Divorce, custody battles, division of property – these things can get complicated, especially when personal emotions get involved. Sometimes, you may find yourself in a situation from where you can’t get out of a disturbed marriage because of legal complications. Even though you think there’s no way out, a family law attorney won’t give up. That’s why you need to work with one of the best Spartanburg family law attorneys at Hernandez & Cabra.
Custody battles after a divorce can get ugly, especially if you don’t want to let go of your child. On the other hand, you may face restraining orders from your partner to prevent you from going near your child. You may want to retaliate immediately, but it isn’t always the wise thing to do. At Hernandez & Cabra, we advise our clients to stay calm and let us handle the legal complications. Doing anything impulsive may go against you in court. Make sure you hold your nerves and allow us to take over because we have your best interests in mind.
Any family law case requires detailed planning. From listening to your story to finding proof that can help you win the case; we go all in once you hire us. If you are ready to share your family troubles with us, don’t hesitate to call our Spartanburg law firm at 864-501-4384 to set up an appointment as soon as possible.
What Qualifies as a Family Law Case?
Some of the situations that qualify as a family law case are as follows:
- Contested and uncontested divorce
- Parental rights, child custody, and child support
- Spousal support and alimony agreements
- Legal name changes
- Restraining orders
- DSS Cases
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in South Carolina?
Sometimes, even after a lot of effort, a relationship may fail. You go to court to dissolve your marriage and share the reasons why you and your partner want to part ways. The grounds for divorce in South Carolina include:
- Physical Cruelty
- Habitual Intoxication
- Voluntary separation of both parties for a minimum of one year
- Abandonment – Not living together for one year without mutual agreement and without justification
Sometimes you and your partner realize that you are no longer compatible with each other and there’s no way to change that feeling. These cases usually get resolved quickly because couples file for mutual divorce settlements. You can file for a no-fault divorce if you and your partner show that you didn’t live with each other or cohabitate for at least one year.
Spartanburg also has provisions for uncontested divorce cases. This requires both partners to agree to the divorce-related problems. Sometimes, a partner may not wish to participate in the legal proceedings of a divorce case. In such a situation, you may benefit when it comes to the division of property or child custody.
How Do You Start the Divorce Process?
Before you start the divorce process in South Carolina, you have to meet the following criteria:
- If you as the plaintiff are a South Carolina resident, you must have lived in the state for at least one year before you file your divorce.
- If you as the plaintiff are a non-resident of South Caroline, your spouse (the defendant) must have been living in the state for at least one year.
- If you and your spouse are South Carolina residents when the divorce process is starting, you must have lived in the state for 3 months before the divorce action starts.
Divorce processes in South Carolina start when either you or your spouse files a Complaint and Summons in the family court. Your lawyer will prepare these documents on your behalf and present them to the court.
Once this is filed, it should then be served to your spouse. The summons essentially informs the defendant that you, the plaintiff, has brought a divorce action, and they must accept and answer the Complaint for Divorce.
When the papers have been served to the defendant, they must file an answer to the Complaint for Divorce. The response or answer will give them an opportunity to state any defenses or complaints they may have with regards to the claims made in the Complaint.
If both parties can reach a mutual agreement, they can proceed to sign a Settlement Agreement that outlines how the debts, assets, property, and liabilities are going to be divided. A Divorce Agreement could also settle matters related to child support, visitation, and custody.
In case the parties can agree on a settlement, they will have to go through litigation, which is often complicated and time-consuming. It’s critical to consider hiring a divorce attorney at this stage to help with the case.
How Does the Division of Property Work in South Carolina?
Property division is among the hardest elements in Family Court. Based on the circumstances surrounding your divorce case, you could potentially lose or gain a considerable amount of property, real estate, and other assets.
For South Carolina, the family court can divide marital assets as part of separate maintenance or divorce action. Courts mainly use the equitable distribution principle to appropriate property based on what is fair while taking into account several factors. It’s important that you involve a lawyer as early as possible in your case to ensure your best interests are fully protected.
The family court will follow a four-step process when dividing property in a divorce case:
- Identify all of the marital property, assets, and debts that will be divided between the parties
- Establish the fair market value of the assets as well as the amount owed for the identified debts
- Find out the proportional contributions of each spouse, whether direct or indirect
- Provide an equitable division of the marital property
How is Child Custody Decided?
The Spartanburg County Family Court always looks into the best interests of the child while determining custody. There are two aspects of child custody at the time of divorce: legal custody and physical custody. In legal custody, the court needs to decide how both parents will spend time with the child, who will have the decision-making rights, who will take care of the welfare, education, and health, and become the legal parent of the child.
In physical custody, the court has to decide who will take full responsibility for the child and how the guardians or parents will share time. The custody laws also consider the following factors:
- The preference of the child
- The relationship and interaction of the child with siblings and parents
- The child’s ability to adjust to a new school, community, and home
- The physical and mental health of each parent
- The child’s spiritual and religious background
- Whether either parent has committed domestic violence
- Whether any parent has moved to a location more than 100 miles away in the past year
- And any other factor the court deems relevant
We have been a part of cases where parents agreed for joint legal custody, meaning they both have decision-making rights.
What is Alimony and How is it Decided?
The court might consider awarding alimony in a divorce case so that the more financially secure party pays alimony to the less advantaged spouse. Courts will consider lots of factors when making the decisions whether alimony should be awarded or not, along with how much alimony should be awarded.
These factors include the current incomes of both parties, the age of the parties, the current health of both, the ability to earn income, and each party’s work history. The process to determine alimony is quite subjective and there’s no specific formula in place to calculate alimony.
The law lists some of the factors that the court should consider when deciding whether or not to award alimony. These include:
- Length of the marriage – a person is more likely to get alimony if the couple was married for 30 years compared to if you were only married for a year or two
- The earning capacity of each party along with their education level
- The emotional and physical health of each party
- The couple’s standard of living during the time they were married
- The amount of property and assets each spouse owns
- The current and expected future earnings, needs, and expenses
- Whether the income potential of one spouse would be limited because of child custody
- Marital misconduct
- Other factors the court deems relevant
In case your former spouse doesn’t make their alimony payments as instructed by the family court, contact your lawyer immediately. We can file a Rule to Show Sause and ask the court to enforce the alimony order and hold your ex in contempt of court when they refuse to pay.
On the other hand, if you were asked to pay alimony and you are unable to make payments because of a change in circumstances, we might be able to ask the court to modify the original court order and change the amount of alimony you’re required to pay, either as a response to a Rule to Show Cause or before you start falling behind on your payments.
Call Our Spartanburg Family Law Attorneys
We understand that divorces can be painful for spouses and children. However, it’s a necessary evil for a few couples who can’t seem to live together peacefully anymore. When facing a sensitive family matter like divorce, adoption, spousal support or alimony, or child custody disputes, it’s always important to have an experienced lawyer by your side.
At Hernandez & Cabra, we pride ourselves on delivering insightful advice and accurate information to every family that comes to us facing a delicate or difficult family situation. We have helped countless individuals and families in a situation similar to yours, and we are sure we can help. Contact Spartanburg family law attorneys at 864-501-4384 today.