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Divorce in South Carolina

The decision to get a divorce is rarely an easy to make. You have probably already experienced a fair amount of stress and frustration to reach this point. Now that you have decided on divorce, you want to move forward as quickly and inexpensively as you can. Fortunately, the divorce process in South Carolina is fairly straightforward, particularly if you are seeking an uncontested divorce – one where you and your spouse agree in all terms of the divorce, including child custody (if you have children) and property division. You only need to complete the appropriate divorce papers for South Carolina and submit them to your local county court to begin. CompleteCase.com’s online service makes the process of filing South Carolina’s divorce papers even easier by helping you find the right forms for your needs and making sure they are filled out correctly.

If you and your spouse are struggling to come to divorce terms that both of you can agree to, you may benefit from the services of a divorce mediator. Mediation in South Carolina lets you meet with a professional mediator, someone who is trained in helping divorcing couples reach equitable agreements.

The following information will help you understand the divorce process in South Carolina, and how you can begin to move forward with your own divorce.

South Carolina Divorce Facts

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the divorce rate in South Carolina in 2011 was 3.2 for every 1,000 residents of the state. South Carolina's divorce rate is relatively low compared to many in the United States.

South Carolina allows you to seek either a fault-based or no-fault divorce. In a fault-based divorce, you need to prove a reason for the divorce based on grounds accepted by the state, such as adultery or extreme cruelty. In a no-fault divorce, you only need to state that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” to get the divorce. To get a no-fault divorce in South Carolina, you must first live apart from your spouse for at least one year before you file.

Most people prefer no fault divorces because they are faster and less expensive than a fault-based divorce. They also avoid the need to discuss potentially embarrassing details in front of the court.

You must meet the three month residency requirements in South Carolina before you can file – if your spouse also lives in the state. If your spouse lives outside of the state, you must be a resident for a year before you can file for divorce.

South Carolina Divorce Papers and Forms

The specific forms you complete for your divorce will vary on a number of factors, including whether you and your spouse have minor children. You may also have to complete special forms based on the county where you are filing.

Some of the common divorce papers in South Carolina include the “Summons for Divorce”, the “Family Court Coversheet” and the “Financial Declaration”. You can find a long list of divorce forms on the South Carolina Judicial Department website. It is important that you look over all the options available on the site to ensure that you choose the right divorce papers for your situation. If you find the number of options a little overwhelming, you are not alone. The state's website does not make it easy to be certain if you are using all the right forms and does not give assistance in completing those forms. This is why many people choose to get their divorce papers online from CompleteCase.com.  At CompleteCase, you get the help you need to choose right forms for your individual circumstances. You can also get assistance to complete those forms to ensure that you avoid unnecessary delays or delays in your divorce.

How to File Divorce Papers in South Carolina

When you have completed your online divorce forms, you will need to create two copies of each document in addition to the original. One set of documents you will submit to the county clerk, one set you will serve to your spouse and one set you will keep for your records. Avoid signing any documents until you are in the presence of a notary. Many courts will offer notary services, but not all do.

Before you leave to file your forms, you may want to call ahead and verify with the clerk that you are bringing all the required documents, that the court has a notary public and that you bring the correct form of payment to pay the state filing fee. If you are unable to afford the filing fee, you may be able to get it waived. Ask the clerk for a waiver form and complete it. If the court grants your request, you will be able to file without paying the fee. When you have given the clerk your documents and fee considered paid, he or she will stamp all documents with a date and a case number.

How to Serve Divorce Papers in South Carolina

To “serve” documents just means to give copies of the divorce paperwork to your spouse. This allows him or her to respond to your complaint and ensures everyone is on the same page.

South Carolina allows you to serve your spouse personally, as long as you get an “Acceptance of Service” form signed by him or her and file it with the court. If you do not want to serve the papers personally, you can mail them by certified mail. You will need to get a return receipt demonstrating that your spouse signed for the papers which you will file with the court. You also have the option of hiring a sheriff or a private process server to serve your spouse. Each of these will charge a fee. Each will give you proof of service after the papers have been accepted by your spouse, which you will then file with the court to complete the filing process.

South Carolina has a minimum three month waiting period after the papers have been filed before it will grant a divorce.

Do you qualify for an online divorce?

Do you know the location of your spouse?
Is your spouse in agreement regarding this divorce and willing to sign the divorce papers with you?
Do you and your spouse have any children under the age of 18 from this marriage?