Divorce is never easy. However, at McKinney, Tucker & Lemel, LLC, we can guide you through this difficult time and work hard to make the process as smooth as possible for you. Our family law attorneys have decades of experience, and we focus solely on our clients’ needs and goals. We do this with compassion and a listening ear, making sure to always put our clients’ rights and interests first.

If you are planning to go through a divorce or in the early stages of the divorce process in Fort Mill or a nearby community in York County, contact us to discuss your case in a confidential consultation. As we explain below, we can assist with your divorce and all of your other family law needs:

Divorce

South Carolina recognizes both no-fault and fault-based divorces. Our family lawyers can help you to determine what type of divorce fits your circumstances. We can also handle all of the court filings and paperwork which your divorce involves.

A no-fault divorce means that a breakdown has occurred in the marital relationship. There is little chance that the couple will reconcile. When a couple files for a no-fault divorce, the parties must live separately for at least one year. Once you file for divorce, you must go through a minimum three-month waiting period before a court will issue the divorce decree.

Our state also recognizes five grounds for divorce when one spouse alleges that the other is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. These grounds include adultery, habitual drunkenness, physical cruelty and abandonment. In a fault-based divorce, the process moves much faster. A party may obtain a divorce decree as early as 90 days after filing the divorce petition.

Legal Separation

“Legal separation” may not mean the same thing in South Carolina as it does in other states. In South Carolina, legally separated spouses are still considered married. So, if one spouse starts dating, the other spouse may hold him or her at fault during divorce proceedings for adultery. However, a couple can still sign a marital settlement agreement which outlines the terms of their separation. One spouse may also petition the court for an Order of Separate Support and Maintenance if the spouse needs financial support during the separation period.

Mediation

During mediation, the two spouses meet with a mediator, who is a neutral third-party. The goal of mediation is to get the two sides to reach a divorce agreement without the need for litigation. A mediator will facilitate negotiations and push for compromise between the two spouses. If the spouses cannot come to an agreement, the case will enter into litigation. In any South Carolina divorce, mediation is mandatory. In other words, the spouses must attempt it before they take their divorce to court.

Alimony

Alimony refers to the payments which one spouse may make to the other spouse after a divorce. It is also commonly called “spousal support.” You can seek alimony through a court order. However, like most other terms in a divorce, you can also try to reach an agreement on alimony with your spouse.

South Carolina law allows many different types of alimony payments, including lump sum and periodic payments. A court will take many factors into consideration when making a decision on alimony such as how long the couple was married, ages of the spouses and their overall financial situation and earning potential. At McKinney, Tucker & Lemel, LLC, we can compile evidence to support your alimony claim or challenge your spouse’s request for alimony payments.

Property Division

Property division can be one of the most contentious aspects of a divorce. South Carolina is an equitable distribution state. This means that marital property should be distributed fairly – although not necessarily equally – in a South Carolina divorce proceeding. On the other hand, separate property is not distributed in a divorce. Separate property includes any assets that a spouse already acquired before entering the marriage. Your lawyer from McKinney, Tucker & Lemel, LLC, can help you to identify and valuate the tangible and intangible assets which are subject to distribution in your divorce. Even though you and your spouse may reach an agreement on how to divide your property, we will be prepared to fight for you in court, if necessary.

Child Custody

South Carolina law addresses two types of child custody. The first is legal custody, which refers to which spouse can make important decisions for the child, including where the child goes to school, health care and more. The second type of custody in the state is physical custody, which refers to which parent the child will live with primarily. Parents can reach a child custody agreement. However, a court must approve the arrangement and determine whether it serves the child’s best interest.

Child Support

In South Carolina, both parents must financially support their child. However, only one parent typically makes payments, and usually, that parent is the one that does not have primary physical custody of the child. The amount of child support will depend on the income of both parents and the number of children involved in the divorce. South Carolina’s Child Support Guidelines can help parents to determine approximately how much support they will have to pay.

Marital Agreements

Premarital agreements in South Carolina are enforceable if they are fair to both parties, and each spouse signs it voluntarily before entering into the marriage. For example, if it was found at the time of divorce that one spouse hid assets from the other, a court may declare the agreement unenforceable because one spouse was unaware of the other’s financial situation at the time of entering into the agreement. Postnuptial agreements are similar to premarital agreements in the way that they specify how property will be divided upon divorce.

Get Help from a Fort Mill Family Law Attorney Today

Both spouses going through a divorce want to ensure that their rights are protected. At McKinney, Tucker & Lemel, LLC, our Fort Mill family law lawyers work hard to do just that. We will negotiate with the other side and seek the fair settlement you need. If necessary, we will take the case to litigation so a court can decide what is fair. If you are getting divorced, contact us now to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys and allow us to conduct a thorough review of your case.