Service Tag: separate maintenance


Divorce can be a very stressful and emotionally draining process. It is likely one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make. If you are considering divorcing your spouse, you should speak with a family law attorney before beginning the process to ensure that you preserve your rights and receive the best outcome for you and your family.

Grounds for Divorce

in South Carolina

There are five grounds for obtaining a divorce in South Carolina. Four are “fault grounds” and one is a “no fault” divorce:

Grounds for divorce in south carolina
Divorce in South Carolina

In a divorce proceeding, the Court will hear all facts and consider all relevant evidence when making a final ruling on the issues related to child custody, child support, visitation, and property and asset division. So it’s important to present your best case to the Court in an effective manner with the help of an experienced attorney. 

If your case does not meet one of the five grounds for divorce, you can petition the Court for Separate Support and Maintenance, which will give you and your spouse permission to live separately, to divide your marital property and assets, and to determine custody and child support. After one year has passed, then you would be entitled to seek divorce based on one year continuous separation. Note, you do not need to wait for one year if you meet one of the other four grounds for divorce. 

You and your spouse always have the option to forego a lengthy and time consuming trial by signing a marital settlement agreement. Both you and your spouse, whether represented by attorneys or not, can draft an agreement where you are the decision makers in your own case. You decide how to handle the child custody, child support, alimony, divide the property and assets, who shall remain in the marital home, and designate who keeps certain property, etc. Going this route allows you to take control of your own life and make decisions for your family rather than having a Judge decide how you should live your life. It saves you time and a ton of money.

Let us represent you in your divorce proceeding to ensure you preserve your rights and have the best chance of receiving a favorable outcome for you and your family.  We will present you with all options (i.e., settlement agreement, mediation, or trial) and help you to make the best decision for your case. If you would like our assistance, call us today for your case review. 

Upstate Business Journal, The Legal Issue, “Local Attorney Advocates for Domestic Violence Victims” (June 2019)

Safe Harbor staff attorney, Shanise Greenfield, is a voice for the voiceless. Safe Harbor Launches Legal Program 

Separate Support and Maintenance

South Carolina Family Courts issue Orders of Separate Support and Maintenance, which allow the parties to reside in separate households while also ordering specific details regarding the parties’ child custody, visitation, and support arrangements, as well as dividing the marital assets, liabilities and ordering marital debt payments. An Order of Separate Maintenance and Support is a temporary order; it does not cover the issue of divorce, and it does not end the parties’ marriage.

Either spouse may file an action for Separate Support and Maintenance, so long as the parties are living separate and apart. They must be living in completely separate residences – for example, living in the basement of the house under the same roof does not suffice as a separate residence. Sometimes there are circumstances where if one of the parties refuses to move out, one party can still file an action for Separate Support and Maintenance and seek an order requiring the other party to vacate the property. In those situations, the Court may order one party to remain in the marital home – usually the parent that usually takes care of the minor children, or one with other extenuating circumstances.

Issues Addressed in Maintenance or Support Orders

IN South Carolina

The issues addressed in maintenance and support orders in South Carolina are as follows: 

The issues not addressed in these orders are:  dividing retirement accounts, using life insurance as collateral for alimony, awarding post-divorce alimony, and divorce. These are final issues that will only be addressed once at a final hearing  or in a final order.

Avoid Expensive Litigation

Greenfield Law office Can help you today!

To avoid the expenses of litigation, the spouse can reach an agreement on the above issues, which the Judge will review to ensure it is fair to both parties, in the best interest of their minor children, and that it follows South Carolina law. If approved, the Agreement will be made an Order of the  court.