Need a Divorce Attorney in Dorchester County, South Carolina?
If you are considering divorce or have been served with divorce papers in Dorchester County, South Carolina, you probably have questions.
- What happens next?
- Who gets custody of the children?
- Can I get alimony or child support?
- How is our property going to be divided?
These are difficult questions, and we understand that divorce is a painful and overwhelming experience – one of the most difficult times that many people experience in their lives.
We will be with you every step of the way – answering your questions, negotiating on your behalf, and helping you to prepare for hearings or trial.
The divorce lawyers at the Seaton Law Office care about you, your family, and your case.
OUR divorce lawyers have years of experience successfully representing divorce clients in Dorchester County
Our divorce lawyers have years of experience with:
- Filing complex and simple divorce proceedings,
- Negotiating child custody, child support, alimony, and division of property issues to protect our clients’ interests,
- Negotiating and drafting separation agreements and settlement agreements,
- Participating in mediation on behalf of our divorce clients,
- Litigating complex divorce proceedings in South Carolina’s family courts,
- Obtaining protective orders for vulnerable clients and their children, and
- Trying divorce cases in the family court.
When you call our office, we will:
- Meet with you to discuss your case, answer your questions, and ensure that our firm is the right fit for you,
- Help you to determine your next steps to accomplish your goals, whether that is filing for divorce, asking for a fault-based divorce, asking for a no-fault divorce, or filing for an Order of separate support and maintenance,
- Gather the evidence that we will need to prove your case,
- Retain private investigators when needed,
- Negotiate with your former spouse’s attorney to reach a settlement agreement when possible, and
- Represent your interests at mediation, motion hearings, and your final divorce hearing.
UNDERSTANDING DIVORCE IN
DORCHESTER COUNTY SOUTH CAROLINA
Pleadings in Dorchester County Divorce Cases
Divorce proceedings begin with the filing of a Summons and Complaint, which outline your grounds for divorce and the relief that you are requesting from the court which may include:
- A divorce from your former spouse,
- Alimony payments,
- Child support payments,
- Custody of your children,
- Visitation rights with your children,
- Equitable division of marital property, and
- Any other relief that you are entitled to under South Carolina law.
Once the Complaint has been filed and served on the defendant spouse, they must file an Answer within 30 days admitting or denying the claims and asserting any counterclaims.
How is Child Custody Determined in South Carolina?
South Carolina Code § 63-15-230 says that the family court must “make the final custody determination in the best interest of the child based upon the evidence presented.”
South Carolina Code § 63-15-240(B) contains a list of factors that the court must consider when deciding the best interest of the child, including:
- The child’s temperament,
- Each parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs,
- The child’s and the parents’ preferences,
- The child’s home, community, and school environments,
- Any abuse or neglect of the child, and
- The parents’ behavior and interactions with the child.
Grounds for Divorce in South Carolina
Before you can get a divorce in South Carolina, you must prove one of five grounds for divorce.
In many cases, the parties will ask for a “no-fault” divorce based on one year’s continuous separation.
A no-fault divorce is not necessarily a “no-contest” divorce. Even when there are no fault-based grounds for divorce, there may be issues that must be resolved like child custody, child support, alimony, and division of the marital assets.
There are also four fault-based grounds for divorce in South Carolina:
- Physical cruelty,
- Habitual drunkenness, and
How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce in Dorchester County, South Carolina?
The time that it takes to complete your divorce proceedings will depend on factors like:
- Whether your divorce is a no-fault divorce or is based on fault grounds,
- Whether all issues have been worked out before you file for divorce including child custody, child support, alimony, and division of assets,
- The complexity of your divorce proceedings including the nature of your and your former spouses’ assets and whether you own businesses, and
- The court’s docket.
They are very good at what they do! Go see them today and be worry free!
– Kipp Cavadias
Great Lawyer, will definitely use again when needed. Thank You Beau!
– Charles McGee
He truly cares about his clients!! A wonderful lawyer!!
– Lamarr Richardson
* The Rules of Professional Conduct require disclosure that this is a “Testimonial” about the attorney. Please be aware that any result achieved on behalf of one client in one matter does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.
Four (4) Steps To Take If You’re Considering a Divorce
1. Gather All Records
It is very important your attorney has a good idea of the whole picture. Keeping your records together, and organized, is key to getting off on the right foot. Your attorney will analyze all the pertinent records and explain what they mean for your case.
2. Document Household Goods
A big part of a divorce proceeding is the distribution of shared assets. The first things you most likely think of when you hear “assets” are big things like houses and cars, but household goods are also shared assets. Make a record of what they all are so you are prepared when the time comes to make decisions.
3. Gather Proof of Income
Income is part of the spousal support and child support calculations. This information seems very personal, but it is necessary in making this important determination. Find the documents that show your proof of income and make sure you provide them to your attorney.
4. Monitor Your Behavior
Divorce proceedings are hard on all parties involved. They are emotionally charged and can bring out the worst in people. Try to watch your behavior and act in a civil manner. You don’t want to do something in the heat of the moment that you may end up later regretting. The judge will be making the final determination in your case, so don’t do something that will make you appear to be uncooperative or a troublemaker.
COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT
DIVORCE PROCEEDINGS IN SOUTH CAROLINA
CAN I DATE WHILE MY DIVORCE CASE IS PENDING?
You can date while you are separated from your spouse, but only if:
- You have a signed, written separation or settlement agreement, or
- The family court has issued a permanent order in your case for separate support and maintenance or approving your marital settlement.
Keep in mind that:
- Adultery is a complete bar to alimony in South Carolina (unless you meet the conditions listed above), and
- Dating can still affect the court’s decisions regarding child custody, visitation, alimony, and division of property if the court finds that your dating behavior affects the best interest of your child or qualifies as “marital misconduct.”
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A “SIMPLE” DIVORCE AND A “CONTESTED” DIVORCE?
A simple, or uncontested, divorce is when there are no fault-based grounds for divorce and there are no issues that need to be decided by the court.
Even when you are seeking a “no-fault” divorce based on one year’s continuous separation, your divorce is not “uncontested” unless all issues have been resolved including:
- Child custody,
- Child support,
- Alimony, and
- Division of marital property.
WHY IS A GUARDIAN AD LITEM REQUIRED IN MY DIVORCE CASE?
In cases where child custody is disputed or where there are issues that may affect one or more children in your divorce proceedings, the court must appoint a guardian ad litem who will conduct an independent investigation and make a report to the court on what is in the child’s best interest.
Ready To Speak With An Attorney?
Let’s discuss the details of your case and see if we can help.