When it comes to divorce and separations, the lines can get blurred. There are definitions for both terms, and is important to know these legal terms. So what exactly is an Action for Separate Support and Maintenance and how is it different from divorce?
In the state of South Carolina, there are five grounds for divorce. You will need proof that at least one of these circumstances is true. You will more than likely need testimony from a third party in order to make your case. A family court judge will make the decision to grant a divorce only if they find that the couple has no way of reconciling. The five grounds are:
- Separation of the spouses for at least one year, known as the no-fault divorce
- Physical cruelty
- Addiction to habit-forming drugs or alcohol
Divorce is the last resort. If you do not have grounds for divorce but have separated from your spouse, you can apply to the court. This is for the right to live separately from your spouse for whatever reason. You can apply for an action called “Separate Support and Maintenance”, which is also a claim for spousal support through the separation.
The courts may consider issues of alimony, child support, and any child custody questions at the time too. There is also the question of equitable division of marital property, which may also be dealt with at this time. Legally, separation officially begins on the date that the spouses are no longer living together.
In the state of South Carolina, family courts will handle all these issues, including any actions resulting from an Action for Separate Support and Maintenance. This can include everything from custody, visitations, any support, and the division of property.
While divorce and separation can be overwhelming and sometimes complete chaos, having a good lawyer and support system will carry you through. Harden Law is here to help you through the entire divorce process. Knowing the terms and what you are able to apply for is great knowledge to arm yourself with. Whether you choose to just separate from your spouse or take it a step further, know your rights. In this situation, knowledge is definitely power.