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Divorce Law in South Carolina

How to Find a South Carolina Divorce Attorney

If you’re like most folks, John Edwards’ adultery, divorce, illegal acts, and possible jail time, has made you say, “Whew. Glad that’s not me.”

We’ll now make the world’s greatest understatement: There are better ways to handle a divorce.

If you are considering divorce or investigating South Carolina divorce attorneys and want to avoid the pain and headlines of the Edwards fiasco, we wrote this article for you.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • South Carolina specific divorce law requirements;
  • What you need to know about divorce; and
  • Whether it’s in your best interest to hire a South Carolina divorce lawyer and, if so, how to find one and how to prepare to work with him or her.

South Carolina Divorce Law Specifics

  • Residency is required for a divorce to proceed in the South Carolina courts. Either the spouse filing for divorce (i.e. the “plaintiff”) or the other spouse must have been a resident of South Carolina for at least one year before the papers are filed.

However, if both spouses reside in South Carolina when the case is filed, the plaintiff need only have lived in the state for the last 3 months.

  • You must list divorce grounds when you file the divorce papers; you have the option between filing for a “no-fault” divorce or a “fault divorce”.
  • South Carolina uses the terms, “plaintiff” and “defendant” to describe, first, the spouse who initially filed the divorce papers, and, second, the other spouse.
  • In South Carolina, divorce papers are filed in Family Court of the appropriate Judicial Circuit.
  • In some cases, alimony is available.
  • In South Carolina property distribution will be based upon what’s “equitable” (i.e. fair) and child support will be based upon the Income Shares Model.

What You Need to Know About Divorce

The most important thing you need to know about divorce is this: DO NOT ANTAGONIZE or EMBARRASS YOUR SPOUSE. You may feel like throwing stones or hiring a shark attorney, but don’t.

If your spouse is further antagonized, he or she will say “no” at every opportunity and you’ll get less of what you want, pay higher legal fees, and have greater stress.

Focus on compromise, collaboration, communication, and cooperation to avoid court interference, keep costs and stress to a minimum, stay in control, and get more of what you want.

  • #1: You can control your legal fees and keep them to a minimum. Follow your attorney’s advice.
  • #2: Work with a therapist, instead of using your children or lawyer as a sounding board. When you feel like throwing rocks at your spouse, go to your therapist.
  • #3: Hire a South Carolina divorce lawyer who will work collaboratively with your spouse’s attorney. (No sharks.)

Is it in Your Best Interests to Work with a South Carolina Divorce Lawyer?

Absolutely, your South Carolina divorce lawyer will know the law, guide you through decision-making and negotiations, and handle all the legal work.

If you make a mistake and give up any marital rights (i.e. money) during divorce, you will be forever barred from asserting them later.

Even attorneys, who go through divorce, hire their own divorce attorneys.

How to Find and Select a South Carolina Divorce Attorney

The very easiest way to find divorce attorneys is to type “How to Find a South Carolina Divorce Attorney” into Google or your favorite search engine.

To make the best selection, par down your results by choosing about three attorneys who focus their legal practice on divorce law or family law and will work collaboratively to reach a marital agreement you can live comfortably with.

Be sure to ask questions of any attorney you are thinking of hiring. Always ask about collaboration efforts, legal fees and court costs, the process, what to expect, how communications with the attorney will be handled, and timing.

How to Prepare to Work with Your Divorce Attorney

  • Consider reconciliation.
  • Consult with a therapist, who specializes in helping people going through divorce.
  • Make a “wish list” of everything you would like in the divorce, knowing compromise is required.
  • Research divorce issues and make a list of questions.
  • Gather financial documentation for assets, income, expenses, and liabilities.
  • Focus on being polite to your spouse, especially in front of your children.

Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true.

~Robert Brault

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