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South Carolina Divorce Self-Help Center

Many customer South Carolina divorce questions are answered here.  Browse from the topics below or use the search box to narrow your search.
 
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General Information State Procedures   Custody, Visitation, Support
  Property and Debts   Special Circumstances Additional Resources
STATE PROCEDURES
How long does it usually take to finalize a divorce in South Carolina? 2402
Getting a divorce in South Carolina can take as little as a few weeks. In South Carolina, if Husband and Wife have lived separate and apart without sexual relations for a period of one year, the divorce is not subject to the 90 day waiting period between the time the Complaint for Divorce is filed and the Decree of Divorce is granted. Instead, the hearing may be held shortly after the divorce documents are filed with the County Clerk's Office.

S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-80
What are the grounds for filing for divorce in South Carolina? 2396
The no-fault ground for divorce in South Carolina requires that the parties have lived separate and apart without cohabitation for a period of one year.
Do we have to be separated to get a divorce in South Carolina? 2404
If you are filing for divorce on the basis of One Year Continuous Separation, the husband and wife must have lived separate and apart without sexual relations for a period of one (1) year before filing for divorce.

S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-10
How much is the filing fee in South Carolina? 2400
The DivorceWriter price does NOT include the filing fee charged by the County Clerk when you file for divorce. The fee for filing for divorce in South Carolina is $150.00.
Will either of us be required to attend a court hearing? 2391
In South Carolina, both spouses must attend the final divorce hearing.

The Plaintiff is required to bring a witness with him/her to the hearing who must testify that the Plaintiff has lived "separate and apart" form his or her spouse for one year.
What is considered to be the date of separation in South Carolina? 2393
The term "separation date" refers to the date when the spouses started living separate and apart without sexual relations.
How do I serve my spouse with the divorce papers in South Carolina? 2403
1. By Personal Service:
  • Personally deliver the Family Court Cover Sheet, Certificate of Exemption, Summons, Complaint for Divorce, and Financial Declaration to your spouse.
  • Then he/she fills out the Acceptance of Service form.
  • Take the completed and signed Acceptance of Service form and file it with the Clerk of Court's office.

2. By U.S. Mail:
  • Send the the Family Court Cover Sheet, Certificate of Exemption, Summons, Complaint for Divorce, and Financial Declaration via Certified Mail, Restricted Delivery, Return Receipt Requested.
  • When the green return receipt comes back in the mail, be sure your spouse signed the card. Note: if someone other than your spouse signed the card, re-send the documents again by certified mail, as your spouse must be the one to sign the green card.
  • If you receive the green card (signed by your spouse), record the docket number on the top of the green card and make a copy of the green card for your file.
  • Complete and sign the Affidavit of Mailing in the presence of a Notary Public.
  • Attach the green card to the notarized Affidavit of Mailing and take it to the Clerk of Court's office for filing.

  • Note: if you do not get a green card back, you may have to call your local Sheriff's office to serve the papers on your spouse.

3. Service by the Sheriff's Office:
  • Contact the Sheriff's office in the county where the Defendant lives or works to serve the papers.
  • When the Sheriff serves the papers, ask the office to complete the bottom of half of the Affidavit of Service form in front of a notary public, have the form notarized, and return the form to you.
  • File the notarized Affidavit of Service with the Clerk of Court.
What are the basic steps to getting a divorce in South Carolina? 2399
1) File a Complaint for Divorce.
2) Serve your spouse and then file the Affidavit of Service.
3) Attend a hearing to finalize your divorce.
What documents are included in the self-prepared South Carolina DivorceWriter package? 2401
Your self-prepared South Carolina DivorceWriter package will include:
  • South Carolina Divorce Filing Procedures
  • Family Court Cover Sheet
  • Certificate of Exemption
  • Summons
  • Complaint for Divorce
  • Financial Declarations
  • Acceptance of Service, Affidavit of Service by Mailing
  • Answer
  • Request for Hearing
  • Property Settlement Agreement or Marital Settlement Agreement
  • Child Support Worksheets (if applicable)
  • Final Order of Divorce
  • Department of Health and Environmental Control Form
Where do I file my divorce papers in South Carolina? 2389
With the Clerk of Court in the county a) where the defendant resides at the time the divorce is filed; b) where the plaintiff resides if the defendant is a non-resident and cannot be located; or c) where the parties last resided together as husband and wife unless the plaintiff is a nonresident, in which case it must be brought in the county in which the defendant resides. Your self-prepared DivorceWriter package includes detailed procedures on filing for divorce in the county you selected, including the address and telephone number of the County Clerk.

