Family Law & Divorce

Family law is very personal and requires an attorney who will focus on you and your particular needs.  You or your spouse may be filing for a divorce, or you may need an attorney to help you enforce or change a court order of visitation, custody, or child support.  I am able to try and help you solve any Family Court issues.

Divorce

There are several different ways I can help you pursue a marital dissolution, an equitable division of your marital estate, and if applicable a visitation schedule that is fair to you and your children.  You may choose a litigation-based divorce, or we can try to use a mediator to reach an out-of-court agreement with your spouse.  While litigation relies on a judge to determine the final outcome, mediation includes the ability to significantly minimize the time you spend in a courtroom.  It may help to relieve the stress of having to air your personal life in public.

When children are involved, the decision to end a marriage becomes even more delicate.  With fairness in mind, I'll focus on you and the best way to reach a fair outcome.

Grounds for Divorce in South Carolina

South Carolina recognizes 5 grounds for dissolving a marriage: (1) A spouse's habitual drunkenness, including habitual drug use; (2) Adultery; (3) Desertion for a period of 1 year; (4) Physical cruelty; and (5) Mutual separation for a period of 1 year.  A 1-year period of separation is the only "no fault" divorce ground that South Carolina courts recognize.

Court Litigation

Litigation is the traditional, court-supervised method of pursuing a divorce.  One of the divorcing spouses files a divorce action with the Family Court, the parties' attorneys present their cases to a judge, and the judge renders the ultimate decision on whether to grant the divorce and how to divide the marital assets.  The litigation process is very formal and rule-based, and if there are contested issues, then multiple court appearances are often required.  Although a litigation-based divorce may require much more time than a mediated divorce, deciding to end a marriage is an emotional and stressful process, and this sometimes prevents the parties from reaching an agreement on their own.  When court intervention is necessary, it's important for you to have a lawyer who understands the rules and processes of the Family Court.

Mediation

In a mediation-based divorce, a neutral third party acts as an intermediary between you and your spouse.  The mediator works with both parties, and his or her job is to help the divorcing spouses to come to an agreement.  That agreement is then presented to the Family Court for a judge's approval.  The mediator is trained to broker these agreements, and all mediation negotiations remain strictly confidential.  If the parties can't come to an agreement they both approve, then the divorce will proceed in Family Court.

If you or your spouse has decided to seek a divorce or you are interested in exploring the options available to you, I can help you reach a final outcome that lets you move forward with your life.

Visitation Orders

When spouses with children divorce, the Family Court will typically order a visitation schedule for the non-custodial payment so that he or she may continue seeing their children.  Sometimes, however, the custodial parent refuses to allow the other parent to see the children.  This can have a devastating impact on the children's well-being and puts the parent seeking visitation in a very awkward position.  If your former spouse or custodial parent of your child is violating a Family Court order to allow you visitation, I can help you formally ask the court to enforce the order so you can continue being a part of your child's life.

Enforcement of Child Support Orders

Your children's financial well-being is extremely important, and a violation of a Family Court order requiring your spouse to pay child support is a very serious issue.  If your former spouse or the non-custodial parent of your children is refusing to make required child support payments, your children's quality of life may suffer, and you'll have an unnecessary extra financial burden.  In some situations, a court order is the only way to make the non-paying parent support his or her children like a responsible adult.  I'll focus on your particular needs and make sure that your and your children's best interests are fully represented to the court.

On the other side of the coin, if you are required to pay child support, sometimes the Family Court allows you to modify the amount you must pay.  Life is unpredictable, and your financial situation may change due to losing a job or many other unexpected circumstances.  I can help determine whether the Family Court might find you eligible for a modification of your child support obligations, and I'll do everything necessary on your behalf to formally ask the court to change your support order.

If you're involved in a divorce, a Family Court order, or any other type of Family Court issue, I'm available to meet with you and discuss your options.