Family Law

What are the grounds for divorce? In South Carolina there are five grounds for divorce: separation of the spouses for at least one year (the "no-fault divorce"), adultery, physical cruelty, habitual drunkenness (alcohol or narcotic drugs) and desertion. Your lawyer will ask you about your situation and advise you about your case.

State law requires that a family court judge make a specific finding that reconciliation is not possible before the judge can grant a divorce.


When you and your spouse have separated but do not have grounds for divorce, you can apply to the court for the right to live separate and apart. This is done through an action for "separate maintenance and support," which is a claim for spousal support. If the court considers issues of alimony, child support or child custody at this time, it can also deal with equitable division of marital property. Separation officially begins on the day that the spouses no longer live together.

Custody and Visitation

When parents cannot agree on who should have custody of their minor children, then the court must decide. Both parents should look honestly at their new living situations, available time and other resources and consider carefully which parent can provide a better home life for their children. Because neither parent automatically has a legal right to custody, the court will consider the best interests of the children. The court may order joint or shared custody.


Spousal support is called alimony. Either spouse may be entitled to monetary support from the other spouse.

Child Support

Both parents have legal responsibility to provide for their children. A noncustodial parent usually be required to pay a specified amount of child support to the custodial parent. The court uses the Child Support Guidelines which is a calculation of support bases on the gross income of the parents.

Your Lawyer's Role

Your lawyer's job is to represent and advise you of your legal rights and obligations so that you can better understand what a divorce settlement should involve. By providing you advice, your lawyer can help guide you through the divorce process. One lawyer cannot represent both you and your spouse.


While many lawyers have a specific fee for a simple, uncontested divorce, the fee for most divorces depends on the amount of time a lawyer and staff must spend working on the case. This will depend on whether the case is contested and whether there are issues of custody, support and property division. In certain cases, the court can order one spouse to pay all or part of the other spouse's legal fees and related expenses. Your attorney will discuss the fees with you during the initial meeting.


Contact Terry Quinn for an appointment at 843.332.1531 today.