Divorce Lawyers in Charleston 

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Divorce Lawyers in Charleston 

GIVE US YOUR PROBLEMS. WE’LL GIVE YOU SOLUTIONS.

Futeral & Nelson - Lawyers in Charleston

DIVORCE, SEPARATION & MEDIATION

Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, we will help to guide you through it.

PERSONAL INJURY

CUSTODY, VISITATION & SUPPORT

We know your children are important to you. We will help you protect you and your family.

ALIMONY & PROPERTY DIVISION

Divorcing can cause financial hardship. We will work hard to protect your financial future.

Top-Rated Divorce Lawyers in Charleston

Our Charleston Divorce Attorneys Have Over 55 Combined Years of Experience with Divorce Law

If you are getting a divorce in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Summerville, Moncks Corner, or the surrounding areas, our Charleston divorce lawyers are here to guide you through family court every step. We’re practical, efficient, and reasonably priced. We don’t take risks with your family, money, or future.

We strive to be the best at what we do. That’s why clients endorse our divorce attorneys with 5 stars ★★★★★ on Google Reviews. Also, that’s why our law firm is top-rated (AV) by Martindale-Hubbell.

Stephan Futeral is a certified family court mediator. He’s rated 10 (Superb) by AVVO. The National Academy of Family Law Attorneys (NAFLA) recognizes Stephan as one of the Top 10 Family Law Attorneys in South Carolina. NAFLA uses a thorough selection process to determine the top family law attorneys in each state. Thomas Nelson is one of Super Lawyers Rising Stars. Kelsey Gilmore-Futeral is a former attorney for Charleston’s Guardian ad Litem Program. Contact any of our Charleston divorce attorneys today.

Top-Rated Divorce Lawyers in Charleston

Our Charleston Divorce Attorneys Have Over 55 Combined Years of Experience with Family Law

If you are getting a divorce in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Summerville, Moncks Corner, or the surrounding areas, our Charleston divorce lawyers are here to guide you through family court every step. We’re practical, efficient, and reasonably priced. We don’t take risks with your family, money, or future.

We strive to be the best at what we do. That’s why clients endorse our divorce attorneys with 5 stars ★★★★★ on Google Reviews. Also, that’s why our law firm is top-rated (AV) by Martindale-Hubbell.

Stephan Futeral is a certified family court mediator. He’s rated 10 (Superb) by AVVO. The National Academy of Family Law Attorneys (NAFLA) recognizes Stephan as one of the Top 10 Family Law Attorneys in South Carolina. NAFLA uses a thorough selection process to determine each state’s top family law attorneys. Thomas Nelson is one of Super Lawyers Rising Stars. Kelsey Gilmore-Futeral is a former attorney for Charleston’s Guardian ad Litem Program. Contact any of our Charleston divorce attorneys today.

Important Advice About Your Children During Your Divorce

Charleston Family Law Attorney Stephan Futeral explains why it is so important that you keep your children out of the middle of any conflicts.
Children caught in the middle of a divorce are so vulnerable and can suffer long-lasting harm. Our divorce lawyers are especially sensitive about how important it is to minimize the impact your divorce may have on your kids. Contact us to learn how we work to protect you and your children.

Important Advice About Your Children During Your Divorce

Charleston Family Law Attorney Stephan Futeral explains why it is so important that you keep your children out of the middle of any conflicts.
Children caught in the middle of a divorce are so vulnerable and can suffer long-lasting harm. Our divorce lawyers are especially sensitive about how important it is to minimize the impact your divorce may have on your kids. Contact us to learn how we work to protect you and your children.

Services from Our Divorce Attorneys in Charleston

Here’s a list of what we do as divorce attorneys in Charleston South Carolina. If you need us for any of the following, contact us today.

  1. Child custody & support
    • Our divorce lawyers in Charleston have decades of experience helping both mothers and fathers resolve their problems concerning child custody and paying or receiving child support.
  2. Child visitation
    • We know what you need – a visitation schedule that focuses on the well-being of your children and is fair for both parents.
  3. Divorce
    • Divorce is rarely easy on anyone. Our attorneys will set your mind at ease and protect the best interests of you and your family.
  1. Spousal Support (alimony)
    • Our goal is to make sure that whether you are receiving or paying, your alimony is the fairest amount possible under South Carolina law.
  2. Distribution of Marital Property
    • Marital assets and debts must be divided under South Carolina’s family laws. No matter how simple or complicated your finances and properties may be, we will help you reach an equitable distribution.
  3. prenuptial agreements
    • Our divorce lawyers in Charleston have the knowledge and the skill to prepare or to negotiate the best prenuptial agreement for you.

