When your marriage is in trouble, we are here for you.
When your marriage is in trouble, we are here for you.
If you have decided to seek a divorce in South Carolina, you should know that a potentially complicated, confusing and stressful process lies ahead – especially if you and your soon-to-be former spouse are the parents of minor children.
You owe it yourself to get help from an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who will calmly and professionally take you through this process while making sure your rights and interests – and those of your children – are fully protected.
Look no further than Jebaily Law Firm, P.A. For more than four decades, we have helped clients in Florence and surrounding areas to work through divorce and many other family law issues. We can meet with you today to discuss your situation.
Deciding to go through with a divorce is one of the most difficult things you will do in life. Once you make that decision, you should take the following steps:
If you have questions about these or any other steps that you should take while preparing for a divorce, feel free to talk with your lawyer. At Jebaily Law Firm, we will always be available to answer your questions.
You can meet with a Jebaily Law Firm attorney at our Florence office or any location that is convenient for you. Anything you discuss with us is strictly confidential. When you work with our firm, you can count on our lawyers to:
At every stage of your divorce, you can trust Jebaily Law Firm to provide the caring, attentive and professional legal help that you deserve.
A question you may have as you go through a divorce in Florence or elsewhere in South Carolina is whether you need to first seek a “legal separation.” The short answer is, “No.”
South Carolina law does not recognize a “legal separation.” Also, you do not need a court order in order to live physically separate and apart from your spouse.
However, in some situations, it may be advisable to file for an Order of Separate Maintenance and Support. This may be in the form of a temporary court order. In some instances, it can be a final order of the Court. In either circumstance, an Order of Separate Maintenance and Support is not a divorce. It can address issues such as:
It may be possible to reach an agreement with your spouse on these and other issues. We can help you to seek such an agreement and present it to the Family Court judge for approval.
Each divorce involves unique facts and issues. However, every divorce in South Carolina will need to go through three basic stages. A family law attorney from our firm can help you to work through these stages:
Residency – To be eligible to obtain a divorce in South Carolina, you will need to determine whether you meet the state’s residency requirements. In other words:
Grounds for divorce – You must also establish the grounds for your divorce. South Carolina recognizes five grounds. They fall into two categories:
Filing for a divorce – If you meet the residency requirements and establish the grounds for a divorce, you should go forward with filing a divorce complaint, summons and other forms in the proper Family Court. The proper court would be located in the county where:
After you file for a divorce, your spouse will have 30 days to file an answer and/or a counterclaim. You may request a Temporary Hearing at the time you file your pleadings. Any order issued as a result of this hearing is temporary. If you have minor children the court may appoint a Guardian ad Litem to represent the interests of your children. You can then expect to go through discovery or the official exchange of information by both sides.
At some point, you will go through mediation. The goal will be to reach a separation agreement and/or parenting plan with your spouse. These agreements must receive court approval. If no agreement is reached, your case will go to a hearing. A Family Court judge will decide those issues for you. Generally speaking, it is preferable to reach an agreement instead.
If you requested to return to the use of your maiden name, you may do so once your divorce decree is entered by the Court. You may also remarry at this time if you so desire. This is also a good time to change your will and life insurance beneficiaries if the Court has not ruled on that issue. Our firm can walk you through those post-divorce steps.
The purpose of spousal support, or alimony, is to allow you to maintain the standard of living that you enjoyed while married. South Carolina recognizes four types of alimony awards:
Your lawyer from Jebaily Law Firm can help you to pursue an alimony award that best meets your needs. We can also assist you in challenging your spouse’s demand for alimony.
In most cases, spousal support can be resolved in a separation agreement which is then presented to the court. If a case goes to a hearing, a Family Court judge will look at many factors such as the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s age, and the earnings and needs of each spouse in order to determine whether alimony is awarded and the amount.
Note: If a judge finds there is clear and convincing evidence that adultery is a ground for the divorce, the offending spouse will be barred from receiving alimony in South Carolina.
In South Carolina, “marital property” is subject to division when a couple divorces. Generally speaking, this means any property which either spouse acquired between the date of marriage and the date of separation. The property must be divided fairly. That does not mean that it will be divided equally.
