Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, we are still open, and will remain so. Our promise of complete customer satisfaction will never change.
Same-Sex Divorce in South Carolina

Same-Sex Divorce
in South Carolina

Divorce in South Carolina is quick and easy
South Carolina flag
Do you know the location of your spouse?
Can you and your spouse agree to the division of property, debts and all child related issues?

Same-sex marriages were legally recognized in South Carolina after a federal court ruling on November 20, 2014. Consequently, judges were bound to grant any gay divorce in South Carolina. Also, the state abolished the right to enter into a common-law marriage after July 24, 2019. So same-sex couples now have only one option — official marriage and official same-sex divorce in South Carolina. However, courts still recognize common-law unions if created before July 2019.

Divorce laws in South Carolina regarding the legal procedure are the same for same-sex unions and heterosexual marriages. The law is the same for all state residents, which means that all couples can file for same-sex divorce in South Carolina on equivalent terms.

Same-sex divorce online

Same Sex Divorce

Same-sex couples have an option to file for divorce in South Carolina without an attorney if they agree on all terms of their separation in advance. In this case, they can opt for a so-called do-it-yourself divorce and collect all the necessary documents on their own. Divorce over the Internet is a fast and easy way for DIY divorcers to handle all the paperwork without leaving home.

Same-sex divorce paperwork in South Carolina can be obtained and completed online, for example, at southcarolinaonlinedivorce.com. The website offers the customers ready printable documents at an affordable price of only $139, one of the lowest on the Internet. The cost also includes detailed instructions and customer support.

Same-sex divorce papers in South Carolina

Same-sex divorce papers in South Carolina vary depending on the type of the case and the presence of minor children. Spouses who reach an agreement and want to separate amicably must complete and file the following same-sex divorce forms in South Carolina: Family Court Coversheet, Complaint for divorce, Certificate of Exemption, Summons, and Financial Declaration Form. Additional papers may be required later in the process.

However, for a contested case, spouses will need more specific information on how to file a same-sex divorce in South Carolina that only an experienced lawyer can provide. It is not recommended to proceed by yourself unless you have an uncontested divorce.

Valid grounds for same-sex divorce in South Carolina

All same-sex couples have to meet the residency requirements to initiate a divorce process in South Carolina. At least one of the spouses must be a resident of the state for one year before filing for divorce. Also, when one of the same-sex partners plans to file for divorce in South Carolina, they must provide the court with a reason. There are two categories: no-fault and fault-based grounds.

Under South Carolina law, a couple can get a same-sex divorce based on one of the following grounds (SC Code § 20-3-10):

1.

Adultery;

2.

Desertion for one year;

3.

Physical abuse;

4.

Continual drunkenness;

5.

Separate living for one year by agreement.

Separation for one year is considered a no-fault reason for ending the marriage. It means that a person married to a same-sex spouse can get a divorce in South Carolina without proving the other party’s guilt.

Custody of the Child

Custody of the child

Family law in South Carolina provides both parents with equal rights regarding child custody. The court can award either joint or sole custody over children. A procedure for its determination requires that both parents submit a parenting plan for review. This plan must include living arrangements, a visitation schedule, and how major decisions about a child’s education, medical care, and religious matters will be made. The South Carolina Supreme Court has rules about how to implement the plan. One of the other requirements for couples with children is to enroll in a parenting class.

A judge will decide on the type of custody following the child’s best interests, which may include:

  • the needs of a child and the parents’ capacity to meet those needs;
  • the child’s preferences and the parents’ wishes about custody;
  • the past and present relationship between a child, each parent, siblings, and other significant people;
  • the ability of each parent to participate in a child’s life and facilitate continual contact of a child with another parent;
  • the mental and physical health of all parties;
  • the stability of a child’s present and proposed residence;
  • whether one parent moved more than one hundred miles away from a child’s home unless it was for safety reasons;
  • whether one of the parents was charged with child abuse or domestic violence;
  • other relevant factors (SC Code § 63-15-240).