Our from Our Divorce Lawyers in Charleston

Here’s a list of what we do as divorce lawyers in Charleston. If you need us for any of the following, contact us today.

  1. Child custody & support
    • Our divorce lawyers in Charleston have decades of experience helping mothers and fathers resolve their problems concerning child custody and child support.
  2. Child visitation
    • We know what you need – a visitation schedule that focuses on the well-being of your children and is fair for both parents.
  3. Divorce
    • Divorce is rarely easy on anyone. Our attorneys will set your mind at ease and protect the best interests of you and your family.
  4. Spousal Support (alimony)
    • Our goal is to make sure that whether you are receiving or paying, your alimony is the fairest amount possible under South Carolina law.
  5. Distribution of Marital Property
    • Marital assets and debts must be divided under South Carolina’s family laws. No matter how simple or complicated your finances and properties may be, we will help you reach an equitable distribution.
  6. prenuptial agreements
    • Our divorce lawyers in Charleston have the knowledge and the skill to prepare or to negotiate the best prenuptial agreement for you.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About SC Divorce Laws

Our divorce lawyers in Charleston have decades of combined experience handling contested and uncontested divorces. To help you understand South Carolina divorce laws and get you started down the right path, we’ve put together a list of answers to frequently asked questions.

Table of Contents

What Are the Legal Grounds for a Divorce in South Carolina?

If you are filing for divorce in South Carolina, there are five (5) legal grounds, which are adultery, habitual drug or alcohol use, physical abuse,  desertion for one year, and one year’s continuous separation (a no-fault divorce in South Carolina).

How Long Do You Have to Live in South Carolina to File for a Divorce?

To file for a divorce in SC, the person asking for the divorce must have lived here for at least one year before starting the process. If the person asking hasn’t lived here for at least a year, then the other person in the marriage must have lived here for at least a year. However, if both people in the marriage have been living in South Carolina when they decide to get a divorce, then the person asking only needs to have lived here for three months before starting. For those on active military duty, living in SC means they’ve been in this state continuously for the required time. It doesn’t matter if they plan to stay in this state permanently.

How Long Does it Take to Get Divorced in Charleston?

Depending on the situation, divorce in South Carolina can range from a few months to over a year.

 

  • Uncontested Divorce:
    • Both parties agree on child custody, support, and property division.
    • Based on a one-year separation.
    • Divorce can be finalized in about 2-3 months if all paperwork is quickly filed.
  • Contested Divorce:
    • It can take a year or longer.
    • Issues like child custody, alimony, support, and property are disputed.

How Much is Child Support?

Child support is calculated based on formulas and tables created by the South Carolina Department of Social Services, which are called the “Child Support Guidelines.” The support calculation is based on seven factors:

  1. Prior support obligation
  2. The number of children being supported
  3. The income (or earning capacities) of both parents
  4. The percentage of combined income each parent has
  5. The number of other children each parent has living in their own home
  6. The work-related daycare expenses either party has for the children
  7. The health insurance expenses either party has for the child or children

Using these factors in the formula, and accounting for how many overnights the visiting parent may have, a specific monthly child support amount can be calculated.

How is Child Custody Determined in a South Carolina Divorce?

The court considers 17 “factors” in determining which parent should have custody. Those factors are:

 

  1. The child’s temperament and developmental needs;
  2. Each parent’s understanding and ability to meet the child’s needs;
  3. The child’s preferences;
  4. The parent’s wishes regarding custody;
  5. The child’s past and present interaction and relationship with each parent, siblings, and other family members who play a significant role in the child’s life;
  6. Each parent’s actions to encourage the child’s relationship with the other parent;
  7. Whether a parent has involved the child in the parents’ dispute;
  8. Whether a parent is disparaging the other parent in front of the child;
  9. Each parent’s ability to be actively involved in the child’s life;
  10. The child’s adjustment to home, school, and community environments;
  11. The stability at each parent’s home;
  12. Each parent’s mental and physical health;
  13. The child’s cultural and spiritual background;
  14. Whether the child or a sibling has been abused or neglected;
  15. Whether one parent has engaged in domestic violence or child abuse;
  16. Whether one parent has relocated more than one hundred miles from the child’s primary residence in the past year unless the parent relocated for safety reasons; and
  17. Other factors as the court considers necessary

Does Cheating Affect Alimony or Child Custody?

