A divorce isn’t just the end of your marriage; it’s the start of a new beginning where you’re free to make decisions and live your life. While it might not feel like that now, at the very least, you’re not alone during this challenging time. A Myrtle Beach divorce lawyer from Morris Law Firm can advocate for you.
We can act as a liaison between you and your soon-to-be ex, so you don’t have to deal with those tough conversations by yourself. Our legal team understands the difficulties of this process, and we aim to resolve each of them. Contact us today to learn more about our legal services.
How Morris Law Firm Can Help You Through Your Divorce in Myrtle Beach
Even if your divorce is amicable, this process can quickly get confusing. For instance, who gets the family car? Who gets custody? What is alimony? To navigate these questions, you could benefit from having a lawyer on your side.
We intend to guide you through your divorce by:
- Filing your divorce petition: The divorce process begins when you file a petition. We can file this petition on your behalf, making sure that all forms are filled out completely and accurately.
- Serve divorce papers to your spouse: Once you file for divorce, your spouse will get served the official paperwork. Someone must hand the papers directly to them. That way, they can’t argue that they didn’t know about the proceedings.
- Negotiate a fair agreement: We aim to resolve any disputes with compromises. For instance, your former spouse might be OK with you having the family home if they can have the family car. You may need alimony but only for a certain period. We present your wishes in the best possible light to avoid any disputes that could prolong the process.
- Represent you in hearings: Going to court can feel overwhelming, especially if you’ve never had a legal matter before. Your lawyer will accompany you to all necessary hearings and advise you on what comes next. They can also object to unfair proceedings and ensure your voice is heard.
- Review paperwork: Before you sign anything, such as the divorce settlement agreement, we can review it. By having our team review the agreement, you can ensure that everything is written how you understand it.
- Offer reassurance. Even though it might feel as though the world is against you, you’re not the first person to go through a divorce. We aim to offer comprehensive support that alleviates your stress. This way, you can breathe easy knowing that you’re making the best decisions for your situation.
Getting divorced could change your life forever—or at least for the time being. By hiring a Myrtle Beach divorce attorney from Morris Law Firm, you can take control of your divorce. We fight for you to reach a positive outcome in your case.
Divorce Law Attorneys in Myrtle Beach
Under what grounds can I get a divorce in South Carolina?
South Carolina recognizes fault-based and no-fault grounds for divorce. There is only one no-fault divorce and to qualify, the parties had to live separate and apart without cohabitation for over one year (As a general rule, the Courts will not qualify living in another room as a separate and apart).
There are four fault-based grounds for divorce in South Carolina:
- (1) Adultery (affair);
- (2) habitual drunkenness or drug use;
- (3) physical cruelty (domestic violence); and
- (4) desertion
However, South Carolina rarely uses desertion as a fault-based ground for divorce since the parties must have lived separate and apart without cohabitation, just as in the no-fault, one year continuous separation. If a fault-based ground for divorce exists, the parties may obtain a divorce 90 days after filing and the burden of proof is met for the fault-based divorce.
Do I really need to hire an attorney for my divorce?
South Carolina does not require a party to have an attorney for a divorce. However, it is best to have an experienced divorce lawyer to help navigate you through the legal process to obtain a divorce. Your final divorce agreement/order is one of the most important documents of the process. Having an attorney with experience in drafting such agreements can save you legal fees after your divorce is complete should one of the parties not comply with the final order.
Can I get alimony in South Carolina or will I have to pay alimony to my spouse?
The following statute controls the factors a court will consider when deciding to award alimony. See S.C. Code § 20-3-130(C)(1-13).
(C) In making an award of alimony or separate maintenance and support, the court must consider and give weight in such proportion as it finds appropriate to all of the following factors:
(1) the duration of the marriage together with the ages of the parties at the time of the marriage and at the time of the divorce or separate maintenance action between the parties;
(2) the physical and emotional condition of each spouse;
(3) the educational background of each spouse, together with need of each spouse for additional training or education in order to achieve that spouse's income potential;
(4) the employment history and earning potential of each spouse;
(5) the standard of living established during the marriage;
(6) the current and reasonably anticipated earnings of both spouses;
(7) the current and reasonably anticipated expenses and needs of both spouses;
(8) the marital and nonmarital properties of the parties, including those apportioned to him or her in the divorce or separate maintenance action;
(9) custody of the children, particularly where conditions or circumstances render it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home, or where the employment must be of a limited nature;
(10) marital misconduct or fault of either or both parties, whether or not used as a basis for a divorce or separate maintenance decree if the misconduct affects or has affected the economic circumstances of the parties, or contributed to the breakup of the marriage, except that no evidence of personal conduct which may otherwise be relevant and material for the purpose of this subsection may be considered with regard to this subsection if the conduct took place subsequent to the happening of the earliest of (a) the formal signing of a written property or marital settlement agreement or (b) entry of a permanent order of separate maintenance and support or of a permanent order approving a property or marital settlement agreement between the parties;
(11) the tax consequences to each party as a result of the particular form of support awarded;
(12) the existence and extent of any support obligation from a prior marriage or for any other reason of either party; and
(13) such other factors the court considers relevant.
