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Divorce in Richland County
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Online Divorce in Richland County
Please note: OnlineDivorce.com in Richland County, South Carolina, is a divorce document preparation service, not a law firm. Online Divorce is not eligible to provide legal advice. All the information below is for informational purposes only.
Many associate a divorce with a nerve-racking emotional roller-coaster and time-consuming bureaucratic red tape, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way if divorcing spouses can iron out their differences before or during a divorce process. South Carolina offers a simplified procedure as the fastest and easiest way to get divorced.
A simple divorce also referred to as an uncontested divorce, can happen if the spouses have no contest over children, property, finances, and debts. You only have to memorialize on paper what you and your spouse agree on regarding divorce-related issues and file a Petition for Divorce with a local Family Court division.
Although all divorce paperwork can be completed and filed without a lawyer, many divorcing couples in South Carolina go to OnlineDivorce.com for assistance with the documents. OnlineDivorce.com does not give legal advice and does not represent clients in the court but can help fill out divorce papers and give instructions on how to file them with the court.
‘Online divorce’ does not mean that you can file for divorce online. South Carolina Law requires each petitioner to personally deliver the completed forms to the court and personally file them with the court clerk. However, OnlineDivorce.com simplifies what many consider to be the most challenging part of the process - the paperwork. By using OnlineDivorce.com, divorcing spouses can get their divorce forms completed from the comfort of their own homes in the shortest time possible. Users only have to complete a simple online questionnaire, and OnlineDivorce.com will do the rest. The printable documents will be made available within two business days, along with easy-to-follow filing instructions.
If you and your spouse are still in the middle of resolving parenting schedules, visitation time, division of assets and debts, and maintenance, you can yet have an uncontested divorce. You will just need more time and may need to hire experts to sort out custody, support, and property division. But South Carolina courts even offer divorcing spouses mediation and couples counseling to help them end their marriage amicably.
OnlineDivorce.com is an inexpensive option for those who want to have a Do-It-Yourself divorce and keep the cost of divorce down. Start your divorce online by completing the court forms and follow the necessary steps below to take your DIY divorce to court.
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Check if you qualify for an online divorce in Richland County, SC
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Valid grounds to get divorce in Richland County
South Carolina provides both no-fault and fault-based grounds for divorce. According to the 2016 South Carolina Code of Laws § Section 20-3-10. Grounds for divorce, a list of fault-based grounds for divorce in South Carolina includes:
Adultery of one of the spouses;
Abandonment for more than one year;
Alcoholism or drug addiction of one of the spouses;
Uninterrupted separation for one year.
If you want to base your divorce case on one of the first four faults, you must hire an attorney because fault-based divorces are not simple and require professional legal counsel.
Meanwhile, if the ground of separation is a no-fault ground where the petitioner does not fault the other spouse for breaking up the marriage, the spouses simply need to state that the marriage is irreconcilably broken.
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When determining child custody, South Caroline Family Law holds the interests of the child as its highest priority. That is why South Carolina courts express a preference for both parents to share in child custody. According to Section 63-15-10, "Tender Years Doctrine" is abolished because the courts hold that not only mothers can and should care for infants and young children. And in case of a history of domestic violence and child abuse, South Carolina law protects the child by not giving custody to an abusive parent and carefully determining visitation restrictions between the child and the parent with domestic violence in the past.
When awarding child custody, the court must determine to what extent each parent will participate in legal custody (making and sharing child-related decisions) and physical custody (spending time with the child at a specific period). The court first finds out what kind of custody arrangement the parents are willing to have. The parents present their preferences for visitation and decision-making in a parenting plan (See S.C. Code § 63-15-220. Parenting plans).
the child wishes, if the child is mature (over 12);
the living arrangements of each parent;
how well the parents can communicate over the child’s issues;
and any other factors that are important for the child’s well-being and welfare, for example, the religious faith of the parents and the child, the nature of the parents’ divorce, relationship dynamics with the siblings, etc.
In South Carolina, the court factors in parental behavior during the determination of custody. Substance abuse, violence, and neglect can work against either parent in custody cases. The same goes for lack of involvement in the child’s care and life, abandonment, and other types of unfavorable conduct towards the child. The court decides custody at its full discretion. However, if one parent fled the house and the child in an attempt to protect themselves from domestic violence inflicted on them by the other parent, it cannot be held against them in determining custody.
