beaufort family law

10 Important Questions to Ask a South Carolina Divorce Lawyer During a Consultation

We’ll go over the best questions to ask a divorce lawyer during a consultation. The answers should give you deeper insight into the attorney, their law firm, and how helpful they will be for your divorce case.

SC Divorce Process

What to Do When Your Spouse is Delaying the Divorce Process in South Carolina

Fender Law, a premier Family Law firm based in Beaufort, excels in offering specialized legal
support for divorce proceedings. If you find yourself in a predicament where your spouse is
purposefully prolonging the divorce process, our skilled team at Fender Law is well-equipped to
steer you through the intricacies, ensuring a smooth journey towards a resolution.
What Happens During a Divorce Proceeding in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, as in many other states, the divorce process encompasses several critical steps
and factors. Below is a refined overview of the typical proceedings in a South Carolina divorce:

  1. Filing the Complaint: The divorce process usually begins with one spouse (the plaintiff)
    filing a complaint for divorce with the family court in the county where either spouse
    resides. The complaint outlines the grounds for divorce, which can include no-fault
    grounds like living separate and apart without cohabitation for a certain period of time, or
    fault grounds such as adultery, physical cruelty, habitual drunkenness, or desertion.
  2. Serving the Complaint: After filing, the plaintiff must serve the complaint and summons
    to the other spouse (the defendant). This can be done by a process server or through
    certified mail with return receipt requested.
  3. Response: The defendant has a certain period of time to respond to the complaint, either
    by filing an answer admitting or denying the allegations, or by filing a counterclaim with
    their own requests or defenses.
  4. Temporary Orders: In some cases, either spouse may request temporary orders for child
    custody, child support, alimony, or use of property during the divorce process. These
    orders remain in effect until the final divorce decree is issued.
  5. Discovery: Both parties exchange information and documents relevant to the divorce
    through a process known as discovery. This may include financial documents, property
    deeds, tax returns, and other evidence.
  6. Settlement Negotiations: Parties may attempt to reach an agreement on issues such as
    property division, child custody, visitation, and support through negotiation or mediation.
  7. Trial: If the parties are unable to reach a settlement, the case may proceed to trial. During
    the trial, both parties present evidence and arguments, and the judge makes decisions on
    contested issues based on the evidence presented and applicable law.
  8. Final Decree: Once all issues are resolved, either through settlement or trial, the court
    issues a final decree of divorce. This document officially terminates the marriage and
    outlines the terms of the divorce, including custody, support, and property division.
  9. Post-Divorce Matters: After the divorce is finalized, parties may need to address post-
    divorce matters such as compliance with court orders, modification of custody or support
    orders, or enforcement of the divorce decree.

Reasons Your Spouse May Attempt Delaying Divorce

Understanding the motivations behind postponing a divorce can help in resolving conflicts:

  1. Mental and Emotional Impact: Often, delays arise from an emotional strategy aimed at
    inflicting distress upon the other spouse.
  2. Public Perception Management: Some individuals postpone their divorce to shape how
    the public views the situation or to shift blame away from their own actions.
  3. Resistance to Change: The fear of facing new life challenges, such as relocating or
    adapting to altered financial realities, can cause individuals to stall the process.
  4. Decision-making Paralysis: The inability to make definitive choices can significantly
    extend the duration of the proceedings.
    The Consequences of Postponing Divorce
    Deliberate postponement of divorce proceedings can lead to several adverse outcomes:
  5. Mental Health Deterioration: Extended divorce processes can intensify existing mental
    health conditions.
  6. Economic Difficulties: The financial burden of divorce tends to escalate with time.
  7. Relationship Tensions: Procrastinating on divorce can worsen relationships with the
    former spouse and others.
  8. Obstructed Emotional Recovery: The absence of closure hampers both individuals'
    ability to move on.
    Additional Legal Actions for Continuing the Divorce
    Legal measures, including sanctions or setting a trial date, can motivate progress in the divorce
    Fender Law Offers Consultations for Divorce Cases
    At Fender Law, we understand the challenges of divorce proceedings and are committed to
    providing effective legal representation. If your spouse is intentionally delaying the process, our
    team is here to assist you in achieving a resolution. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
SC Divorce Process

How Divorce Proceedings Work in South Carolina

If you find yourself in a predicament where your spouse is
purposefully prolonging the divorce process, our skilled team at Fender Law is well-equipped to
steer you through the intricacies, ensuring a smooth journey towards a resolution.


