Words To Know in Charleston Family Court: a Divorce Glossary

If you’re considering divorcing your spouse, you’ve got a lot to think about in the coming months. You’re thinking about your kids, you’re thinking about your relationship and you’re thinking about your property. It’s important to understand the different terms that surround divorce cases so you can spend less time worrying about jargon and more time focusing on making the decisions that matter. Here’s a brief divorce glossary for those seeking to understand the ins and outs of South Carolina divorce laws and the family court system.

Alimony: the legal obligation of one spouse to financially support the other after divorce. Although most cases involving alimony consist of the former husband paying the certain wife, South Carolina gender equality laws have made it so that the former wife may be required to pay alimony. Alimony is a hot topic, especially during high net-worth divorce cases.

Fault grounds for divorce: scenario in which one party files for the divorce due to the other party not fulfilling their obligations in the marriage. One party may file on fault grounds if the other spouse exhibits one ore more of outlined behaviors:

  • Adultery
  • Habitual drunkenness, including alcohol and drug addiction
  • Physical abuse
  • Willful desertion, or when the spouse leaves the family for a period of one year

Many times, the party filing the divorce on fault grounds gets the better end of the deal due to the existing circumstances and the fact that the other partner did not uphold their end of the marriage. That’s why many lawyers recommend, if at all possible, that the couple file on no-fault grounds.

No-fault grounds for divorce: mutual decision between both spouses to live separate for a period of one year. Once the couple is separated, the legal and official aspects of the divorce can go forward.

Marital property or communal property: jointly owned property acquired by either spouse or both spouses during the marriage up to the time of separation. The most common example is the couple’s home.

Separate property: property received by one spouse before the marriage, via inheritance or through a gift.

Equitable distribution: South Carolina doctrine whereby marital property or communal property is split “equitably” – or fairly – during the divorce. Keep in mind that equitable does not mean equal, and in Charleston divorce cases, one spouse often gets the majority of the marital assets. (That’s why it’s important to have an experience family court attorney).

Knowing the language of the South Carolina and Charleston family court system before you go through the divorce process can enable you to spend more time focusing on the details of the divorce and getting the process over with. It can also help you better communicate with your attorney about the ongoing status of your case and what you can do to improve your chance for a successful result.

Learn more about divorce law in the Palmetto State so you can get through this tough time as smoothly as possible. Call Sarji Law Firm for a consultation today.

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