What Are Final Divorce Hearings in South Carolina?

A final divorce hearing in South Carolina is the last hearing before your divorce is finalized. In the hearing, the court puts the basic facts on the record and approves the settlement. The court issues the order of divorce immediately or shortly after your final divorce hearing.

Most final divorce hearings are a routine last step in an uncontested divorce. However, it’s important to know what to expect in the hearing. Our Greenville divorce lawyers can represent you.

What Happens at a Final Divorce Hearing in South Carolina?

When a divorce is uncontested, the judge does the following at the final hearing:

  • Makes sure there are grounds for divorce
  • Ensures the paperwork is in order
  • Checks for issues that would prevent granting the divorce
  • Takes some basic testimony
  • Approves the divorce settlement
  • Issues an order of divorce

After your final divorce hearing, the judge will approve the order of divorce. It incorporates your settlement agreement. Then, you’re officially divorced.

You must take any necessary steps to carry out the settlement agreement, like transferring property and bank accounts, and making any ordered support payments.

How Does a Final Divorce Hearing in South Carolina Work?

At a final divorce hearing in South Carolina:

  • The court calls the case. You walk past the gallery, where the audience sits. You take your seat at your table with your attorney.
  • The court asks the attorneys and parties to verify their identities.
  • If the court doesn’t already have the final paperwork, the lawyers submit it. The court will review it. A lawyer likely will have already prepared a final order of divorce so that it can be entered immediately.
  • The plaintiff’s lawyer calls the plaintiff to the witness stand. The plaintiff answers a series of routine questions about the divorce.
  • The plaintiff’s lawyer calls the corroborating witness to the stand. They talk about the grounds for divorce. The court isn’t looking for details – they verify the grounds for divorce.
  • While the defense can call witnesses, they rarely do.
  • If the court has any final questions or matters, they will raise them.
  • You can wait for the court to enter the final order of divorce and get a copy right away.

Taking the witness stand at your final divorce hearing may seem daunting, but it is routine. The court needs you to answer a series of questions. These questions include the date of the marriage, separation and your wish to divorce.

Sample State of South Carolina Final Order of Divorce

How long does a final divorce hearing take in South Carolina?

The final divorce hearing itself takes about 15 minutes in South Carolina. However, there may be multiple cases scheduled at the same time. There may be a wait before your case is called.

Can you get divorced in South Carolina without a final hearing?

South Carolina Family Court Rule 28(a) allows the court to grant a divorce without a hearing if:

  • It is uncontested.
  • Grounds for divorce is separation for one year.
  • There is no child custody, support, alimony, property division or attorney fees.
  • The parties and corroborating witnesses submit affidavits of the basic case facts.
  • An affidavit regarding name change is completed, if requested.

The parties must provide copies of their state identifications, verification that both parties approve and that waiting periods are complete.

The court may grant a name change request when a divorce qualifies for approval without a hearing.

Most divorces have something substantial to determine, whether it is orders relating to minor children, alimony or property division. Most divorces require a final hearing.

What if my divorce is contested? Will I have a final hearing then?

A divorce is contested if the parties don’t agree on all issues. You may proceed to a hearing on the issues in dispute. If your divorce is contested, you will have a trial instead of a final hearing.

There may be interim orders before the court makes final decisions.

Tips for Your Final Divorce Hearing in South Carolina

  • Check your information. Make sure you know what court is conducting the hearing. Make travel arrangements in advance.
  • Arrive early. It can take time to find the court and get ready for the hearing.
  • Dress professionally. Court is a formal proceeding. Don’t wear anything with writing on it, shorts or open-toed shoes. Take off your hat.
  • No electronics. Don’t bring your phone or anything else that could make noise.
  • Don’t bring kids. Children should not be present at a final divorce hearing for any reason.
  • Know what to expect. Prepare with your lawyer. It should be a routine hearing, but you should still be fully prepared for what will happen.

Contact a Greenville Divorce Attorney

Whether you are the plaintiff or defendant, finalizing your divorce is a critical step. J. Michael Turner Jr., of Turner Family Law, represents spouses in divorce.

He can assist you in preparing for and attending your final divorce hearing as well as any outstanding issues in your divorce that may need to be addressed. Turner Family Law is here to represent your interests and protect your rights. Call us at 864-778-2734 or message us online today.

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Initial Consultation

First, we will conduct an initial consultation and we will go over all the facts and details of your case.

Filing and Negotiations

We submit a Complaint to the Court, or help you respond to one. Hearings and negotiations take place.

Final Order

Following mediation, all unsettled parts of your case will be determined by the trial judge who issues final rulings.

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