Division of Assets Attorneys


Helping You Protect Your Share of Marital Assets

When you or your spouse files for divorce, one of your main concerns is probably whether the division of assets will be in your favor. Will you get to retain the assets that you want? What about marital debts? Will you get stuck with debts that your spouse acquired during your marriage? At Fender Law Firm, we have over 25 years of experience representing families in South Carolina, including Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper Counties. Let us represent your interests in the division of assets and debts in your divorce.

How Property Division Works in a South Carolina Divorce

South Carolina is an equitable distribution divorce state, meaning that if your case goes to court, the court will hear both sides and determine which spouse gets which assets and debts according to what it believes is fair. To make that decision, the court must determine:
  • Whether an asset is a separate or marital property
  • Calculating the value of marital assets and debts
  • A fair distribution of marital debts and assets
At Fender Law Firm, we can help you fight to keep certain assets or debts as separate property, such as by keeping the family home that you inherited from your parents when they passed away, or arguing that your spouse’s gambling debts should be separate from the shared marital debt.

Marital vs. Separate Property in a Divorce

What is the difference between marital and separate property? Marital property is shared property that you and your spouse acquired for or during the marriage. This often includes the family home that you live in, income earned by either spouse, joint investment accounts, and vehicles. Other marital property may include retirement account funds you contributed during the marriage. Non-marital property (separate property) is property that one spouse acquired:
  • Before the marriage
  • During the marriage using income acquired before the beginning of the marriage
  • Through an inheritance or gift named only to that spouse
Determining whether an asset is marital or separate property can be difficult in cases of real estate, where one spouse may have purchased the property before the marriage, but used income earned after the beginning of the marriage to continue making mortgage payments. Other issues may arise if both spouses contributed to a family business to help it grow and increase profits.

Dividing Debts in a South Carolina Divorce

Similar to assets, debts that you and your spouse acquired during the course of the marriage constitute marital debts. If your spouse bought a car or ran up a large credit card balance, you share those debts with them. Many divorces cite financial irresponsibility as a reason for the divorce, as one spouse depleting marital assets can strain the relationship beyond repair. An attorney from our firm can help you demonstrate that your spouse acquired certain large debts without your knowledge or consent, including personal loans, credit card debt, gambling debts, or spending on an extramarital affair.

Property Division in Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce in South Carolina

An uncontested divorce, called a “simple divorce” in South Carolina, is a divorce that you and your spouse can file if you agree to all terms concerning child custody (if you have minor children), child support, and division of assets and debts. Additionally, you and your spouse must agree on issues such as child custody and alimony and must have lived “separate and apart” for at least one year. The benefits of a simple divorce are fewer court costs and more agreeable property division for assets and debts between you and your spouse. However, even if you don’t need to argue your case in court, having an attorney at your side to help you find and determine the value of certain assets and debts can be helpful in negotiating a fair settlement with your spouse. In a contested divorce case, you can file for either a fault or no-fault divorce. In a fault divorce, you must prove your spouse committed any of the acceptable grounds for fault divorce in South Carolina, including:
  • Habitual drunkenness or drug use
  • Desertion
  • Physical cruelty
  • Adultery
If you and your spouse agree on the divorce but can’t settle on property division, child custody, child support, or one spouse wants to pursue alimony, you can file for a no-fault contested divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. A court will hear testimony from you and your spouse and review evidence that you both provide. In these cases, the court will use the facts of the case to determine an equitable distribution of marital assets and debts between the divorcing spouses. To argue a contested divorce against your spouse in court, contact us at Fender Law Firm. We can represent your interests in the divorce to help you fight for a fair division of the marital property.

Factors the Court Considers for South Carolina Property Division

If your case goes to court, what factors will the court consider when determining a fair distribution of assets and debts? In South Carolina, courts include several facts from the case in their distribution, including:
  • Whether it is in the best interest of you or your spouse to retain the family home (such as for primary custody of minor children)
  • Education and work experience of you and your spouse and if one spouse needs additional training to reenter the workforce
  • Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage and household, including domestic work
  • Whether you or your spouse will pay alimony
  • Retirement benefits available to you and your spouse
  • Current financial position and income of you and your spouse
  • Marital debts
  • Marital misconduct that contributed to the dissolution of the marriage
  • Non-marital property you and your spouse will retain after the divorce
The judge will weigh these factors according to their own discretion, meaning that it is important you have an experienced family law attorney at your side.

What if Your Spouse Hides Assets During the Divorce?

The courts will look at financial statements from both parties during the divorce. Each spouse has a legal obligation to be open and honest about their earnings, retirement funds, accounts, assets, and debts. However, some spouses try to retain their assets through subterfuge by keeping secret accounts or purchasing and hiding physical assets in their name only. If you suspect your spouse is attempting to hide marital assets, our attorneys can use legal means to discover any hidden assets, including requesting a court order to turn over financial records or hiring a forensic accountant to track contributions and expenditures from your joint accounts.

How an Experienced Divorce Attorney Can Help

Divorces can be complex legal matters, especially if you and your spouse acquired many assets or debts during your marriage. At Fender Law Firm, we strive to handle as much as possible in your divorce so you can focus on your family. We can help you come to an agreement in an uncontested divorce or uncover records of your spouse squandering or intentionally depleting marital assets.

Contact Our Experienced Divorce Attorneys at Fender Law Firm

For help pursuing a fair division of assets in your South Carolina divorce, contact us today at Fender Law Firm. Located in Beaufort, SC, we proudly represent families throughout the Fourteenth Circuit Court. Call us today at 843-379-4888 or contact us online to schedule your consultation.

Proudly serving the Beaufort community for three generations

We bring over 25 years of experience to your case and will work patiently and tirelessly to bring you peace of mind.

Our roots run deep and date back to the Dowling & Dowling firm founded in 1941. Attorney Addison Fender continued his family's legacy in 2010 when he and his wife Tracy, one of the county's most experienced paralegals, opened Fender Law Firm. Guided by the practice's long standing values of compassion, honesty and fairness, our highly skilled team offers family legal services in the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit, including Beaufort County, Jasper County, Colleton County, Hampton County, and Allendale County. Beaufort, Blufton, Hilton Head and surrounding areas.

beaufort family law

Book a Consultation

If you find yourself in need of Family Law representation, don’t wait another day to reach out and set up a consultation. Put the experienced team at Fender Law Firm on your side to help reach your goals. Call 843-379-4888 right now, or fill out the form below.