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Rules for child support in Richland County
SC Code § 63-5-30 (2017) says, “The mother and father have equal power, rights, and duties.” Applying it to child support means that either the custodial or noncustodial parent of the child, both the mother and the father alike, must financially support the child after they dissolve the marriage.
To correctly determine the amount of child support, the court examines the parents’ sworn financial statements. These statements contain detailed information on their incomes, property, assets, debts, expenses, insurance, etc. Doing child support calculations, South Carolina courts use the Income Shares Model proportionally dividing an estimated amount between the parents according to their incomes.
It is common for the non-custodial parent to pay more in child support than the custodial parent because the latter already has child-related household expenses. However, some custody arrangements have both parents paying child support. South Carolina regulations determine the amount of child support based on the child’s needs and the parents’ capacity to pay.
In South Carolina, child support automatically stops as soon as the child reaches 18 or graduates from high school. College tuition is not covered by child support payments unless agreed otherwise.
To ensure that children receive child support payments, South Carolina has developed enforcement measures. If the non-custodial parents fail to pay child support, South Carolina Child Support Enforcement can suspend their license, intercept tax returns, garnish paychecks and compensation benefits, and report to credit institutions.
Rules for spousal support in Richland County
According to SC Code § 20-3-130 (2019), the court may grant temporary or permanent alimony, or spousal maintenance, on a case-to-case basis upon the requesting spouse’s motion. The court will hear the parties’ testimonies and decide whether to award alimony and if yes, whether to pay it in a lump sum or to make it a recurring payment over a specified period.
In South Carolina, a financially dependent spouse can get awarded with alimony from their partner. In contrast to many other US states, South Carolina Family Law allows the court to consider marital misconduct (for example, adultery) as an aggravating factor in alimony determination.
Either spouse may file a motion requesting to increase or decrease payments in spousal support. The court will examine each party’s financial circumstances and will make an informed decision.
the duration of the marriage and the ages of the spouses;
the health of each spouse;
the educational background of each spouse and whether any spouse needs additional training;
the past employment and earning potential of each spouse;
the standard of living established while married;
the current incomes and expenses of each spouse;
the marital and separate assets of each spouse;
custody of the children;
marital misconducts of either or both parties;
the tax consequences to each spouse;
any existing support obligation from a prior marriage or for any other reason of either party; and
such other factors the court considers relevant.
In South Carolina, the award of alimony is closely linked to the distribution of property. The receiving spouse will pay income tax on the alimony payments, whereas the payor may get alimony payments deducted from taxes.
Uncontested Richland County divorce with children
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Property division in Richland County
South Carolina's marital property laws are equitable distribution, which means that divorcing spouses in South Carolina do not automatically split their assets 50/50. Instead, the court carefully examines the couple’s current financial state, each spouse’s earning potential, and their overall assets and debts.
In particular, when a South Carolina court decides on property division, it looks into the following factors:
length of the marriage;
age and health of the spouses;
the current value of the property;
each spouse’s contribution to the property;
each spouse’s income and earning potential;
each spouse’s needs, expenses, and debts;
separate property of each spouse;
retirement benefits of each spouse;
tax consequences for each spouse;
the custody arrangement if children are involved;
marital fault or misconduct; and
any other relevant factors.
According to SC Code § 20-3-630 (2012), the court defines the couple’s property as marital or nonmarital. Non-marital property, or separate property, is any property acquired before the marriage, after the separation, or as an inheritance or gift. As soon as the court classifies and evaluates the marital property and debts, it equally distributes it between the spouses.
Mediation support in Richland County
Mediation is of great help to the courts as it helps couples resolve all their divorce-related issues out of the courtroom. Therefore, some South Caroline counties mandate mediation for divorcing spouses. If the court orders spouses to go through mediation, they must attend and cooperate, but any spouse is free to stop participating. A mediator will help the spouses go through all contested issues and collaborate. A skillful mediator will find a way for a couple to compromise on a mutually acceptable agreement.