What happens to the marital property?
In South Carolina, the marital assets and debts will be divided under an "equitable apportionment" standard. This is much different from a "community property" state where the judge would divide your property exactly 50/50. Under the "equitable apportionment" standard, the judge will give each party what he or she thinks is fair.
What is and is not marital property and highly contested, especially in a high asset divorce. Generally, marital property will include your house, cars, retirement plans, business, and other high value assets that were acquired during the marriage. Of course, this can be altered based on prenuptial agreements and or antenuptial agreements. While deciding what is fair. The judge will listen to testimony regarding the values of the property, including business, home, investments and retirement plans. In addition to the testimony, the judge will consider the length of the marriage and any marital misconduct (adultery, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, etc.). Additionally, the judge will consider the value of the property, each spouse's contribution to the property, the income of each spouse, the income potential of each spouse, whether alimony is being awarded, child custody arrangements and any other factors the court considers necessary.
Our Divorce Attorneys in Myrtle Beach Can Help You Negotiate Assets
When you go through a divorce, you and your ex-partner must divide your assets. Our attorneys can help you to fight for the assets you want and need, including:
The Shared Home
If you and your spouse owned a house together, this could be among your biggest investments. Our team can review how much you still owe on the house and whether it’s in your best interest to keep it. If you can’t continue to pay the mortgage on your own income, we may suggest selling the property and splitting the proceeds with your ex.
If you or your spouse has a retirement plan, we can help you determine how that gets split. Our legal team can work to either protect your retirement or help you fight for part of your spouse’s retirement or pension. Depending on the circumstances of your case, we can help you reach a favorable outcome that protects your future.
Dividing personal property can quickly get, well, personal. Who gets what in these situations depends on the items themselves, along with their values and origin. For instance, if you have a priceless jewelry collection handed down by your grandparents, this would likely remain in your possession since it belonged to your family.
Yet, imagine that you and your spouse spent your marriage collecting novelty toys. In that instance, your lawyer may call an appraiser to put a value on these items. Then, we hope to guide the conversation toward a compromise where you and your spouse can agree on dividing them.
Child custody isn’t an asset. Yet, it’s something that many soon-to-be spouses argue over. Our family law lawyers in Myrtle Beach can weigh your options and work out an agreement that benefits all involved parties.
When helping you create a custodial agreement, we consider things like:
- The child’s gender, age, and health
- Where you and your ex live
- What grade the child is in
- The child’s preferences
- Whether there’s been a history of abuse
- Each parent’s financial resources
In these situations, we don’t just advocate for you; we advocate for your children, as well. Our lawyers hope to resolve your case with agreements that let everyone walk away satisfied.
We Can Help You Negotiate Alimony in a Myrtle Beach Divorce
If your spouse seeks alimony from you or if you want alimony payments, we can help. The state offers several types of alimony payments, each one suited for specific situations. We can reach an alimony deal that works best for you.
Examples of alimony agreements you could make in a divorce include:
- Permanent alimony: This is a periodic sum paid to the recipient spouse until the death of the paying or receiving spouse. This alimony also ends when the receiving spouse gets remarried. These are ideal in situations where both spouses were married for an extensive period.
- Lump-sum alimony: Here, a spouse has to pay their entire alimony obligation through one lump-sum payment. Typically, this situation occurs in place of a property settlement. Also, even if a spouse remarries, they can still receive a lump-sum payment.
- Rehabilitative alimony: This provides financial support to the receiving spouse until they can support themselves financially. Ideally, both parties will agree to a plan that continues until the receiving spouse reaches financial independence.
- Reimbursement alimony: One spouse could have to pay the other spouse back for the time, money, or effort they put into helping the other spouse gain financial resources. For example, if one spouse paid to further the other spouse’s education or career, they could have to pay reimbursement.