The process involves three basic steps:
Once a property agreement is reached or an equitable distribution order is entered by the court, it cannot be modified. This is why it is important to work with an attorney who will carefully evaluate the property that is at stake in your divorce and work aggressively to protect your property interests.
As a parent who is going through a divorce, the most important thing to you will be determining the custody and support of your children. Jebaily Law Firm will seek an outcome that protects your future and the future of your children.
Keep in mind, two types of custody will be at issue:
Your lawyer from Jebaily Law Firm will pay close attention to your objectives. For instance, you may wish to have sole physical custody of your children and to have joint legal custody with the other parent. Or, you may simply wish to retain visitation rights with your children.
We will work through mediation to reach your objectives and arrive at a parenting plan that is agreeable to both parents and the children. However, any parenting plan must receive Family Court approval. The judge’s decision will be based on the best interest of the children.
If a parenting plan cannot be reached, we will advocate for you and your children in a hearing, presenting evidence that demonstrates the best interest of your children. For example, we may show the court that allowing you to have sole physical custody of your children would allow them to maintain their education, religion and close relationships with friends and other family.
If there is a substantial change in circumstances that could impact your children’s best interests – for example, the parent with physical custody plans to move out of state – we can help you to seek a modification of a parenting plan.
Typically, the parent who does not have physical custody of the children will need to provide financial support. We can help you to reach an agreement with the other parent or to seek court-ordered child support by relying on the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines.
Additionally, Jebaily Law Firm can assist you in seeking enforcement of child support obligations or with requesting the modification of an existing obligation.
Going through an adoption proceeding can be a challenging but ultimately satisfying experience. Jebaily Law Firm can guide you through each stage and handle all paperwork that will be necessary to reach your goal of bringing a child (or children) into your family.
Our family law attorneys can assist in a wide range of adoptions, including:
In addition to ensuring that all paperwork is properly handled, our lawyers can help you to prepare for a “home study,” which will play a key role in whether your adoption is achieved. The home study can include an observation of your home environment and involve numerous interviews with you and the other prospective parent.
If you are faced with an issue that can forever change the lives of both you and your family members, you might find it helpful to speak with an attorney for all your family law questions in South Carolina. For informational purposes only, the following are a few routine questions often asked to our attorneys handling family law cases.
The courts generally recognize four fault-based grounds for divorce, which are desertion, physical cruelty, adultery, and habitual drug and/or alcohol abuse. Additionally, there is one ground that is not based on a person’s fault, and that is commonly known as “Living Separate and Apart for One Year without Cohabitation.” Any family law attorney can tell you that in order for an individual to get a divorce, he or she must prove at least one of the above-mentioned grounds with legally-adequate evidence.
In the state of South Carolina, the Family Court handles divorce actions. Each county has its own Family Court, and divorce actions are tried in the county where the defendant lives at the start of the action or the county in which the parties last lived together. You should note that if the defendant is not a resident of South Carolina, then the action can be heard in the county where the plaintiff lives.
While many lawyers have a specific fee for an uncontested divorce, the fee for most divorces depends on the amount of time a lawyer and staff must spend working on the case. This will depend on whether the case is contested and whether there are issues of custody, support and property division. In certain cases, the court can order one spouse to pay all or part of the other spouse’s legal fees and related expenses. Your attorney will discuss the fees with you during the initial meeting.
Of primary concern to the court is what’s in the best interest of the child or children involved; however, there are a number of additional factors that the court might take into consideration when granting custody, some of which are the following: issues of domestic violence; religious beliefs; who has been the child’s main caregiver; the preferences of the child (where appropriate); the parents’ fitness, character and attitude; any agreements made by the parties (if there are any), and much more. It is recommended that you speak with a family law attorney who is knowledgeable in the intricate details that are often involved with family law.
As you can see, working with an experienced family law attorney from Jebaily Law Firm can provide many benefits as you go through the process of ending your marriage and moving on to the next chapter in your life.
If you are preparing to go through a divorce or need assistance with other family law issues in Florence or surrounding areas in South Carolina, please contact us today to arrange for a confidential consultation.
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