Separation & Divorce
It was supposed to be for life. “'Till death do us part," remember? For some reason, however, it just is not working. You and your spouse just are not seeing eye-to-eye anymore.
Perhaps you changed. Perhaps your spouse changed. Maybe he or she has some growing up to do. Maybe finances, or a sudden change in employment, got in the way. Maybe he or she is seeing someone else.
Part of what we do here at The LaMantia Law Firm is help find a new sense of stability, a “new normal," in which both you and your spouse have a chance to move on with your lives. In our clients, we see good people at their worst, but we take pride in watching them grow stronger and happier over time.
While the State of South Carolina does not recognize a “legal separation," preferring to find instead that a couple is either married or not married, the state does provide for a similar type of action, called an “Action for Separate Support and Maintenance."
An Action for Separate Support and Maintenance is governed by the same guidelines as divorce, and may provide a mechanism by which you and your spouse may begin to find that “new normal" and start down the road to stability. Such an action may even provide for spousal support, in the form of pre-divorce payments made from one spouse to the other.
South Carolina has four “fault" grounds for divorce:
- Physical Cruelty
- Habitual Drunkenness and/or Drug Abuse
Aside from the four “fault" grounds for divorce, the State of South Carolina also recognizes a “no-fault" ground for divorce. That “no-fault" ground is called “Living Separate and Apart for One Year Without Cohabitation" and, in order to be eligible, you and your spouse must intentionally and continuously live in separate residences for at least one year prior to filing for divorce.
Regardless of whether divorce is sought pursuant to one of the four “fault" grounds or the one “no-fault" ground, the state requires that the party filing for divorce proves at least one of these grounds with legally sufficient evidence. In this context, “legally sufficient" evidence refers to evidence that satisfies the Court that one of the grounds exists. This is usually achieved through the assistance of third-party testimony, which may be testimony from a family member or friend who can attest firsthand that you and your spouse have indeed lived separate and apart for one year, from a Private Investigator providing evidence of infidelity, or from a doctor or law enforcement officer supporting a finding of spousal abuse.
Whether you are looking to file for Separate Support and Maintenance or Divorce, or whether you have already been confronted with paperwork from your spouse, feel free to contact us today.
In South Carolina, the family court provides for both alimony and separate support and maintenance, the former in cases of divorce and the latter in cases of separation. Separate support and maintenance is support in effect prior to divorce, in the form of payments made by one spouse to the other, generally while the spouses await the one year of continuous separation that is necessary to satisfy the South Carolina standard for no-fault divorce. Alimony is post-divorce support, in the form of payments made by one former spouse to another and is available to either party.
There are four basic types of alimony. Periodic alimony is the preferred form of alimony and is based on the duration of the marriage, overall financial situation of the parties and whether one spouse was more at fault. Lump sum alimony is a fixed amount of alimony that is paid all at once or in installments over a limited time. Rehabilitation is a finite amount of alimony that is to be paid all at once or in installments over time and is intended to bring the supported party back up to speed to re-enter the workforce and provide for him or herself. The final basic type of alimony is reimbursement. This is a finite amount of money, generally awarded when the court sees fit to reimburse one party from the future earnings of the other for financial events that occurred during the marriage.
In every case, alimony and support are highly fact-and detail-specific. Different types of property can weigh into consideration of any award, as can the individual financial circumstances of each party. It is highly recommended that you discuss this matter with an experienced family law attorney.
We understand, and we are here to help.