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What are the grounds for divorce in South Carolina?

South Carolina has four fault grounds of divorce: adultery, physical cruelty, desertion, and habitual drunkenness/drug abuse. There is a fifth no-fault ground: living separate and apart for one year without cohabitation. In order to obtain a divorce, the party who files must prove at least one of these grounds with legally sufficient evidence.

Do my spouse and I have to agree to get a divorce?

No. Your spouse cannot stop you from obtaining a divorce if you can prove any of the above grounds for divorce and your spouse does not have a legitimate defense to your claim.

Can my spouse and I legally separate?

South Carolina does not recognize legal separation. Either you are married or not married. There is, however, a similar action called “An Action for Separate Maintenance & Support.”

What is separation?

Separation is when the two parties live in separate locations. Living in two separate bedrooms under the same roof does not qualify as separation in South Carolina.

Do I have to live in South Carolina to be able to file for divorce here?

To file for divorce in South Carolina, one party has to have resided in this state for at least one year if the other spouse lives out-of-state. If both parties have lived in South Carolina for at least three months, either party can file for divorce in this State. Issues such as the division of property, alimony, visitation, and child support requiring obtaining personal jurisdiction over the nonresident spouse. Jurisdiction questions are complex, and you should hire an experienced attorney to avoid having your case dismissed due to misunderstanding the law.

In what county do I file for divorce?

Actions for divorce are tried in the county where the Defendant resides at the commencement of the action or the county where the parties last resided together has husband and wife. If the Defendant is not a South Carolina resident, then the action is tried in the county where the Plaintiff resides.