How to file for divorce in Richland County | Step-by-Step
Check out whether you meet the requirements for a simple divorce. You are eligible to file for a simplified divorce on your own if (1) you or your spouse meets residency requirements and has lived in the state for at least one year before filing for divorce, or you and your spouse are both residents of the state and have lived there for at least three months before filing for divorce (See SC Code § 20-3-30 (2018)); (2) neither of you is at fault for the divorce, and you are filing for divorce based on the no-fault ground of one-year continuous separation, and you have not lived together at any point during that year; (3) you do not have marital property together and have agreed on how to divide assets; (4) you have no minor children with your spouse, or you have resolved custody, visitation, and support in a parental plan. If you meet the requirement, you can proceed with the steps and file for your own divorce.
Obtain, fill out, and file the court forms. Go to Onlinedivorce.com or visit a local district courthouse for divorce forms. You will get more information on completing and submitting paperwork when you start working through the process. All filing information is available at Onlinedivorce.com. And each courthouse is equipped with self-help resources and qualified staff to answer your questions, but court workers cannot give legal advice. After you completed the paperwork, notarize each signed document. Make two copies of each document. One copy goes to you and one for your spouse. The original is filed with the court’s clerk. When choosing a county to file, it can be any county where either you or your spouse are currently living or used to live when married. To file the divorce papers, you will need to pay a fee. If you cannot afford it, clarify with the clerk whether you qualify for a fee waiver. If yes, you file a Motion and Affidavit to Proceed In Forma Pauperis with the rest of the paperwork. Upon getting the judge’s approval, you will not have to pay any fees during this divorce process.
Serve the spouse. By South Caroline Law, the defendant must be informed of a divorce process through process service. Serving can be carried out (1) by hand-delivery (any of relatives or friends other than the couple’s children); (2) by a hired process server (or a sheriff); (3) by certified mail. Proof of service must be filed with the court to show that the defendant received the divorce documents and is informed of the case. In the case of a missing spouse, service is done through publication. Court permission to serve by publication is required. If you served by publication, the waiting period is longer as the court allows 60 days for Discovery.
Wait a determined time. In South Carolina, the waiting period is 35 days. After the defendant is served, he or she has 35 days to file an Answer. If there is no Answer or formal response from the defendant, it gives the court the right to enter a default judgment and finalize the divorce upon the petitioner’s request. If the Answer agrees to everything stated in the Complaint, the case proceeds to a final hearing. If the Answer disputes some or all issues, the case will go to trial.
Prepare for a court hearing. Now is the time to file the rest of the divorce forms (a request for a hearing, application for a default divorce, financial disclosure forms, etc.). The court’s clerk will schedule the date of a hearing. The petitioner is to deliver the Notice of Hearing to the defendant and if the defendant responds with a signed green card, file a notarized Affidavit of Service of Mailing with the court. If the Notice returns unsigned, the petitioner takes it to a hearing.
Attend a court hearing. For the final hearing, bring one witness to testify that you and your spouse have lived separately for a year and file a Final Order of Divorce and a Report of Divorce. After the judge asks the petitioner questions about their marriage, a divorce is granted by signing the Final Order of Divorce. However, the separation is not official until the Order is filed with the court’s clerk.
Offline and inconvenient process with attorney representation for each spouse. Costly attorney
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Filing fees for divorce in Richland County
In Richland County, South Carolina, filing for divorce will cost $150. However, if you qualify as a low-income household, you can complete a Motion for In Forma Pauperis and receive a fee waiver.
How long will it take?
If you meet South Carolina residency requirements and do not need to wait one year to file the paperwork, getting a divorce will take you at least 90 days.
From the moment you file for divorce, you need some time to serve the spouse. Then comes a 35-day waiting period. The court’s workload determines how quickly a final hearing is scheduled. On average, a simplified divorce in South Carolina takes three months.