In some cases, the courts could require one party to pay other forms of spousal support. Our team can work hard to ensure you receive a fair deal in terms of alimony payments.
We Understand How Divorce Laws Apply to Cases in Myrtle Beach
Our lawyers have a comprehensive understanding of the laws and procedures that apply to divorce cases. Our knowledge includes:
What Constitutes Grounds for Divorce
We hope to guide you through an uncontested divorce, meaning that both you and your former spouse agree on its terms. Yet, some have to file a contested divorce, meaning there’s something they don’t agree on, whether it’s a custodial arrangement or who gets the family home.
In these situations, to have a judge grant the divorce, state law notes that those involved must successfully allege:
- Someone in the marriage committed adultery.
- One party deserted the other for over one year.
- At least one party physically abused the other.
- One party engaged in habitual drunkenness or abused narcotics.
- Both parties were separated for at least a year.
If necessary, our attorneys can assert these grounds to get your divorce approved. We can also defend you against these allegations if the other party files for divorce and blames you for the marriage’s end.
The State’s Residency Requirements
State law states that to institute a divorce, the plaintiff must have resided in the state for at least one year prior to filing. There are other residency requirements that could quickly complicate matters. Based on your situation, filing for divorce here may not work. You might have to file in another state if you moved frequently throughout the marriage.
How Waiting Periods Work in Divorce Cases
After you or your spouse files for divorce, the courts will begin the required waiting period or delay. These delays get put in place to give both parties time to ensure they want to move forward with a divorce after they file. The details of your waiting period depend on the type of divorce you’re pursuing.
- If you pursue a fault-based divorce, the waiting period is only three months.
- If you’re pursuing an uncontested divorce, you must be separated for at least a year before the judge approves the request.
Our legal team can explain the required waiting period for your specific case. This information can grant insight into how long the process could take.
We Can Modify an Already-Existing Divorce Agreement in Myrtle Beach
When you get a divorce, you must follow the stipulations of the agreement. You cannot change the agreement just because you don’t agree with them. Yet, if you or your spouse have had a substantial change in circumstances, you could potentially modify a divorce agreement.
Examples of substantial changes in circumstances include:
- Income changes: If either spouse loses their job or experiences a change in income, a judge could reduce or increase the alimony obligation of the paying spouse. The change in income must be permanent and does not count if the change is brief.
- Changes in health: If the paying spouse has a decline in health and therefore cannot work in the same capacity, the alimony payments in the divorce could get reduced.
- Changes in living circumstances: If the spouse receiving alimony payments begins living with someone else, the paying spouse could petition for a divorce modification. They could argue that now that their ex has a new partner, they don’t need their financial support.
A judge must agree that your change in circumstances warrants the modification. If they don’t, they could deny your petition. Our legal team can help you to file the appropriate paperwork and provide evidence of the substantial change. We can also provide legal advice on whether changing your divorce agreement suits your situation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce Proceedings in Myrtle Beach
How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced?
Divorces differ from one to the next. Some take months, others take years. Whether you’re filing a contested or uncontested divorce plays a large role in how long things take. We hope to minimize any complications that stall your case’s proceedings. That way, you can start planning your new life and moving forward.
Can Divorce Affect My Citizenship?
It depends on how long you were married. It’s a popular misconception that once you get married as an immigrant, you immediately get citizenship. Whether divorce affects your citizenship depends on how long you’ve lived in this country, whether you have children with your soon-to-be ex, and the details of your relationship. In many cases, if you’ve resided in the country for at least five years, your divorce shouldn’t affect your citizenship.
Does Getting Divorce Discharge Any Debt?
If you and your ex got a loan, you’re still responsible for paying back those funds. Matters change if your ex refinances the loan and removes your name from the record. In that instance, upon getting divorced, the debt would not follow you.
Contact Our Myrtle Beach Divorce Team Today
Going through a divorce without a trusted legal advocate can leave you feeling stressed. The attorneys at Morris Law Firm provide compassionate and aggressive legal counsel. We understand how each case has unique challenges, and we personalize our legal approach to meet your needs. Our team will fight throughout the entirety of your case to help you reach the results you want. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.
Call us today at (843) 232-0944 to speak with our team during a free consultation. Here, you will have the opportunity to learn about our legal services and ask questions. Our team wants to do more than manage your divorce’s proceedings; we want to set you up for a new, fresh start.