Understanding the 10-10 Rule in Military Divorce in South Carolina | Fender Law Firm

Military divorces present unique challenges, especially when dividing assets and benefits accrued during service. Understanding the 10-10 Rule in South Carolina is crucial for individuals going through a military divorce. At Fender Law Firm, we specialize in guiding clients through the complexities of military divorce proceedings, including the 10-10 Rule implications.

Debt in a South Carolina Divorce

Navigating Student Loan Debt in a South Carolina Divorce: Your Responsibilities Unveiled

Divorce is a complex and emotional process, and matters become even more intricate regarding financial obligations. One such concern often arises is the responsibility for student loan debt. In the state of South Carolina, understanding the nuances of this issue is crucial for individuals going through a divorce. In this blog post, we'll delve into whether you are responsible for your ex-spouse's student loan debt in a South Carolina divorce.

Understanding Marital Property in South Carolina:

South Carolina operates under an equitable distribution system when dividing marital assets and debts during a divorce. Equitable distribution does not necessarily mean an equal 50-50 split but aims to achieve a fair and just division based on various factors.

Is Student Loan Debt Considered Marital Debt?

Whether student loan debt is classified as marital debt depends on when the loans were incurred. If the loans were taken out during the marriage, they are generally considered marital debt. However, if the loans were acquired before the marriage or after the separation, they may be treated as separate debt.

Factors Affecting Debt Division in a Divorce:

When dividing marital debt, the court considers several factors to ensure an equitable distribution. Some of these factors include:

  • Duration of the Marriage: The length of the marriage plays a role in determining the financial interdependence of the spouses.
  • Contributions to the Marriage: Financial and non-financial Contributions are assessed. This includes factors such as homemaking, childcare, and career sacrifices.
  • Earning Capacities: The court evaluates the earning capacities of each spouse, taking into account their current and future financial situations.
  • Custody Arrangements: Custody arrangements may impact the division of assets and debts if children are involved.
  • Fault in the Marriage Breakdown: While South Carolina is a no-fault divorce state, the court may consider any misconduct that led to the marriage breakdown when making financial decisions.

Protecting Yourself:

If you're concerned about being held responsible for your ex-spouse's student loan debt, taking proactive steps is essential. This may involve:

  • Detailed Financial Disclosure: Ensure that all financial assets and debts are accurately disclosed during divorce proceedings.
  • Legal Counsel: Seek the guidance of an experienced family law attorney who can advocate for your interests and help you navigate the complexities of asset and debt division.
  • Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement: Having a legally binding agreement in place before or during the marriage can provide clarity on financial responsibilities in the event of a divorce.

Contact our Family Law Firm Today for Guidance 

In a South Carolina divorce, the division of student loan debt depends on various factors, and each case is unique. Seeking professional legal advice is crucial to understanding your rights and responsibilities. As you navigate the complexities of divorce, Fender Law is here to provide the expertise and guidance you need for a fair and just resolution.

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Navigating Property Division in a Divorce: A Guide to South Carolina Divorce Law

Gain insight into navigating property division during a divorce in South Carolina through this comprehensive guide. Understand the nuances of marital and separate property, the equitable distribution principle, and the factors influencing the division. Discover how Fender Law Firm, led by attorney Addison Fender, can provide expert legal counsel for fair resolutions in divorce proceedings. Schedule a consultation for knowledgeable guidance through the complexities of property division in your divorce


How is a Military Pension Divided in South Carolina

Dividing a military pension in a divorce can be a complex and often contentious issue. It is essential to seek professional legal advice from an experienced divorce attorney who is knowledgeable about both South Carolina divorce laws and federal military laws. At Fender Law Firm, we have helped numerous clients navigate the complexities of dividing a military pension in a divorce.


Tax Considerations That Can Impact a High Net-Worth Divorce

f you are going through a high net-worth divorce, it is crucial to partner with an experienced family law attorney who can help you understand the legal issues you will need to address and the potential tax ramifications of divorce-related decisions.

Adult daughter and mother after quarrel

Common Reasons for Divorce Among Empty Nesters

The empty nest phase occurs when children leave home to embark on their journeys and can be a
dynamic mix of liberation and challenges for couples. After dedicating decades to parenting and
nurturing their children, many couples eagerly anticipate a newfound sense of freedom and an
opportunity to rekindle their connection. Nevertheless, this transitional stage may also unearth
long-simmering issues lurking beneath the surface for years. Surprisingly, even empty nesters are
not immune to the possibility of divorce.

