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Mount Pleasant South Carolina Family Legal Blog

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.

De facto custodians, child custody and visitation rights

In South Carolina, child custody and visitation rights are not always a matter of dispute between parents. Often, others have a relationship with a child and want to at least see the child or have outright custody. These situations can be complicated and difficult to navigate. One that comes up frequently is if there is a de facto custodian. Understanding how the law views a de facto custodian is essential for the parents and anyone else involved in the child's life.

The de facto custodial is someone who, with evidentiary proof, provided financial support and was the main caregiver of the child and the child: was under 3-years-old while living with him or her for at least six months; or was older than three living and lived with him or her for at least one year. The amount of time will not be considered if a parent is seeking to regain custody from the de facto custodian.

Key points to South Carolina child custody and visitation rights

Child custody is one of the most difficult issues in any South Carolina divorce. This is true personally and emotionally. Often, both parties will want to have custody of a child and the state has laws in place that are designed to consider child custody and visitation rights for the parents as well as what is in the child's best interests. As the process begins, the parents should be cognizant of the law and act accordingly while simultaneously factoring in how every decision might impact the child. Having legal advice is a critical factor in these cases.

When determining child custody and visitation, the judge will assess the child's needs; how the child is adjusting to the new situation with a focus on how far one parent's residence is compared to where the child's primary residence is; if the parents can meet the child's needs and have an active role in his or her life; what the parents' custodial desires are; the relationships between the parent and child as well as others in the child's life; the health of all parties; if there is negative behavior on the part of the parents when it comes to the other parent; if there is abuse; and other factors that the court believes are important.

A family law firm can help with division of assets

South Carolina couples that seek to end a marriage will have many issues to deal with as part of the process. A priority will be children from the marriage. Support will have a prominent place in a case too. Once these issues have been factored in, property division and the division of assets will come to the forefront. This might not seem to be the most important aspect of the case especially when placed in the context of children, but failing to pay proper attention to how assets are divided is a mistake that many make and regret. When moving forward with a divorce, the division of assets should be a prominent consideration.

The court's main objective with a division of assets is to achieve some level of fairness for both parties. That does not automatically mean that there will be a split down the middle and each side will get half. Fair and equitable is not the same thing as equal. Not realizing there is a difference is a problem for many people embroiled in a divorce case. There are many factors that will be part of the process. Knowing these is critical from the beginning.

Deployed parents, temporary child custody and visitation rights

When there is a disagreement over child custody and visitation rights in South Carolina, the parents or anyone else who is interested in the child's care and well-being should understand how a custody order is handled under the law. One aspect of child custody that is of concern to many people living in the state is what happens if a parent is a member of the Armed Forces and is deployed. With this, it is important to understand the content of a temporary custody order.

A temporary order for custody based on a parent's deployment must state that it is temporary. It must also specify the destination, duration and what conditions are applicable for the parent's deployment.

Should you show pre-divorce vacation photos on Facebook?

Because you were experiencing so much stress over your upcoming divorce, your parents urged you to spend some time relaxing in their vacation home. That home just happens to be in Bermuda—on the beach. You snapped a few beautiful photos, but should you post them on Facebook?

What your spouse posted

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
Fax: 843-881-0317
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