Myrtle Beach Divorce Attorneys
Going through a divorce is always a difficult experience for the parties involved. Our Myrtle Beach divorce attorneys are able to assist with the complications common with divorces. The first thing to consider is whether you are actually ready to get a divorce. A divorce is emotionally draining on the parties, family members, and most importantly, the children. It is never easy, but in the end, you may decide that a divorce is the best choice to make in order to gain stability for you and your family. If you have decided to pursue a divorce, below are a few factors that you may want to consider.
To begin the divorce process, one spouse must file a complaint for divorce in the county where your spouse lives or where you live if your spouse does not reside in South Carolina. In order to file for divorce in South Carolina, you or your spouse must have been a resident of South Carolina for at least one year. If both of you currently reside in South Carolina, then you must have resided here for at least three months. Once jurisdiction is established, there are five grounds for divorce available in South Carolina:
- habitual drunkenness;
- physical cruelty;
- desertion; and
- continuous separation for a period of more than one year.
S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-10 (1976). A divorce can be awarded to both parties on any combination of these five grounds. For each of these grounds, the court will require sufficient proof and most likely, testimony of a third party witness to verify the ground(s) have actually been satisfied. If you believe any these grounds apply in your case, it is best to contact a divorce lawyer to determine if you are able to file a divorce under one or more of these particular grounds.
If a couple decides to seek a divorce, and do not meet any of the fault-based grounds, they may still pursue a no-fault divorce by remaining continuously separated for more than one year. Once the parties separate, meaning one of the parties actually vacates the marital home into another residence, the clock begins to run. No action is required to be filed during the separation. During this year, the parties often enter into a separation agreement and/or file an action for separate support and maintenance. A separation agreement is a contract between the two parties in which they agree on a variety of issues, such as child custody, visitation, property distribution, and support arrangements. These agreements are normally filed with the family court during the final action. However, parties are not always able to enter into an agreement, and as a result, a temporary hearing may be required for the family court to settle matters in dispute.
All divorce actions are different. It is important to contact a knowledgeable divorce lawyer to determine the options you have available during this process. Our Myrtle Beach divorce attorneys at The Mace Firm have years of experience in handling divorce cases and can assist you with your case. In a situation like this, you need to have a close and personal relationship with your attorney. Our attorneys can provide you with such assistance. We give each and every one of our clients our personal attention to ensure that their case is resolved amicably and with as little inconvenience as possible. If you or someone you know is seeking a divorce lawyer in South Carolina, contact The Mace Firm for a consultation. We practice in several areas of South Carolina including Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Conway, and Charleston. We offer in-office consultations, telephone conferences, and online assistance for your convenience.
Separate Support and Maintenance
Even if you are unable to obtain a divorce because you have not satisfied any of the potential grounds for divorce, you still have other options. While South Carolina does not recognize a legal separation, there is a similar type of action known as Separate Support and Maintenance. This action is governed by the same guidelines as divorce. It allows the family court to resolve all the issues that could be resolved in a divorce action (i.e., child custody, visitation, child support, alimony, and property division). However, keep in mind that a divorce cannot be granted in a separate support and maintenance action. In order to file such an action, the parties must reside in separate residences. In other words, living in two separate bedrooms in one’s house will not meet the standard for a separation.
As previously mentioned, in South Carolina, a legal separation does not exist, and in a separate support and maintenance action, the parties are still married. As a result, separate support and maintenance can be beneficial because the parties are allowed to remain on each other’s health insurance policies and still receive many of the financial benefits of being married. If you are seeking a divorce or are considering filing a separate support and maintenance action, contact one of our South Carolina divorce lawyers for a consultation at (843) 839-2900 or contact us online.
