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Filing for Divorce in South Carolina

Filing for Divorce in South Carolina

Getting a Divorce in South Carolina? Divorce Law Cheat Sheet for the State of South Carolina


1. What are the residency requirements for filing for divorce in South Carolina?  
You or your spouse must have lived in South Carolina for at least a year before filing for divorce there. If you both are residents of South Carolina when you file, then the residency requirement is just three months.  

If you are in the military and stationed in South Carolina on active duty, you also may file there, as long as you meet the length-of-time requirements.  

You must file in the county in which your spouse lives or, if your spouse is not a resident of the state, the county in which you live or the county in which you and your spouse last lived as husband and wife.  

2. Does South Carolina have a waiting period?       
Yes, the court will not take action on your case until at least two months after you file, and it will not grant a divorce decree until at least three months after you file, unless you are filing on the grounds of desertion or separation for one year.  

3. Does the state have grounds for divorce?  
You may file for a divorce on these grounds in South Carolina:

  • Adultery, which means your spouse had an affair.
  • Desertion, meaning your spouse has been gone for at least a year.
  • Physical cruelty.
  • Habitual drunkenness or drug use.
  • Living apart for at least a year.  
If the court finds any evidence of collusion, meaning you and your spouse planned any of the actions above with the intention of getting a divorce, then the court will not grant you one.  

4. How does South Carolina determine the division of property?    
You and your spouse are encouraged to come up with a settlement on your own and present it to the court. If you can’t agree, the court will divide your property for you. The court divides your marital property, which in South Carolina is any property that you and your spouse acquired while you were married, regardless of whose name is on the title.  

Your separate property remains your own. This includes:

  • Property that you acquired by inheritance or by gift (gifts from your spouse, however, are marital property).
  • Property that you acquired before you were married or after any agreements or orders dividing your property in your separation or divorce.
  • Property that you received in exchange for your separate property.
  • Property that you and your spouse identified as separate in a prenuptial agreement.
  • Any increase in value of your separate property, unless that increase in value was a result of efforts on the part of your spouse.  

The court will try to divide your marital property as equitably, or fairly, as possible. It will take into account these factors:

  • How long you were married and how old you each were at the time of your marriage and your divorce.
  • Separate support or other agreements between you and your spouse.
  • Who was at fault in your divorce if it affects or has affected you and your spouse’s economic circumstances.
  • The value of your marital property.
  • You and your spouse’s contributions to the acquisition, appreciation or depreciation of your property, including contributions as a homemaker. The court also will consider the quality of your contribution, beyond the fact that you contributed.
  • You and your spouse’s incomes, earning potential and opportunities to acquire future assets.
  • You and your spouse’s physical and emotional health.
  • Whether you or your spouse needs additional training or education to reach your income potential.
  • What separate property you and your spouse each has.
  • Whether alimony has been awarded.
  • If you have children, whether the custodian should get or live in your family home for the benefit of your children.
  • The tax situations you each would face after your property is divided.
  • Whether you or your spouse is responsible for any existing support orders, from a previous marriage or otherwise.
  • Whether there are any lines on your marital property or on you or your spouse’s separate property, or your share any other debts.
  • Your child custody arrangements and responsibilities.
  • Any other factors the court considers relevant.  


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