In South Carolina, one has to have grounds for divorce. There are 5 grounds for divorce in this state:

  1. Adultery – a sexual relationship outside the marriage;
  2. Habitual Drunkenness – the excessive use of alcohol or drugs;
  3. Abandonment – when a spouse leaves the home for more than a year without consent or a good reason;
  4. Physical Cruelty – when a spouse abuses you physically during the marriage causing you physical harm;
  5. One Year of Separation – proving that you and your spouse have lived apart without interruption for one year (this is the most commonly used ground for a divorce in South Carolina).

To file a divorce action in South Carolina, you must satisfy one of three possibilities for residence. The person that files the action (the plaintiff) should have lived in South Carolina for a year; or if the plaintiff does not live here, the spouse must have lived here for a year; or, if the two parties have lived in South Carolina for three months, they may file an action for divorce here. In an action for divorce, the court may consider custody, visitation, child support, division of property and debts, alimony, orders of protection, guardian ad litem costs (if there is a guardian ad litem), wife’s change of name, and costs of the attorneys and the court.

A divorce case can last anywhere from 30 days to years. It all depends in the grounds for the divorce, the facts of the case, and scheduling of the case. Under the law, the fastest one may receive a divorce based on a year of separation is 30 days. Under the other grounds, the fastest is 90 days. At South Carolina Legal Services, we only accept divorce cases on the grounds of Physical Cruelty. We have a brochure available with more information about divorces in South Carolina. If you think that South Carolina Legal Services could help, call our intake line at 1-888-346-5592 to see if we can assist you.