When someone is faced with getting divorced, he or she may have lots of questions. It may not be something he or she has ever had to deal with.

Maybe you are just starting to think about if getting a divorce is the right path for you and your family. Or maybe you and your partner have fully discussed it and know that getting a divorce is the best option.

No matter which scenario you are in, it’s best to know the in’s and out’s of the major life decision you are making. Keep reading to hear the answers to some frequently asked questions about getting a divorce in South Carolina.

Common Questions About Divorce in South Carolina:


1. What do I do after being served with divorce papers?

After being served with divorce papers, you should immediately consult with a family law attorney. Please remember, there are procedural rules and laws that the average may not be aware of.

For example, divorce complaint must be answered within thirty (30) days. That’s why it is important to not delay getting in contact with an attorney. In addition, if a temporary hearing has been requested, the attorney will need to get to work right away.

2. Is there a separate divorce court in SC?

There is not a separate divorce court in South Carolina. All divorces are heard in the Family Court. All hearings leading up to the divorce will also be held in Family Court.

3. Is a divorce public record?

A divorce is public record. The Clerk of Court keeps a file of every divorce. Although the Clerk may redact some information (like addresses and social security numbers), the Clerk’s file is public record.

4. Is there a form to file for a divorce?

There is not a form to file for a divorce. A person must file a summons and complaint to file for divorce. The complaint will need to contain case-specific language based on what the person is requesting from the court.

5. How do I get a divorce?

A person gets a divorce by filing a summons and complaint, waiting the required amount of separation time, proving the elements of fault (if applicable and if the other person does not admit his or her misconduct), and requesting a divorce from the court.

If there are other issues such as property division or custody, the parties will also need to go to mediation if no agreement can be reached.

6. What is the difference between annulment vs divorce?

A divorce is the dissolution of a marriage. It brings the legal marriage to a legal end. It doesn’t discount the fact that the marriage was valid.

An annulment is a declaration by the Family Court that the marriage was invalid. If an annulment is granted, it will be as if the parties were never married. Grounds for annulment include fraud and duress.

7. How much does a divorce cost?

The cost of a divorce varies. The filing fee established by the court to file for divorce is $150. Attorney’s hourly rates vary.

In addition, the number of hours an attorney has to work on a case depends on the case. For example, if there is a lot of property to divide or if the parties cannot agree and the case must go to trial, the amount of time an attorney will spend on the case will likely increase. Most attorneys bill hourly for contested divorce cases, and the more the attorney works, the more it costs.

8. Is divorce counseling required?

Divorce counseling or marriage counseling is not required. The parties will need to attend mediation to try to resolve all issues involved in the marital litigation other than the issue of divorce itself, which is a decision reserved for the Court.

9. What is a divorce settlement?

Some people refer to a settlement agreement as a divorce settlement. A settlement agreement is an agreement between the parties to settle all issues stemming from the marital litigation save the issue of divorce, which is an issue reserved for the court.

10. How does divorce and remarriage work?

Once a party is divorced, the party may get remarried. Remarriage will stop most forms of alimony.

11. How long do divorce proceedings take?

Divorce proceedings themselves do not have a specific amount of time they take. All Family Court cases must be resolved within 365 days of filing (unless an extension is granted by the Court), or the case will be dismissed. Although there is a one-year period of separation for no-fault divorces, that is not how long divorce proceedings take.

12. What is a divorce settlement agreement?

A settlement agreement is an agreement between the parties to settle all issues stemming from the marital litigation save the issue of divorce, which is an issue reserved for the court.

13. How does alimony work after divorce?

There are different forms of alimony in South Carolina. Types of alimony include lump sum alimony, periodic alimony, rehabilitative alimony, and reimbursement alimony. The law favors periodic, permanent alimony.

Most alimony obligations terminate if the other party remarries or cohabits with another person. Except for lump sum alimony, alimony terminates upon the death of either party.

14. What are the SC divorce laws?

There are many South Carolina divorce laws. Generally speaking, divorces can be granted on the no-fault basis of one year continuous separation or on the fault grounds of adultery, habitual drunkenness, physical cruelty, and desertion for a period of one year (which is not really used anymore).

15. What is the difference between divorce vs separation?

A divorce ends the marriage. Parties are free to remarry after a divorce.

Separation is the period after the parties separate, but before a divorce is granted. There may be a temporary order or an order of separate maintenance and support issued by the court to determine issues prior to the parties being eligible for a divorce.

16. Is arbitration or mediation required for a divorce?

Mediation is required for a divorce if any issues are contested. If the parties cannot agree on what should happen, they must attend at least three hours of mediation.

17. What is the filing fee for a divorce?

The filing fee for a divorce is $150. If the parties need a temporary hearing, there is an additional $25 filing fee.

18. What are the grounds for divorce?

The fault grounds for divorce in South Carolina are adultery, habitual drunkenness, physical cruelty, and desertion for a period of one year (which is not really used anymore). The only no-fault ground for divorce in South Carolina is one year continuous separation.

19. Can you get a divorce without going to court?

You cannot get a divorce without going to court.

20. How long does it take to get a divorce hearing?

It depends on how much time you need. An uncontested divorce hearing usually takes fifteen (15) minutes and is usually scheduled within a few weeks of a party requesting a final hearing. That is, the date of the divorce hearing will be a few weeks out from the request for hearing being filed. A contested divorce hearing may take days or weeks, and it will be scheduled further out.

21. Do I need a divorce lawyer?

I recommend hiring a divorce attorney. There are many issues that a person may not realize are issues. A person may be entitled to alimony or property, but that person doesn’t realize it. It is important to know what your rights are, even if you choose not to exercise them.

Do you have questions about divorce in SC?

If you are contemplating a divorce you are sure to have at least a few questions about the journey ahead. Whether you are just starting to think about getting a divorce, or you are sure that’s what is next for you it’s best to get the answers to the questions swirling around in your head. Making an informed decision is key.

If you have questions about divorce or are looking for a family law attorney in Summerville, South Carolina give me a call at 843.970.2929 or send me a message by completing this form.

Questions? Speak With Mandy

Dial (843) 970-2929