What Happens in a Divorce Trial & When You Need One


Divorce is often a challenging and emotional process that can leave couples at odds with each other. Yet, through the divorce proceedings, both parties need to come to agreements on a variety of issues.

While many divorces in South Carolina can be resolved through mediation or negotiations, sometimes the only way to reach a fair resolution is through a divorce trial. 

When You Need A Divorce Trial

Divorce trials can be both costly and overwhelming; however, they become necessary if both parties:

  • Have significant disagreements
  • Have concerns about fairness
  • Need to protect their rights and interests

In each of those scenarios, the couple was unable to reach an amicable agreement through mediation. When the spouses cannot come to a resolution on key issues such as asset division, child custody, child support, or spousal support, the case will proceed to a trial.

Though a divorce trial is emotionally challenging, it also ensures a fair outcome, protects your rights, and guarantees resolutions to the issues at hand. 

What To Expect At A Divorce Trial

If you and your former spouse are unable to resolve disagreements, you will need a hearing so a judge can make the ultimate decision regarding your case. There are multiple steps to the process you should know before it begins:

1. Filing the Complaint

The divorce trial process begins when one spouse files a divorce complaint with the family court. The complaint will outline the grounds for the divorce and the resolutions needed.

2. Serving the Summons

The spouse who filed the complaint must now serve the other spouse with a copy of the summons and complaint, giving them notice of the pending divorce action.

3. The Divorce Trial

After the spouses have been unable to reach a settlement, the trial process begins. Each side presents evidence, witnesses, and arguments to support their case. Parties can bring in new pieces of evidence at this time, which includes any audio, text messages, posts on social media, or video. The judge will make decisions on the contested matters based on the presented evidence and testimonies.

4. Final Divorce Decree

Once the trial concludes, the judge issues a final divorce decree, which details the terms of the divorce, including property division, alimony, child custody, and child support. The ruling will be put into an official document, which both parties will sign. At this point, the divorce will be final.

In South Carolina, a divorce trial is a last resort when couples cannot amicably settle their differences. If you find yourself in a situation where a divorce trial becomes necessary, it is essential to seek the guidance of an experienced family law attorney to navigate the complexities of the legal system and protect your rights throughout the process. Reach out to our team of compassionate family lawyers for guidance and counsel.

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