South Carolina Divorce Laws

When a marriage falls apart, couples have to wade through divorce laws to come to an agreement on property division, child custody, and other important matters. While every couple’s situation is unique, there are some general laws that apply in most cases. 

In this article, we will explore some of the most important aspects of South Carolina divorce law so that you can be better prepared for what lies ahead.

Having a good divorce lawyer in Greenville by your side is always advisable, but it’s also helpful to have a basic understanding of the law yourself. At Sarah Henry Law, we want to arm you with the knowledge you need to make the best decisions for your future.

Fault and No-Fault Divorce in South Carolina

South Carolina is a “fault” state when it comes to divorce. This means that one spouse can file for divorce on the grounds of adultery, physical cruelty, habitual drunkenness, or abandonment. If you choose to file for fault divorce, you will need to be able to prove your claims in court.

The other option is to file for a no-fault divorce, which requires that the couple prove that they have lived separately and apart for at least a year. 

Division of Property

South Carolina is an “equitable distribution” state when it comes to dividing up property in a divorce. This means that the court will divide the couple’s assets in a way that is fair, but not necessarily equal. 

The court will consider various factors when making its decision, such as each spouse’s income and earning potential, each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, and each spouse’s needs.

Child Custody and Support

If the parties fail to come to an agreement on child custody and visitation the court will decide those issues for the parties based on what is in the best interests of the child, taking into consideration factors such as each parent’s ability to provide a stable home, their work schedules, and their relationships with the child.

South Carolina guidelines usually determine child support payment amounts. The amount of child support is based on both parents’ incomes, the number of children, and the amount of time each parent spends with the child, among other factors.


Alimony is also known as “spousal support.” In South Carolina, the court can award spousal support to either party in a divorce, but it is most often awarded to the spouse who earns less money or who made financial or income sacrifices during the marriage.  

The amount and duration of spousal support will be decided based on various factors, such as each spouse’s income, their earning potential, the length of the marriage, and each spouse’s needs.

Can the Court Modify a Divorce Decree?

Once the court issues a divorce decree, it is final. However, there are some circumstances in which the court can modify the decree. For example, if one spouse remarries or if there is a change in income, the court can modify child support or alimony payments.

In case you find yourself in a situation where you need to modify your divorce decree, it is important to speak with a lawyer who can help you navigate the process.

Is Mediation Required Before Going to Court?

In South Carolina, mediation is required in the majority of family court cases prior to a final hearing. Mediation is a process in which the couple meets with a neutral third party to try to come to an agreement on various issues, such as child custody, property division, and alimony.

If the couple is able to reach an agreement through mediation, they can then have their lawyer draft a divorce settlement agreement that will be submitted to the court. If the court approves the agreement, it will become part of the divorce decree.

Because mediation is a required and key part of divorce proceedings, you may need to speak with a lawyer before going to court. Your lawyer can answer your case-specific questions about mediation and how it can impact your time in court. 

Get Legal Help Now

Making the decision to get divorced is never easy. But knowing what to expect can help make the process a little bit less daunting. If you have any questions about South Carolina divorce laws, it is important to speak with a lawyer who can help you understand your legal rights and options.

At Sarah Henry Law, we have experience handling all types of divorce cases, and we want to help you through this difficult time. Contact us today at 864-478-8324 or through our contact form below.

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