The typical divorce process begins when the party seeking the divorce files legal papers formally with the courts. These legal documents are typically called a “complaint”. The Complaint states to the courts that they would like to initiate the divorce process.
The other party, who will become the Defendant, will then be served a summons and complaint. This notifies the party that the Plaintiff has begun the divorce process. The Defendant will then have approximately 30 days after they are served to send a formal, written answer to the courts. They can also request relief, otherwise known as a counterclaim.
After this process has begun, the Courts of South Carolina may request that both parties attend a mediation session. South Carolina has delineated that certain counties within the state are mandatory mediation counties. Mediation is when both parties meet, in the same or separate rooms, to attempt to resolve any issues between them. If both parties are amicable, this will save time in the divorce process. During mediation, the first typical issues to resolve would be custody and visitation. If there are no children in the marriage, then mediation may be used to discuss property and support requests.
If, after mediation, both parties are satisfied with the agreements, then the court can hold an abbreviated hearing. However, if mediation does not solve any issues and they do not come to any form of agreement, then the process will continue to the court. There would be a formal divorce trial in which both parties can show a judge and the court why they should be granted what they are looking for in the divorce. Only a judge can decide what relief should be given.
Throughout the entire divorce process, Harden Law will protect your best interests. Let us advise you on how to proceed should agreements not be achieved through mediation or other forms of communication. We can provide both practical and legal advice, and help guide you through the entire divorce process. Please contact us today for a Consultation.