In 2019, lawmakers in South Carolina attempted to expand the reasons why someone could seek a divorce. Passing such a law would assist couples looking to separate, as well as make court procedures more efficient. 

Divorce reform comes to South Carolina

The proposed amendments would allow couples to divorce for things such as illegal drug use, abuse that threatens someone’s mental or physical well-being, and situations where living together is unsafe or not tolerable. At the time of the news report, the bill was approved by a state House of Representatives subcommittee. 

Before these reforms, the grounds for divorce in the state were one year of living separately, adultery, desertion, physical cruelty, and abuse of alcohol or drugs. In practice, most couples choose to just live apart for a year and then formally file to end the marriage.  

One of the representatives who sponsored the bill told the media that the additional protections for mental and physical abuse would make it easier for a spouse to file and end the marriage in a shorter time period due to safety concerns. The House Judiciary Committee was the next destination for the bill to proceed further through the state’s legislative process. 

The history of fault based divorces and newer no fault divorce laws

In the American family law system, there were only fault based grounds for divorce in most states until the last few decades. These included things like desertion, imprisonment, mental incapacity, and impotence. However, many couples would simply find ways to falsify these grounds, if they were serious about separating. Over time, it became obvious that the law would need to adapt to allow for divorce filings in more situations. 

As a response to these issues most states now allow for no fault divorce. This type of proceeding allows one or both spouses to say that the marriage has broken down and they wish to be separated. This can be done for any reason at all, and the couple’s specific motivations are not important. You should ask your attorney what kind of filing is right for your marriage. 

Preparing for a divorce

Clients should talk with their lawyer about a number of factors before deciding to go forward with ending their marriage. This can include child custody, alimony payments, child support payments, property division, and the terms of a prenuptial agreement if one exists. Issues such as custody are especially important because parents will have to prepare for a separate hearing where they present evidence regarding their parental fitness to the judge. 

Family law attorneys can assist local clients

You can get assistance from an experienced family law firm that serves clients in Columbia, South Carolina and nearby areas. To speak with an attorney, contact:

The Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys LLC

870 Cleveland St., Suite 2D-A, Greenville, SC 29601


[email protected]

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