Cheating impacts alimony because marital fault or misconduct is one of the factors the court considers when awarding alimony. Cheating may impact custody especially if a spouse has exposed the children to their new love interest.

Can a Wife Kick Her Husband Out of the Marital Home?

Whether you are a husband or a wife, you can’t kick your spouse out of the marital home. However, if your husband or wife has engaged in marital misconduct such as physical abuse or adultery, then you can petition the family court to order your spouse out of the home.

What Child Custody Rights do Fathers Have?

In South Carolina, if the parents are married, both parents have equal rights concerning their children. However, when a child is born out of wedlock, the mother has custody unless paternity is established and the father asks the court for visitation or custody.

Should You Move Out of Your Home Before the Divorce?

Not unless you have to. Sometimes you have no choice but to leave, at least temporarily. If you and/or your children are subjected to abuse, cruelty, or other dangerous circumstances, you should consider your family’s safety first by leaving the home if the dangerous spouse will not. In other cases, it is best that you do not leave the home until you’ve consulted with a divorce lawyer about the potential pros and cons of vacating the home.

How is Alimony Calculated in a S.C. Divorce?

There is no formula for calculating alimony in a South Carolina divorce. Instead, the court considers 14 factors concerning each spouse and their marriage as follows:

 

  1. How long the parties were married;
  2. The parties’ ages;
  3. The parties’ physical and emotional conditions;
  4. The parties’ education;
  5. The parties’ employment history and earning potential;
  6. The parties’ standard of living;
  7. The parties’ current and expected income;
  8. The parties’ current and expected expenses and needs;
  9. The parties’ marital and nonmarital properties;
  10. Which party has custody of the children;
  11. Marital misconduct or fault;
  12. Tax consequences;
  13. Support obligation from a prior marriage; and
  14. Other relevant factors

How is Property Divided in a South Carolina Divorce?

In a South Carolina divorce, the family court divides marital property between the spouses. Generally speaking, marital property is any property that the spouses acquired during the marriage. Common examples of marital property include:

  • Real estate
  • Vehicles, boats, trailers, etc.
  • Household contents such as furniture, TVs, etc.
  • Bank accounts
  • Retirement accounts
  • Investment accounts

If a spouse owned property before getting married, such as a house, but shared that property during the marriage, then the family court may consider that property to be marital.

Is South Carolina a 50-50 State for Divorce?

South Carolina is not a community property state. However, in a long-term marriage, the court will likely divide marital property equally. As for what qualifies as a long-term marriage, there is no precise number of years under our laws. Years ago, parties tended to stay married longer, so a family court judge in those days might consider anything under 15 or 20 years a shorter-term marriage. These days, parties tend to get divorced more often, so a family court judge may consider a ten-year marriage as long-term. Ultimately, it depends on the court’s discretion as to what is considered a long-term marriage.

Do You Have to Wait One Year to File for a No-Fault Divorce in South Carolina?

Yes. In South Carolina, if you are seeking a no-fault divorce in South Carolina, then you must be separated for at least one year.

How Long Do You Have to be Separated in South Carolina to Get a Divorce?

As previously mentioned, you must be separated for one year for a no-fault divorce. However, suppose you seek a divorce on fault grounds such as adultery or physical abuse. In that case, South Carolina law does not require you to be separated for any specific time period before you file for a divorce.

How Do You Prove Adultery for a Charleston Divorce?

Proving adultery in South Carolina can be challenging because intimate actions often happen privately. To prove it, you need evidence showing:

  1. Desire to Cheat (Inclination)
    • Proof can come from love notes, texts, emails, online dating accounts, or photos of two persons being intimate.
    • Photos of them being too casual, like answering the door in pajamas, might also hint at more than friendship.
    • Sexting isn’t adultery, but it can show a desire to cheat.
  2. Chance to Cheat (Opportunity)
    • You must show they had enough private time to engage in intimate acts.
    • Strong evidence includes photos or videos of them entering the same house or hotel.
    • Admissions might be in texts, emails, or social media.
    • Hotel encounters might be shown through credit card bills or hotel records.

