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Types of Divorce Filings and How to Choose Between Them

Husband And Wife Signing Divorce Paper
Divorce laws vary from state to state. When someone chooses to file for divorce, where the couple got married does not matter. The only laws that apply are the ones in effect where the couple currently lives. Married partners that live in South Carolina and want to divorce need to know what to expect when they prepare to file.

When to Choose a No-Fault Divorce

Every state in the United States allows a no-fault divorce. The law enables people who want to separate amicably to do so. How the process works depends on where people file. In South Carolina, any couple that chooses the no-fault option must live apart for a year before the court will grant the divorce.

The no-fault option is useful for couples that experienced a marriage without any serious problems but were just not happy together. It is also beneficial for people who want to be apart but do not want to have to share their personal information about misbehavior or failings in a public forum like a courtroom.

Money is also a common reason for a no-fault decision. This type of divorce can save people legal fees because it is faster than a complicated divorce. The savings in time and money only apply if both members of the couple also agree on how to divide the property fairly and co-parent their children.

What to Know About Contested Divorce

The choice of at-fault or no-fault divorce is not the only factor in how smoothly the process progresses. If the couple cannot agree on how to split their property or child-rearing duties, they will have to file a contested divorce. The action means that the couple needs the court's help to decide how to compromise on contentious issues.

Contested divorces do not have to be angry, bitter battles. In many cases, people will come to a mutually beneficial agreement. It is always important to have some legal guidance during a contested divorce to prevent any future regrets. 

When At-Fault Divorce Is More Useful

The couple may not be able to use the no-fault method if, during the process of the divorce, a spouse claims the other was guilty of an action that led to the division. Someone may choose to do this if they decide to seek primary or sole custody of the children. To affect custody decisions, the mistakes made by the ex-partner must show them to be unfit as a parent. 

Alimony disagreements may also cause people to forgo no-fault options. Certain misconduct by a spouse justifies a judge to allow the other spouse to receive alimony. The same behavior can also prevent someone from receiving the support if they were the one at fault. For example, South Carolina law does not allow adulterers to receive alimony.

What South Carolina Considers At-Fault Divorce Behaviors

The state of South Carolina considers four basic types of misbehavior to be grounds for a divorce. The list includes adultery, physical abuse, addiction to drugs or alcohol, and desertion. Adultery does affect alimony awards, but it does not have any bearing on child custody cases. The other behaviors can influence how the judge decides on alimony or child custody.

To successfully claim that someone is the cause of a divorce does require proof of the behavior. An attorney will explain what type of proof is the most useful for each claim. Consult with an attorney before you file any paperwork to make certain that you have what you need to prove your case.

William C. Hood, Attorney At Law, specializes in family law and the types of legal issues that affect families. Representation by a lawyer does not have to mean a divorce will become aggressive. In most cases, the legal guidance prevents conflict and helps each person to feel more secure in their decisions. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.