Divorce Attorney Serving Lexington & Columbia, SC 

We understand that filing for a divorce can be difficult and at Sandra Hebert Law we strive to make the change as easy as possible. Below we have come up with some common questions we are asked by those going through or thinking about a divorce. If you have any questions about the process, please reach out to us either through email, phone call, or filling out our contact form

Do I Have To Pay Alimony In A Divorce?

Formally known as alimony, Spousal Support is not mandatory in most states, but can be ordered by a judge under certain circumstances. This is the case in South Carolina. If a spouse will face hardships without financial support, spousal support should be considered between the two parties. The deciding factor for spousal support is the need to maintain the spouse at his or her customary standard of living. In other words, the law recognizes a husband or wife should not be forced to live at a level below that enjoyed during the marriage. 

However, other factors also need to be considered. For example, spousal support should most likely not be considered if:
  • The marriage was for a short duration (less than two or three years)
  • Both spouses are employed and self-sufficient
  • This does not mean the parties cannot agree on spousal support
There is no firm dollar figure used to calculate spousal support. The amount should be decided by both parties.

What Happens If We Reconcile & Want To Cancel The Divorce?

You and your spouse can dismiss the divorce after the papers have been filed.  You must simply request a dismissal form from the county clerk anytime before a judgment has been entered. If no response has been filed, the one spouse can file the dismissal form. If a response has been filed, both spouses must sign the dismissal form.

Legal Requirements For Divorce

Under most state laws, a divorce action must be filed and decided in court. Many states have a "no-fault divorce" policy. In other words, the courts are not concerned with which spouse was guilty of marital misconduct.

The following legal requirements are necessary to file for divorce in most states:

  1. Residency: The spouse filing for divorce must have resided in the state and county for a certain period. Six months is a common state requirement, and three months is typical at the county level.
  2. Waiting Period: Most states have a mandatory waiting period from the filing to the finalization of a divorce. In other words, you cannot file and finalize a divorce on the same day. The average waiting period is 6 months but can be anywhere from 0 to 12 months. After the waiting period, the divorce is finalized and both parties are free to remarry.
  3. Legal Grounds: States generally recognize two legal grounds for divorce: (1.) irreconcilable differences and (2.) separation. Irreconcilable differences simply means there are marital difficulties that cannot be reconciled and have led to the permanent breakdown of the marriage.
  4. Jurisdictional Requirement: An action for divorce must be filed with the proper court. The appropriate court is typically in the county where either the wife or husband has resided for at least 3-6 months prior to filing for divorce.

Who Receives Custody Of The Children In A Divorce & How Is Child Support Determined?

The parents must decide on the custody of any minor children. Custody is divided into physical custody (where will the children live) and legal custody (who will make important decisions regarding the children's health, education, etc.). Both physical and legal custody can be either joint or sole. Even if one parent will have sole physical custody, the other parent still has visitation rights, if requested. 

Child Support is determined on each parent's income and the amount of time he or she spends with the children. Many states laws contain guidelines that also provide for add-on amounts for:
  • Child Care
  • Health care and health insurance
  • Special educational or other needs
  • Travel-related visitation

Keep in mind that the judges presiding over divorce hearings are the ultimate authority on child support decisions. Therefore, they can deviate from the guidelines as they see fit. 

How Long Does It Take For A Divorce To Be Finalized?

On average there is a zero to six month waiting period after the initial divorce petition is filed and served on the other spouse before a divorce can become final. The judge presiding over the divorce may make a final ruling or judgement on the divorce prior to that date, and this order will become effective immediately. Even though the judge may decide prior to the end of the waiting period, the spouses may not re-marry and the marriage will not be dissolved until the waiting period is completely over. If a divorce cannot be resolved agreeably and requires litigation or a trial, it could take longer than six months to finalize.
Are you ready to start the divorce process? Click here to contact us and get started today. We promise to work with you every step of the way to make this time in your life an easier one.
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