In simpler terms, you need to show they wanted to cheat and had the chance to do so.

Is South Carolina an Alimony State?

A spouse may receive alimony in South Carolina. The family court has discretion in awarding a spouse alimony after considering a list of factors, including:

 

  • The duration of the marriage,
  • The age of the parties at the time of marriage and at the time of divorce,
  • Each spouse’s physical and emotional condition,
  • Each spouse’s educational background,
  • Whether either spouse needs additional training or education to achieve their income potential
  • Each spouse’s earning potential and work history,
  • The couple’s standard of living during the marriage,
  • The current and reasonably anticipated incomes of each spouse,
  • The current and reasonably anticipated expenses of each spouse,
  • The marital and nonmarital property owned by each spouse,
  • Which spouse has custody of the children
  • Marital misconduct that affected the parties’ economic circumstances contributed to the breakup of the marriage,
  • Tax consequences for the type of alimony awarded,
  • Any other support obligations that either spouse has, and
  • Any other factors that the court thinks are relevant.

Can You Date While You Are Separated in SC?

In South Carolina, there is no such thing as a “legal separation.” Until a judge finalizes your divorce, you remain legally married to your spouse. Engaging in romantic or intimate relationships while still married could be considered adultery. This may negatively affect you, especially when it comes to the division of your assets, given that the court considers such matters. Furthermore, if you hope to receive spousal support or alimony, any indication that you’re involved with someone or having intimate relations during your marriage could prevent you from obtaining such support.

Can You Change Your Name When You Get Divorced in South Carolina?

You can change your name when you get divorced in South Carolina. When the divorce is finalized, you will be required to testify under oath that your decision to change your name is for personal reasons. You’ll also need to answer specific questions to confirm that the change isn’t an attempt to evade legal responsibilities, such as criminal charges, bankruptcy, or registration on a sex offender list.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Get Divorced in South Carolina?

No, you are not legally required to hire an attorney for a divorce in South Carolina. However, navigating the legal intricacies of divorce can be complicated, especially if substantial assets, debts, or custody issues are involved. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Complexity: The process might be more straightforward if your divorce is uncontested (meaning both parties agree on all terms). Even then, ensuring that all paperwork is correctly filed and you understand all implications can be invaluable.
  2. Protecting Your Interests: An attorney can help safeguard your interests, especially if there’s a dispute over assets, debts, child custody, or spousal support.
  3. Familiarity with the Process: Divorce laws and procedures can be complex, and missing a step or misunderstanding a requirement can delay the process or result in unfavorable terms.
  4. Neutral Advice: Emotions run high during divorces. An objective professional can clarify and ensure that decisions are made based on facts and the law rather than emotions.
  5. Paperwork: There’s a significant amount of paperwork involved in divorce. An attorney can help ensure everything is filled out correctly and filed in a timely manner.
  6. Cost: While hiring an attorney does come with costs, representing yourself may be more expensive in the long run, especially if mistakes are made or if you end up with less favorable terms than an attorney might have secured.

It’s termed “pro se” or “self-represented” litigation if you decide to proceed without an attorney. While you can do this, it’s crucial to thoroughly research and understand the divorce process in South Carolina to avoid potential pitfalls.

Can You Change Lawyers in the Middle of a Divorce?

Clients always have the right to decide who they want as their lawyer. If you are not comfortable with your attorney, don’t delay in switching lawyers or you may cause setbacks in your divorce. For example, if your case is weeks away from a trial, it may not be in your best interest to change to another lawyer who has no time to prepare. Also, you should take into account that changing lawyers may result in additional attorney’s fees for the new lawyer to review and understand your case when the old lawyer has already charged you for those services.

What is the Cost of Divorce in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, the cost of a divorce depends on the complexity of your divorce. The filing fee is $150.00. However, there can be many more costs, such as service of process fees, guardian ad litem fees in contested custody cases, the cost of court-ordered parental evaluations, the cost of expert witnesses such as accountants, and legal fees, to name a few.

Recent South Carolina Family Law Articles

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