Divorce is the process of formally ending your marriage. Until you go through the steps of divorce, you and your spouse are considered husband and wife even if you live separately. During the divorce, you will need to make important decisions about your future such as how custody of your kids will be divided; whether any support will be paid; and how assets and debts will be divided.
You need to know what is involved with the South Carolina divorce process so you can be prepared to take the necessary steps to end your marriage. An experienced Charleston divorce attorney at Kuhn & Kuhn, LLC can assist you throughout every step of getting divorced in South Carolina. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more.
Understanding the South Carolina Divorce Process
The South Carolina divorce process begins when one of the two spouses files for divorce. The other spouse will receive a summons and complaint and has 30 days to file a formal written response called an answer. The other spouse may also make a counterclaim.
After the papers have been filed, the couple may be ordered by the court to undergo mediation. The goal of mediation is for the spouses to work together collaboratively to try to decide on issues like custody of the children. Parents need to complete a parenting plan, either together or independently, which the judge will then consider when making a decision on how custody should be divided. In some cases, the parents will also be ordered to attend a parenting class specifically designed for those going through a divorce.
If the spouses are able to come to an agreement on the relevant issues in divorce, an abbreviated hearing can be held to dissolve the marriage. This is the best case scenario because the people who are divorcing know their own situation better than any judge. If the spouses can compromise, they can divide up custody and property in a way that makes everyone the happiest. The process is less acrimonious than litigation, so is less stressful for both the couple as well as for any children who are involved. Negotiating a divorce settlement can also be much less costly than having a judge make a decision on all of the issues in your divorce.
If the spouses are unable to come to an agreement on any issues, then each side will need to present evidence and arguments at a trial before a family court judge. The judge will make a decision on the disputed issues. A standard child support formula is used to determine child support, and the best interests of the child standard is used to determine custody. Equitable distribution rules are used to divide up property in South Carolina, which means that property is divided in a fair (but not always equal) way.
Both the husband and wife involved in the South Carolina divorce process should have an experienced attorney representing them throughout each step. Kuhn & Kuhn, LLC can advise you and help protect your rights during both a divorce settlement negotiation and a litigated divorce. Call today to learn more.