A brief guide to understanding the divorce process, Fort Mill and Rock Hill, SC.

legal-separation-960x640In South Carolina there are specific requirements that need to be met prior to filing for divorce. Separation for a year’s time, abandonment, abuse, addition issues, and infidelity are some of the common grounds that can used for divorce in SC. Depending on the grounds, your paperwork will be handled in a unique manner. Having children and assets can also be cause for additional paperwork and filing. For people undergoing an uncontested divorce, this means one where both parties agree, then it is a lot smoother process. In most cases though, it is a wise choice to retain a good divorce lawyer in the Fort Mill or Rock Hill, SC area. Children or disputes can drastically complicate proceedings and incorrectly filed paperwork can be costly and slow the process.

When divorce has been decided upon:

The spouse requesting the divorce (plaintiff) will hire a divorce lawyer and the initial paperwork will be filled out. The paperwork will describe the reasons why the person is requesting the divorce, proposed division of assets, and a custody plan if there are children. These forms are then filed with the Clerk or Court. The county they are filed in depends on a few different factors. It can be done in the county where you last lived with your spouse, the county where the spouse is currently residing, or the county where you live if the spouse is no longer a resident in the state. If you’ve moved from South Carolina, but your spouse remained, then you will either file in the state you reside in, or the county in South Carolina where they live. There is a fee to file the paperwork that is not included with payment for preparing the paperwork by your lawyer.

Once the papers are filed:

When the papers have been filed, the other spouse (defendant) must be served. There are a variety of ways they this can be done, all of which require additional funding. You can serve them via certified mail, but you must have the return slip with theirs, and only their signature on it. When the divorce is a mutual agreement, you can both sign an Acceptance of Service form and file it with the Clerk of Court. The other options, if there is some conflict in the case, or the other spouse is reluctant, is to have the Sheriff’s office or private server complete the process. Once received there is a 30 day period in which the defendant can respond.

Once answered the case can proceed.

If there is no contest, a final hearing is set and the judge will review the paperwork, ask questions, and grant the divorce. A solid divorce lawyer from the Rock Hill or Fort Mill, SC area will be needed if the answer is returned with dispute to any portion of the paperwork. Once a decision is reached by the judge, the final bit of paperwork is signed and filed. A divorce is not complete until the papers are signed by the judge and filed.

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