Family Law FAQ
Proudly Serving South Carolina
Frequently Asked Divorce Questions
Whether you are considering dissolving your marriage or if you have already filed your complaint for divorce with the court, you may have many questions. The Farley Law Firm, LLC can give you the answers you need. Divorce is a major step in your life, and you deserve to have a Lexington, SC divorce attorney by your side, advising you of your rights and looking out for your best interests. I have served as a past President of the Lexington County Bar Association and am admitted to practice in every court in the state. Call me or visit my firm today to receive answers to all your questions.
Commonly Asked Family Law Related Questions
What are the grounds for divorce?
Under Section 20-3-10 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, there are four fault-based grounds for divorce, including adultery, desertion for at least a year, physical cruelty and habitual drunkenness or drug use. You can also file on no-fault grounds provided that you and your spouse have lived separate and apart for a full year. Meeting with a professional is important to fully establish if there are in fact terms for divorce and what expectations you should have in the divorce process.
Can I change the terms of my divorce settlement in the future?
It is possible to petition for modifications to court orders following a divorce, but your request will only be granted when there is clear evidence of its necessity. It is best to safeguard against an unfavorable settlement in the first place by retaining an experienced attorney to represent you. A modification can be sought for child support or alimony but the party must show that changed circumstances warrant a modification. This may be a change in job status, unexpected health care concerns or other factors that may make it reasonable to either lower or raise payments. Others may seek more child support or visitation time or a change in custody over their minor children which also requires a showing of a change in circumstances.
How is child custody decided?
The law in our state provides that the judge should issue custody orders according to the circumstances of the parents, the nature of the divorce and the “best interests of the child/children” Custody may be given to a mother or father, or the two may share custody of the child, though this sharing is not always a 50/50 split.
How does the court decide on spousal support?
Also known as alimony, spousal support can be a highly debated topic and a heated issue amongst couples that have differing views over who should be paying support and who deserves support. The court will assess a number of factors when making a decision and will inquire more into the financial situation of both parties. They will be looking to determine if one of them truly is considered a “dependent” and has become reliant on their spouse for financial means.
This may be for a temporary period of time, until they are able to finish school or find a job, or can be given on a more long term basis. This can be awarded on top of a payment for child support. The length of the marriage will be greatly considered and marriages of a shorter duration will often not have support, or maintenance given permanently. Another main consideration is the earning ability of the spouse seeking alimony. They may not have skills to be competitive or may not be of sound enough mind to secure and carryout a job.
How will property be divided in a divorce?
Each state carries out their own stance on property division and how they believe it should be done. The state of South Carolina hold to equitable distribution of assets which means that they divide it based on what the court believes is fair. This often means that one spouse will receive significantly more property than the other and it is dependent on a number of factors including each party’s contribution to the marriage, the length of the marriage, earning potential and more.
What is the use of paternity?
During a case paternity may be something that is important to establish. Having children involved in a legal matter can make it more challenging and increase the importance of finding a solution that is in the best interest of you and your children. Paternity can establish who the biological parents are. This can be incredibly valuable on both sides of the spectrum. A father looking to establish paternity may want to have access to his children and by proving they are his, he can gain legal rights. A mother may wish to establish paternity so that she is not left shouldering the responsibility and the father will have to share in providing for the children and taking care of them. Once it has been proven to the court, they may choose to award child support.
Does my spouse have to agree with me in order to get a divorce?
While it can be easier if they do, your spouse does not need to agree that they want a divorce in order for you to obtain one. As long as the grounds for divorce are met then the court can review the case and determine if they find that there is valid reason for them to allow it. Many times a couple is unable to agree on the terms of the divorce or if they want a divorce at all? Your spouse having a difference of opinion does not have to set you back if you are looking to end the relationship legally. There are many benefits that can be gained through a divorce. If your spouse is going to fight you about it, it is even more crucial to work with skilled representation that can help you avoid an outcome that doesn’t work for you.
Do we both need separate representation?
There are a lot of couples that do end up needing their own representation when they cannot come to an agreement and either party does not want to miss out on what they believe they deserve. There are many couples though, that can agree they want a divorce and that they will work together to come to a solution that they both can be happy with. During mediation a couple can work with the same attorney to bring the marriage to an end. This is valuable for those that do not have major disagreements and do not need to fight the case out in court. It can allow both of them to have their say in the situation, through more peaceful, quicker and less expensive means.