Alimony is payments made by one former spouse to another former spouse after the divorce is finalized. There are several different types of alimony including permanent and periodic alimony, lump sum alimony, temporary alimony, and rehabilitative alimony. The type of alimony awarded will depend on the particular circumstances of your case. In deciding whether alimony should be awarded, family courts consider evidence of fault. For example, in South Carolina, adultery by a party who would otherwise be entitled to alimony is usually a complete bar to the receipt of alimony, subject to some exceptions. When addressing the issue of alimony, the court also considers the age of the parties, the duration of the marriage, the educational background of the parties, employment history, potential income, the standard of living established during the marriage, current assets and expenses, child custody and support factors, and any other factors the family court deems relevant.
To determine if you are eligible for alimony, contact The Mace Firm and speak with one of our divorce lawyers. We handle divorce cases in many areas of South Carolina, including Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Conway, and Charleston. Our lawyers have years of experience in this field, and are able to give your case the kind of personal attention you need and deserve.
Child custody is usually one of the most difficult situations in family law. It is important to keep a child in a stable environment and in a routine that will work well for them. Parents are always concerned about the welfare of their children, which is why decisions on child custody and visitation are most important. In all child custody and visitation matters, the primary concern is the best interest of the child. In determining the best interest of the child, the court will consider several factors such as:
Factors for Child Custody
|Circumstances of the spouses||Welfare of the Child|
|Nature of the case||Fitness of parents|
|Child preference depending on age||Parental resources|
|Who has been the primary caretaker||Educational opportunities|
|Existence of any domestic violence||Religion of parents and child|
|Parental desire to relocate||Written agreement(s)|
In other words, the mother is not always awarded custody of the child. The “Tender Years Doctrine” has been abolished in South Carolina. This means that there is no longer a presumption that a mother will be awarded custody, even in the case of infant children.
There are several different types of custody arrangements. Sole custody is the most common form of custody. In this situation, one parent, known as the custodial parent, is awarded sole custody of the child. The other parent, the noncustodial parent, has visitation. Again, the paramount consideration is the best interest of the child. Visitation is for the benefit of the child, and courts are generally generous in providing visitation awards for this reason. On the other hand, joint custody may involve joint legal custody, joint physical custody, or both. Joint legal custody means that each parent has the equal right to make decisions regarding the child. Joint physical custody is usually more liberal than standard visitation in which each parent has significant periods of physical custody. To avoid the uncertainty associated with the family court’s decision regarding custody, the parties also have the opportunity agree on custody and visitation prior to attending court. If the family court believes the agreement is reasonable and in the best interest of the child, then the agreement will usually be enforceable.
A modification of child custody or visitation may also be possible, but the party seeking the change has to show a substantial change occurring after the initial custody arrangement that affects the best interest and welfare of the child. Whether you are seeking child custody, visitation, or modification, it can be a difficult and time-consuming task. It is often frustrating and stressful when you are uncertain about you and your child’s future. Our South Carolina family law attorneys understand the emotional turmoil that this process can cause. We have years of experience in handling child custody and visitation matters and can provide you with the advice necessary to establish a fair arrangement for you and your child. We have child custody lawyers in many areas of South Carolina including Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Conway, and Charleston. If you or someone you know needs a custody attorney, contact The Mace Firm at (843) 839-2900 to speak with one of our attorneys.
Unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties, the amount of child support to be paid by one party to the other is determined by the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines. The court may deviate from the guidelines in some circumstances, but only if there is just cause for such a deviation. Unless the parties have agreed otherwise, a parent paying child support must continue to do so until the child is “emancipated.” This generally occurs when the child reaches eighteen years of age or graduates high school, whichever comes later. There may be exceptions to this general rule depending on the particular circumstances of your case. A child support obligation may also be modified if the party requesting relief is able to show a substantial change in circumstances or a substantial change in the financial ability of either party. Of course, child support arrangements can always be agreed upon by the parties and filed with the family court as long as the court finds it is in the best interest of the child.
If you are seeking child support or modification of an already existing child support obligation, please contact one of our family law attorneys for a consultation. Most every family law case requires a close relationship with your attorney. Our South Carolina child support lawyers are highly experienced in this field, and provide the type of personal assistance that you need in this type of case. If you or someone you know is seeking a South Carolina family law lawyer, contact The Mace Firm today.