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Mount Pleasant South Carolina Family Legal Blog

Protecting assets from divorce in lieu of a prenup

When it comes to divorce in the Charleston area, few things are more frustrating than knowing your assets are on the line. Now that the love is gone and the reality is that you and your partner no longer want to spend the rest of your lives together, you may find yourself wondering what you can do to minimize the havoc the separation is going to wreck on your finances. After all, there are joint debts, accounts and all sorts of investments and other assets in the mix. 

Even without a prenuptial contract in place, there are a few things you can do to protect your assets in a divorce. Here are a few pointers to consider. 

Steps can be taken for delinquent child support

In a South Carolina divorce, it is possible that one former spouse will be obligated to make certain payments to the other former spouse. If there are children from the marriage, it is imperative that child support be paid on time and in full. Unfortunately, some parents are delinquent in that duty and will not pay what they owe. The receiving parent will inevitably be concerned as to how this situation can be rectified. Legal assistance from a law firm that specializes in family law is immensely valuable in these cases.

When seeking those payments, it is wise to understand what the Child Support Services Division (CSSD) can do to collect past due child support. While these actions might be perceived as punishment for the obligor, it is really a series of strategies to get him or her to pay what is owed and, if they do not, to ensure the child is adequately cared for.

Child custody and visitation rights and court considerations

It is unfortunate when a South Carolina marriage ends in divorce. However, it is not uncommon as people who might have made a mistake when they married, grew apart or had other issues that necessitate the end of the marriage move on. If there are children, it adds a significant layer of concerns to the process. The child will take precedence and, in a best-case scenario, the parents will understand that and take it into account as child custody and visitation rights are determined. Understanding what factors the court will consider when making sure the child is safe and adequately cared for is a vital part of the process.

When the court decides on custody, it will do so with the presumption that there was a primary caregiver and that parent should be granted physical custody. If, for example, a mother was a stay-at-home parent, she will likely be given custody with the father visitation rights - barring any problems such as abuse. The child might have a say in the case provided he or she is deemed to be of sufficient age and maturity to have the opinion granted weight. Parental behavior can be a factor. If a parent has a history of arrests and convictions, dangerous behaviors, drug use, abuse and more, it will obviously impact the custody and visitation.

Family law disputes might be negotiated through mediation

South Carolina couples who have a marriage dissolution dispute have, the natural inclination to go straight to court and have the matter settled that way. It is, of course, their option to do so, and, in some cases, there is no alternative. In contentious cases where the parties have dug in with little maneuverability, negotiation is not even on the table. However, for many couples, the situation has not reached that point. Sometimes the parties are even on cordial or even amicable terms. In such a case, mediation might be a preferable way to end the marriage and move on.

A legal professional experienced in family law can serve as a mediator when there are sticking points in divorce negotiations. Mediation can be cost effective and save time throughout the process. When a person sits down with a mediator, they might enter the situation with a preconceived notion as to what the other side wants. After discussing it, though, they often find there is significant common ground. This is the foundation to an agreement that can leave everyone satisfied.

How can the court achieve equity in division of assets?

Division of assets in a South Carolina divorce might take a backseat to child custody and spousal support as the process moves forward, but that does not make it any less important. There are many factors that determine how property will be distributed once a couple decides to end its marriage. One consideration that must be assessed is what authority the court can use to reach equitable apportionment. Since it is important that there be a fair split in the division of assets, legal help is often a must in these cases.

The court can order a party to provide a note, deed, bill of sale, mortgage, or any document that is required to ensure that equitable division is accomplished. When there is a failure to comply with that order, the court can have the clerk execute and deliver the requested document. This is the same as if the party who was ordered to do so had complied. The court then has the right to order the sale - public or private - of the marital property to achieve its goal.

Consider the affect of divorce on adult children

Divorce is a life-changing event that affects everyone connected to the divorcing parties. For some reason, parents of adult children tend to think their children will fare better than younger children will, but this is not the case.

parental divorce will still be very impactful for adults. By considering a few things ahead of time, parents can prepare their adult children and help them through the process.

Grounds for divorce may be expanding

South Carolina couples who are considering divorce are oftentimes immersed in the emotional, financial, and personal concerns that are some of the hallmarks of marriage dissolution. They might not think about the various state laws that regulate the process and the necessary legal factors that must be considered. Recently, another issue has come into focus, as there is legislation that, if passed, will result in an expansion of the legal justifications the courts will accept for a divorce.

The proposed law has already been approved by a subcommittee in the South Carolina House of Representatives. As the law currently stands, the grounds for a divorce in the state include physical cruelty, habitual drunkenness or narcotics use, desertion, adultery, and the couple being separated continuously for a full year. The new law adds willful mistreatment that destroys the happiness, well-being and welfare of a spouse while making the marriage intolerable or unsafe. Also included is the use of illicit or illegal drugs.

When is a premarital agreement unenforceable?

For South Carolina couples who are preparing for marriage, a premarital agreement is often part of the process. This is not done with the expectation that the marriage will fail and the couple will divorce, but is so one or both parties are protected from losing various assets and properties. There are circumstances when there is a premarital agreement, but that agreement is unenforceable because a legal violation took place. With these complicated legal circumstances, it is imperative to have a qualified lawyer assess the case.

It is unfortunate that many marriages end in divorce. It is also unfortunate that people who agreed to a premarital agreement - also referred to as a prenuptial agreement - will believe that the document was unfair and want it invalidated. Understanding when it is possible to deem the document unenforceable is crucial for both sides.

Handling a grey divorce and its consequences in South Carolina

In South Carolina and across the nation, divorce and the issues that precede it are often the same regardless of a person's age and financial situation. People will have different concerns as they end a marriage and move forward with a new life. When it is a so-called "grey divorce," older people will have considerations that will not be an issue for younger people, but are critical for them. Having legal assistance from a firm that understands these issues is imperative from the beginning.

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of older people who are getting a divorce. In general, the term grey divorce is a descriptive term for people who have been married for an extended period and are parting ways after they have "turned grey." Statistically, there has been a rise in the rate of people 50 and older who are divorcing. Common issues in a grey divorce include finances, growing apart, adultery, longer lifespans, and addiction.

Does South Carolina divorce law require a reconciliation attempt?

Divorce is an unfortunate reality for many South Carolina couples. When the decision is made to part ways and end a marriage, the state wants to ensure that the choice is final and there is no prospect of salvaging the marriage. To do that, there are laws in place that necessitate couples attempt to reconcile before they can move forward with a divorce. Although that is frequently unsuccessful, there are cases where the parties decide to give it another try. Understanding how this impacts a divorce for civilian couples and those with a spouse in the military who is deployed is integral to a case.

For a reconciliation attempt, the case will be referred to a person who will bring the parties to court and earnestly try to foster a reconciliation. This person is a master or special referee. This is required in all cases apart from a default case. There cannot be a judgment of divorce unless this master or special referee issues a report certifying that the efforts did not achieve anything. After that, the parties are legally able to pursue their case to divorce and move forward.

Make Your Appointment With Skilled Counsel

Call our office in Mount Pleasant at 843-352-4530 to make your appointment with one of our South Carolina divorce lawyers. We serve clients throughout the coastal South Carolina communities including Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Daniel Island, Pawleys Island, Georgetown, and Hilton Head. You may email us if that is easier for you.

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EGJ Family Law

1051 Chuck Dawley Boulevard
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

Phone: 843-352-4530
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