Filing for divorce in Richland County | Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a divorce cost in Richland County It is rather challenging to come up with a ballpark number for a divorce because it greatly depends on the case. The cost of filing a simple divorce in Richland County, South Carolina, is $150. Filing each document throughout the divorce process will also cost a particular amount, depending on the paperwork. Factor in the costs of serving the other spouse too. The general rule of thumb for estimating the cost of divorce is to add all possible expenses you may have, depending on the circumstances of your case. If you have a lot of marital assets to divide, you need to hire a professional appraiser and financial planner to handle your bank accounts, retirement plans, and other financial issues. If you have no agreement over child custody and support, consider hiring a family counselor or a mediator. All these experts charge an hourly fee. If your case is complicated, but you cannot afford to hire counsel, a cheap divorce is still an option for you as you can find a pro bono program and consultations at a law clinic.
How to file for divorce in Richland County without a lawyer? In South Carolina, those divorcing couples who want to proceed without legal representation can do so in case of an uncontested divorce. The petitioner goes to a local courthouse, gets the paperwork, fills it out, and files it with the court’s clerk. That’s all it takes to start your divorce. If you feel uncertain with divorce papers, OnlineDivorce.com provides printable completed court forms and easy to follow instructions.
What are the required forms for an uncontested divorce in Richland County? A South Carolina divorce starts with the following forms:
Family Court Cover Sheet
Certificate of Exemption
Summons for Divorce
Complaint for Divorce
Financial Declaration Form (must be notarized)
The rest of the paperwork depends on the details of your divorce case.
Can I file for legal separation in Richland County, South Carolina? Although South Carolina has a mandatory one-year separation period before filing for divorce, it does not recognize legal separation. File an Order of Separate Support and Maintenance to manage custody, property, and debts during the separation period leading up to a divorce.
When is it allowed to remarry after a divorce? South Carolina has no post-divorce remarriage waiting period. Former spouses can get remarried as soon as they obtain the signed final order of divorce.
Divorce in Richland County online
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Here is how OnlineDivorce.com makes completing divorce papers easier:
We provide the full divorce packet required by the local court - clients do not need to drive to their local courthouse to get the blank forms or search for the right divorce forms online. In rare cases, local county forms can vary in color, paper material, size, or bar code, so they may need to be obtained directly from the county clerk's office.
We complete the necessary forms for clients based on their answers given in a simple guided online interview - clients do not need to understand family law or read through complicated instructions to figure out how to fill out the forms themselves.
We give detailed, easy to follow step-by-step instructions for filing a divorce with the court - so the client knows exactly what to do to get his/her divorce finalized.
We provide unlimited technical support - if a client needs assistance through the online process, he/she can always reach out to us via phone, email, or live chat, and we'll do our best to help.
We save our clients time and money - if divorcing spouses agree regarding the terms of their divorce, they typically don’t have to pay thousands to a lawyer to handle their divorce forms and don't need to spend hours trying to do it all by themselves.
We guarantee 100% court approval on divorce papers prepared through our website or your money back - we have 21 years of experience in completing divorce forms so clients can be sure the court will accept their documents without issues.
Divorce Courts in Richland County, South Carolina
Michelle M. Hurley
Gwendlyne Y. Jones
Dorothy Mobley Jones
Donna S. Strom
Leslie K. Riddle
Jeanette W. McBride
1701 Main Street, Ste. 314, Columbia, South Carolina 29202
With a contested divorce, spouses will have to go through numerous steps before the divorce is finalized, including:
prepare, file, and serve (deliver) the divorce petition
respond to the petition
interview and hire an attorney
pre-trial legal motions and hearings
settlement proposals and negotiations between attorneys
if settlement fails, prepare for and complete a court trial
appeal, if you dispute the trial judge’s decision(s)
Prepare to pay exorbitant attorney's fees - at least $2000-3000 depending on your case’s complexity.
Hourly rates vary with different attorneys and average $250-300 per hour. In rural areas, attorneys
may charge less. However, if you live in a large city, local attorneys may charge up to $1000 per hour.
At first glance, using such sites may look like an easy way to go, but it may turn into additional
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long processing times - do you like waiting?
inexperienced and poorly-trained customer support
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lack of guidance during the process
hidden fees, e.g., for any, even the simplest, revisions
outdated divorce forms causing court rejection
Did you know that some online divorce providers have virtual addresses in the US because they are
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be rejected by the court. The result? Those people lose their time and money because these
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