Child Support

In South Carolina, both parents are responsible for paying child support out of their gross income, including salaries, wages, bonuses, rents, interest, annuities, social security benefits, unemployment benefits, etc. The sum of payments is determined with the help of state guidelines based on the Income Shares Model. Each parent has to pay their share according to the ratio between the individual and the joint gross income. The expenditures include food, household facilities, transportation, educational costs, etc.

If the judge believes the amount to be inappropriate or unjust, he or she can deviate from guidelines and consider the following factors (SC Code § 63-17-470):

  • educational expenses for private or secondary schools with tuition;
  • consumer debts and division of property;
  • if there are more than six children;
  • extraordinary medical or dental expenses;
  • child support from other marriages;
  • the significant disparity between the custodial and non-custodial parent’s income;
  • other important factors.

Spousal Support

One of the spouses with higher income can be ordered to pay spousal support to the other party if a judge discovers its need. In South Carolina, there are several types of alimony: periodic (that ends on the remarriage of a receiving spouse or death of either party), in a lump sum, rehabilitative (for a period during which a supported spouse will complete the training to find suitable employment), reimbursement, and separate maintenance and support.

If there is no prenuptial agreement about spousal support, a judge will determine its type and amount considering the following factors (SC Code § 20-3-130):

  • the length of the marriage;
  • physical and emotional condition of the parties;
  • education and training of each spouse and their earning abilities;
  • the standard of living during the marriage;
  • current and future income, needs, and expenses;
  • marital and separate property;
  • tax consequences;
  • marital misconduct;
  • support obligations from other marriages;
  • other relevant factors.

Each spouse can also apply for the modification of a support order if they can prove a substantial change in circumstances that affect each party’s needs or earning capacity.

Property Division

Property Division

Upon request of either spouse, divorce proceedings in South Carolina may include a marital property distribution between the parties. Marital property includes real and personal assets and debts acquired during the marriage and excludes gifts and inheritances.

How is property divided in South Carolina? According to the principle of equitability, a judge will divide assets based on each spouse’s contribution to the joint property. The following factors are also considered (SC Code § 20-3-620):

  • the duration of the marriage;
  • marital misconduct if it affected economic circumstances or led to the break-up;
  • the value of marital property;
  • the income and earning ability of each spouse;
  • the need for additional training and education;
  • the physical and mental health of the spouses;
  • separate property of each party;
  • existing support orders;
  • tax consequences;
  • other relevant factors.

Mediation support

All domestic relation cases are referred to mediation. It is an alternative way to resolve such issues as property distribution, child custody, and support arrangements before a final court hearing. Both spouses can go through the process with or without a lawyer. The result of negotiations is a settlement agreement submitted to the court for consideration.

The benefits of mediation are confidentiality and a peaceful atmosphere. Only spouses, a mediator, and lawyers are allowed to be present at the negotiations. Mediation is also a quick and inexpensive process if a couple is willing to cooperate. If the spouses cannot reach an amicable decision, they can still go to trial.

Filing fees for same-sex divorce in South Carolina

Couples who file for divorce in South Carolina to dissolve their same-sex marriage must pay mandatory filing fees. According to all family courts’ local rules, every new case costs $150 to initiate. If a person cannot afford this fee, they can ask for its waiver by providing the court with financial information that shows the inability to pay.

A petitioner must also decide how to serve the defendant — with the help of a Sheriff’s Department ($15), a private process server, or by US mail. If a person is married to a same-sex spouse and wants to get a divorce in South Carolina when the spouse is out of state and cannot be found, serving the papers can be done by publication.

How long will it take

Divorce for same-sex couples in South Carolina can be a lengthy process if spouses cannot agree to separate amicably. For fault-based cases, where the reason for divorce is adultery, cruelty, substance abuse, there is a three-month waiting period before any final judgment could be made. However, such cases extend from several months to a year because a couple must go through a divorce trial.

