As a South Carolina resident who finds your marriage ending, you may find it difficult to navigate the legal issues tied to this event, such as understanding what constitutes grounds for divorce in South Carolina.
From protecting your financial future to co-parenting and custody issues, a skilled divorce lawyer in Greenville at Turner Family Law can help guide you through the state’s laws regarding an at-fault divorce and which might best suit your situation.
Grounds for Divorce in South Carolina
As you prepare to file for divorce, choosing the proper grounds, or reasons, for the dissolution of your marriage can greatly affect your case. South Carolina recognizes several legal reasons for an at-fault divorce, including:
- Physical abuse
- Consistent drug or alcohol abuse
- Desertion for a period of more than one year
South Carolina law does not allow you to file for divorce on the grounds of emotional or mental cruelty. However, proving each of the above reasons you wish to file for divorce can help you win the damages you seek, such as alimony payments and custody of any children that resulted from your marriage.
Proving Grounds for a South Carolina Divorce
As you prepare to file for divorce, it can help to first gather evidence for whichever grounds you plan to use as the basis for ending your marriage. Documentation can take a variety of forms, including notarized witness accounts, live witness statements in court, texts, voice messages, and other types of electronic communication. Keep in mind that even circumstantial evidence may strengthen your divorce case, such as phone bills that display multiple calls to the same number and a change in social media activity.
As you discover reasons for divorce in South Carolina with the help of Turner Family Law and Divorce Attorney resources, collecting evidence for the alleged grounds you want to present to the court can raise your confidence concerning the eventual outcome of the case.
If you know for certain that your spouse committed adultery, then you must prove this to the court. In South Carolina, a party must show the offending spouse had the opportunity and inclination to commit adultery. For example, photos of your spouse engaged in physical, intimate activity with the other individual can provide strong proof, as can several other types of evidence, including:
- Racy text messages or sexting
- Direct messages on social media sites that allude to an affair
- Calling in a witness who saw your spouse in an intimate moment with another person
Adultery is one of the most common reasons for an at-fault divorce, so providing irrefutable evidence can increase the chances of winning the damages you plan to seek.
Proving Physical Abuse
While the grounds for divorce in South Carolina do not include any type of mental or emotional abuse, such as gaslighting or verbal assault, physical abuse is widely accepted in courts throughout the state. This includes different types of unwanted or violent physical contact, such as punching, slapping, pinching, shoving, kicking and choking. Keeping photographic evidence of bruises or other marks on the skin as they occur can help you prove this type of abuse.
Witnesses to physical abuse can also assist you with meeting your burden of proof. If any friends or family members witnessed your spouse physically abusing you in the past, no matter the circumstances, ask them to testify on your behalf. Ask court employees whether your judge accepts written statements or if any witness-related documents you do want to present must be notarized.
Proving Substance Abuse
Substance abuse is an umbrella term for many different types of drug and alcohol misuse. This includes abuse of beer, hard liquors, cocaine, heroin and even prescription drugs. If your spouse has one or more DUI accusations or a conviction on their record, you may use it as evidence that a drinking problem exists and that it has negatively affected your marriage.
If drug abuse was a major factor in your marriage ending, then you can use many methods to help you prove it. In many cases, drug and/or alcohol abuse and physical abuse go hand in hand, so this link could help you with providing more solid evidence.
Desertion is a much less common reason for an at-fault divorce, but if you can prove that your spouse left you and your children for more than one year and it caused financial strife or affected your quality of life, this ground for divorce in South Carolina can still prove useful. However, since desertion and separation are not equal, you may want to review the circumstance of your spouse’s departure with your lawyer.
Get in Touch Today for an At-Fault Divorce
If you want to learn more about the grounds for divorce in South Carolina, reach out to the Turner Family Law office today by phone or request a consultation to begin a journey toward a new and better future.