divorces

Understanding “No-Fault” in No-Fault Divorces

People find themselves in unfamiliar territory when it comes to obtaining a divorce, yet just under half of all married couples in America at some point stand in front of a judge in a family court seeking a divorce. When people are in this unfortunate situation, many may reflect on exactly how they ended up in court for a divorce and the grounds on which their divorce is being based. It is important for any person going through a divorce to understand what grounds a divorce can be granted on and what impact that may have on other aspects of the divorce process. In this article, we’ll help you gain a better understanding of what is meant by a “no-fault” divorce and how an experienced South Carolina divorce attorney can help you with your case.

At-Fault Divorce vs. No-Fault Divorce

South Carolina has five grounds for divorce, as listed under South Carolina Code Section 20-3-10. Four of these grounds constitute the grounds for an at-fault divorce. They are:

  • Adultery
  • Habitual drunkenness or narcotics abuse
  • Physical cruelty
  • One year’s desertion

The essential difference between an at-fault divorce and no-fault divorce is the lack of wrongdoing in the marriage required under the no-fault divorce option. In a no-fault divorce, neither is party is to blame for causing the divorce. The only requirement for filing for the no-fault divorce is that the spouses be separated for a period of a year or longer. There is no need to file at the time of the separation to mark that the separation period has begun. It should be noted that even though fault is not considered for the purposes of obtaining a no-fault divorce, fault-based factors may be used to determine issues in a divorce like alimony and child custody.

Compare the relatively simple no-fault divorce requirements to the requirements for obtaining an at-fault divorce. Allegations of misconduct leveled by one spouse at the other in order to obtain an at-fault divorce require no waiting period (except in the case of one year’s desertion). However, these allegations cannot be rumors or be unsubstantiated. A spouse seeking to obtain an at-fault divorce must be able to present evidence of misconduct in the marriage.

Get Help From a South Carolina Divorce Attorney

Divorce can be a difficult process even in the simplest of circumstances. At-fault divorces can be even harder to go through due to the strife and turmoil that may be present in the marriage. Yet on what grounds a divorce is granted and the evidence that is presented at a court hearing can have an extreme effect on matters of property distribution, alimony and child custody. Therefore is it very important to have an experienced South Carolina divorce attorney by your side to guide you and plead your case.

Contact the attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC in Mt. Pleasant, SC for your family law needs.