S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-60
What are the South Carolina residency requirements for filing for divorce? 2395
The plaintiff must have resided in South Carolina at least one year prior to the filing of divorce or, if the plaintiff is a nonresident, the defendant must have resided in South Carolina for at least one year prior to the filing of the divorce.

South Carolina divorces are filed at the County Clerk's Office of the Family Court in the county where the parties last resided together as husband and wife unless the plaintiff is a nonresident, in which case it must be brought in the county in which the defendant resides. Your self-prepared DivorceWriter package includes detailed procedures on filing for divorce in the county you selected, including the address and telephone number of the County Clerk.

S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-30.
Can I change my name in South Carolina divorce proceedings? 2405
In South Carolina, either spouse may request to take back a former legal surname. The court, upon the granting of final judgment of divorce or an order of separate maintenance, may allow a party to resume a former surname or the surname of a former spouse.

S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-180
Does South Carolina require divorcing spouses and/or their child(ren) to attend a class or seminar on coping with divorce? 2407
South Carolina does not require divorcing spouses and/or their child(ren) to attend a class or seminar on coping with divorce.
I served my spouse, but he/she has not responded and no Answer has been filed. Now what? 2948
Your spouse has thirty five (35) days after he/she receives the initial divorce documents (not counting the day your spouse was served) to file an Answer. After the thirty-five (35) days have passed and you have not received the Answer:
  • Complete the Affidavit of Default for Divorce and the Request for Hearing.
  • On the Affidavit of Default for Divorce, print the month, day and year the Summons and Complaint was delivered. Check the box indicating how the forms were served.
  • Sign the Affidavit of Default for Divorce in front of a notary public.
  • Complete and sign the Request for Hearing
  • Take the Affidavit of Default for Divorce, Request for Hearing, and green card (if you served your spouse via U.S. Mail) to the Court and file them with the Clerk's office.
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CUSTODY, VISITATION, SUPPORT
How is child support calculated in South Carolina? 2390
South Carolina courts calculate child support according to the Income Shares Model by taking into account the custodial parent's income, the non-custodial parent's income, the number of children and the division of parenting time between both parents.

See South Carolina Child Support Guidelines
What if my spouse and I have agreed to use a child support amount that is different from the standard amount set by the Child Support Guidelines? 2392
DivorceWriter shows the child support calculation using the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines.

The customer chooses whether to use the guideline calculation or to deviate from that calculation by entering a different child support amount. If the amount is a deviation from the basic support obligation, the customer will explain the reasons for the deviation in the Marital Settlement Agreement. The court may grant less or more support if the evidence shows that the needs of the dependent(s) require a different level of support.
When can a child support order be modified in South Carolina? 2398
The court shall consider the following factors which may be used in determining whether a change in circumstances has occurred which would require a modification of an existing order:
1) Educational expenses for the child(ren) or the spouse
2) Equitable distribution of property
3) Consumer debts
4) Families with more than six (6) children
5) Unreimbursed extraordinary medical or dental expenses
6) Mandatory deduction of retirement pensions and union fees
7) Support obligations for other dependents living with the noncustodial parent or noncourt ordered child support from another relationship
8) Child-related unreimbursed extraordinary medical expenses
9) Monthly fixed payments imposed by a court or operation of law
10) Significant available income of the child(ren)
11) Substantial disparity of income in which the noncustodial parent's income is significantly less than the custodial parent's income
12) Alimony
13) Agreements reached between the parties where the court determines the amount is reasonable and is in the best interest of the child(ren).

S.C. Code Ann. § 63-17-470
What are the different types of custody in South Carolina? 2397
"Legal custody" refers to decision-making authority with respect to the child(ren).

"Physical custody" means the physical care and supervision of a child..

"Joint Custody" means both parents come to an agreement and share legal as well as physical custody over their children and make joint decisions.
We already have a child support order issued by a judge. Will we be able to keep the same amount? 2406
DivorceWriter provides the option to enter information regarding an existing child support order including the amount of support ordered and other identifying case information. Generally, you will also be expected to staple one copy of the prior child support order to each copy of the Martial Settlement Agreement you will file with the Family Court.
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