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.

The goal of adding these issues is to make divorce more accessible to those affected by marital issues and reduce the time divorce can be achieved. One of the bills cosponsors says that emotional abuse should be treated similarly to physical abuse if a person wants to leave a marriage because of it. When a South Carolina divorce is fault-based, spouses can divorce within three months of the petition’s filing. This new law, if enacted, will benefit those trying to get out of a marriage quickly. The bill will move forward to the Judiciary Committee.

People want to get a divorce for many reasons. Understanding how the law applies to these reasons is an important facet of ending a marriage as quickly and efficiently as possible. If this bill becomes law, then individuals need to understand how it affects their marriage dissolution. Calling a law firm that has experience in all areas of family law and divorce can provide advice and guidance.