The Laws about Divorce in South Carolina
Grounds for Divorce in South Carolina
To prove grounds of adultery it must be shown
that a spouse had sexual intercourse outside the marriage. The
time(s) and place(s) must be specific, and the conduct may be
inferred from circumstances. (i.e. Testimony and documentation that
a spouse spent the night in a motel room with a person other than
To prove grounds of physical cruelty it must be
shown that actual personal violence occurred or such a course of
physical treatment that endangers life, limb, or health, and renders
living together unsafe. A single act of physical cruelty does not
ordinarily constitute grounds for divorce, unless it is so severe
and atrocious as to endanger life, or unless the act indicates an
intention to do serious bodily harm or causes reasonable
apprehension of serious danger in the future.
To prove grounds for habitual drunkenness it
must be shown that a spouse has a fixed habit of frequently becoming
intoxicated, but does not necessarily imply continual drunkenness.
Habitual drunkenness must exist at or near the time the lawsuit is
filed. This ground for divorce also includes habitual drug use.
To prove ground of desertion, it must be shown
The spouses have stopped living together
Intent on the part of the party leaving not to resume living
Absence of the opposite party's consent.
Absence of justification.
These elements must exist for the period of one (1) year.
Constructive Desertion exists where the misconduct of one spouse
compels the other spouse to leave.
One Year Separation (No Fault):
To prove this ground it must be shown only that
the spouses have not lived together for a minimum of one (1) year.
Consent, or lack of it, to live separately is not relevant for this
ground. This is South Carolina's closest ground to a "no fault"
South Carolina is an "equitable distribution"
state. All other property acquired during the marriage is subject to
division, based the following factors:
The duration of the marriage;
The age of the spouses;
Any marital misconduct;
Any economic misconduct;
The value of the marital property;
The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of each spouse as homemaker;
The income of each spouse;
The earning potential of each spouse and the opportunity for the future acquisition of capital assets;
The physical and emotional health of each spouse;
The needs of each spouse for additional training or education in order to achieve their earning potential;
The non-marital property of each spouse;
Any retirement benefits;
Whether alimony has been awarded;
The desirability of awarding the family home to the spouse having custody of any children;
The tax consequences;
Any other support obligations of either spouse;
Any marital debts of the spouses;
Any child custody arrangements; and
Any other relevant factors.
[Code of Laws of South Carolina; Chapter 3, Sections 20-7-472 and 20-7-473].
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