Is a Fault-Based Divorce Better Than a No-Fault One?
When discussing the grounds for a divorce, you are usually talking about breaking up a marriage due to fault. In South Carolina, basing a divorce on fault is one of two ways to formally end a marriage. The other is a no-fault divorce where neither party needs to prove fault. Let’s look at the pros and cons of the divorce types.
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What Is No-Fault Divorce?
A No-Fault dissolution of marriage avoids having a spouse blame the other for the dissolution of their marriage. This avoids the animosity that divorce brings. In South Carolina, marriage is considered to have irreconcilable differences that make it impossible to maintain. If one party in marriage claims irreconcilable differences, the other party cannot object. If an objection was voiced, it would be considered proof of irreconcilable differences.
In order to meet the requirements of no-fault divorce in South Carolina, the parties to the marriage must live apart for one year before the divorce can be granted. This means that the couple maintains separate homes. The court will not accept that the parties lived in the same house but had separate quarters.
What Is a Fault-Based Divorce?
In this situation, one party must prove that the other party engaged in activity that caused the marriage to become untenable and led to the marriage’s failure. In South Carolina, there are four reasons for a fault-based divorce:
- Habitual use of drugs or alcohol
- Physical violence (cruelty)
- Desertion (this is generally not used in South Carolina)
In a fault-based divorce, the spouses do not need to live in different households for 12 months. Once the divorce petition is made and assuming proof of fault is confirmed, the couple can be divorced within a 90-day period. Sometimes, proving fault against another spouse can lead to a bigger asset division for the person who is not at fault.
What Is Meant By Filing for a Divorce?
The divorce action begins when one spouse files a Summons and Complaint. This provides the grounds on which the divorce is based and may include the way the filer would like to see the couple’s assets divided. If young children are involved, custody and visitation might also be included among other aspects of the parent-child relationship moving forward. After filing, the other spouse will be served with a copy (certified) of the Summons and Complaint.
Pros and Cons of a No-Fault Divorce
The assets a spouse can receive in a fault-based divorce are greater than those in a no-fault divorce. This is important if the spouse has not worked outside of the home. Proving wrongdoing sometimes makes it possible to feel vindicated in a divorce. A no-fault divorce is usually unilateral, meaning that not both spouses need to agree that the marriage is beyond repair. However, the lack of recriminations in a no-fault divorce can make the process more amicable. The bottom line is that no-fault divorce is quicker and without the complexity of a fault-based one. This sometimes helps lessen the emotional turmoil often seen in a fault-based divorce.
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Reach out to the divorce lawyers at the Jeff Morris Law Firm if your marriage is about to end. We will offer you experience and a skill set rarely seen in a single firm. You can call us at (843) 232-0944 to set up a meeting, which is free and holds no obligation for you. Contact us online if it is easier. Get More Get Morris!