Legal Separation Attorney in Charleston, SC
South Carolina law does not technically recognize what is commonly known as legal separation. Nevertheless, married couples who separate in South Carolina may petition the Family Court for what our law calls an “Order of Separate Maintenance and Support.” As a practical matter to you, this may just be semantics. You may have to wait out a full year of separation before you can get divorced under South Carolina law. Hire a legal separation attorney in Charleston, SC to help you determine what to do while you wait for the divorce. Call RHB Law Firm, LLC now to get help! (843) 805-4717
What is critical is that you and your spouse actually live separate and apart. That means different residences, not different sides of the house. This legal requirement can put a real financial strain on people, as most people have a hard enough time paying for one residence between the two of them. Often, this legal requirement unfortunately inhibits or delays a spouse from being able to start the legal process free themselves from a bad relationship. There are solutions, however. Call or email me at RHB Law Firm, LLC to discuss a possible avenue to have the court award you sole possession and use of the marital home, even if only temporarily.
An Order of Separate Maintenance and Support may establish custody, visitation, child support, spousal support/alimony, and even property division before the parties’ divorce is finalized. This may be because the legally mandatory one year of separation has not yet passed in order to obtain a no-fault divorce, and the parties want to go ahead and wrap up these other important issues.
Some folks may just want the legal separation and do not really care about ever getting the formal divorce. I have seen that happen many times. In those instances, a Final Order of Separate Maintenance and Support remains valid in perpetuity as to property division, alimony/spousal support, child custody, child visitation, child support, and any other issues addressed in the order.
When an Order of Separate Maintenance and Support resolves property division, that decision is almost always final and cannot later be modified, even in a later divorce action. A decision on alimony/spousal support is usually final, but the parties and the court can make it subject to modification. Child custody, child visitation, and child support are always subject to modification upon a substantial change of the circumstances on which the original decision was based.