If there are no contested issues between the couple about child custody, spousal support, or property division, the length of the divorce process does not typically exceed 3-4 months from the date of filing. However, a couple has to reside separately for one year before the commencement of an action.

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions
Where do I file for a divorce in South Carolina?
You can file your case in one of the Family Courts that exclusively deal with family law matters. Choose the county where you and your spouse have resided. If you are not a South Carolina resident, you can start your marriage dissolution in a county where your spouse is currently living.
Do I have to be legally separated before divorce in SC?
A no-fault divorce in South Carolina requires a one-year separation before filing, but there is no requirement to make it official. As soon as you start living apart from your spouse without cohabiting, you can start counting your separation days. After that, you will have to testify in court that your separation was valid.
What happens if I stop paying alimony?
You can stop paying alimony in South Carolina on several occasions: remarriage or cohabitation of a receiving spouse or death. Since maintenance is awarded by court order, you also need a court order for its termination. If you stop paying alimony without the court’s permission, you will either have to pay fines, lose your driver’s license, or even go to jail.
How can I prove adultery in South Carolina?
To prove your spouse has cheated on you as the reason for the marriage breakdown, you need to provide “inclination” (text messages or emails, a profile on a dating website) and “opportunity” (for, example, if your spouse spent time with someone else in a hotel room). You do not need an actual video or audio footage of the event.
How much will a divorce cost in South Carolina?
The cost of a divorce mostly consists of court fees and services of an attorney. The price of uncontested cases start low (below $1,000) but can reach several thousand if you hire a lawyer, whose fees range $200-$500 per hour. For contested cases, be prepared to pay approximately $10,000-$20,000 depending on your circumstances (minor children, substantial property, etc.). Keep in mind the filing fees ($150) you will have to cover to start the action.
#Serving Divorce Papers
#Finalizing a Divorce
Welcome to your online South Carolina divorce guide
Qualify for divorce1
Provide your case details2
Get your papers3
File for divorce4
Customer Testimonials
Maria P.
Aiken County
Our smooth breakup allowed us to file for uncontested divorce and we just decided to arrange it as simply as possible. Online divorce seemed to be a good idea, and now I'm sure we did it right. All the papers were prepared with no issues and I'm pleased with the price. Thanks.
Review stars
Kylie G.
Berkeley County
I think that all the papers related to a certain county with its own legal nuances would be prepared correctly only by a South Carolina-based company. So that's why I used SouthCarolinaOnlineDivorce and I was really satisfied. My divorce papers were completed in a timely manner and I had no troubles with filing. That was a really smooth process and you can be confident with your filing.
Review stars
Mia J.
Clarendon County
Thinking about all that paperwork thing I was preparing for the worst. Fortunately, we agreed on an online divorce! The site was easy to use and we got our completed divorce papers really quickly. We didn't have any problems with the court as well.
Review stars
Mark F.
Edgefield County
It always seemed to me that divorce must be a much more complicated process. I couldn't imagine how I would cope with that. Where do I get all those papers, how to fill them out and where to go and what to do? So, I was really glad I found southcarolinaonlinedivorce.com and they took care of all the paperwork and gave me clear instructions on how to file with the court. That made the whole process so much easier!
Review stars
Dan C.
Greenville County
Got a first class service for a low price. Everything was ready on time, and the court approved the papers without questions. Thanks for the help!
Review stars
Ellie S.
Lancaster County
Great service, affordable price, and - what's really important - clear explanations of what is happening! Thanks to those who created this site.
Review stars
Laura G.
Marion County
The staff is knowledgeable and attentive, and the help with documents preparation was excellent. Our divorce papers were ready much faster than I expected.
Review stars
Gabriel H.
Newberry County
I completed everything really fast and with no hassle. Their support was quite helpful too. I'm pleased with the service of SouthCarolinaOnlineDivorce.
Review stars
Anthony D.
Spartanburg County
My divorce is final now! Thanks for the preparation of all the paperwork, it was really fast and helpful for me!!
Review stars