In this blog post, we'll delve into why divorce can become a reality for empty nesters, shedding light on couples' unique challenges during this pivotal phase of life.

  1. Communication Breakdown
    A communication breakdown is one of the most common reasons for divorce among empty
    nesters. For many couples, the demands of raising children often precede their relationship.
    When children leave home, couples may suddenly face an empty house with a sense of loss and a
    lack of shared interests. This void can become glaringly apparent if they haven't maintained
    effective communication throughout the years. Couples need to prioritize open and honest
    communication to ensure that they remain connected as their roles evolve.
  2. Growing Apart
    Empty nesters may discover that they have grown apart over the years. The intense focus on
    parenting and the various responsibilities of raising children can sometimes overshadow the
    couple's needs and interests. Couples may realize they no longer share the same goals, values, or
    hobbies as children move out. This growing disconnect can lead to feelings of loneliness and
    dissatisfaction, prompting some couples to consider divorce as a way to pursue individual paths.
  3. Empty Nest Syndrome
    Empty nest syndrome is a phenomenon in which parents experience sadness, grief, or even
    depression when their children leave home. While this is a normal emotional response, it can
    exacerbate existing marital issues. Couples who struggle to cope with the emptiness and
    loneliness may find themselves drifting further apart. Seeking therapy or counseling can
    effectively address these emotional challenges and strengthen the marital bond.
  4. Rekindling Past Conflicts
    The empty nest phase can sometimes bring past conflicts to the surface. Issues that were
    temporarily set aside due to the demands of parenting may resurface as couples find themselves
    with more time on their hands. Whether unresolved disagreements or long-buried resentments,
    these past conflicts can disrupt the harmony in the relationship and lead to divorce if left
  5. Infidelity
    Infidelity can be a challenging issue that arises among empty nesters. With children out of the
    house and more free time on their hands, some individuals may seek new connections outside of
    their marriage. Infidelity can erode trust and lead to the breakdown of a marriage, making it a
    significant factor in divorce among empty nesters. Rebuilding trust through therapy and
    communication can be critical in saving a marriage affected by infidelity.
  6. Retirement and Financial Stress
    As couples approach retirement age, financial concerns can become a source of tension. Empty
    nesters often reassess their financial situation and may need to prepare for retirement due to the expenses associated with raising children. This financial stress can lead to arguments and disagreements, potentially contributing to divorce. Couples need to discuss their financial plans openly and seek professional advice to ensure a secure retirement.
  1. Loss of Identity
    Some individuals may struggle with losing identity when their children leave home. For years,
    their role as a parent defined much of their identity, and when that role diminishes, they may feel
    adrift. This loss of identity can lead to feelings of purposelessness and dissatisfaction within the
    marriage. Individuals must explore new interests and passions to rediscover their sense of self
    and maintain a healthy relationship with their spouse.
  2. Health Issues
    The aging process can bring about health issues that impact marital relationships. Empty nesters
    may face significant health challenges, and caring for a spouse with health problems can strain
    the marriage. The stress and emotional toll of managing health issues can sometimes lead to
    divorce if couples cannot find effective ways to cope and support each other.
  3. Lack of Intimacy
    Intimacy is a vital component of any successful marriage. Over the years, the demands of
    parenting and busy schedules can lead to a decline in physical and emotional intimacy. When
    children leave home, some couples may find it challenging to rekindle the spark in their
    relationship. A lack of intimacy can lead to disconnection and dissatisfaction, ultimately leading
    to divorce.
  4. Unrealistic Expectations
    Empty nesters may have unrealistic expectations about what this phase of life should look like.
    Some couples envision it as a time of endless romantic adventures and newfound closeness.
    When reality falls short of these expectations, disappointment can set in. Couples must have
    realistic expectations and work together to create a fulfilling life as empty nesters.

The empty nest phase of life is a significant transition that can bring both joy and challenges to couples. While divorce is not inevitable, empty nesters need to recognize the potential reasons for divorce and take proactive steps to strengthen their relationship. Open communication, seeking professional help when needed, and working together to navigate the changes that come with an empty nest can help couples maintain a happy and fulfilling marriage as they enter this new chapter of their lives. At Fender Law Firm, we understand the complexities of divorce, and we're here to provide expert guidance and support to individuals and couples facing this challenging decision. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you need legal assistance or advice during your divorce journey. Your future is important to us, and we're here to help you navigate it confidently and clearly.

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Divorce Do's and Don'ts from a Top-Rated South Carolina Divorce Attorney: Winning the Judge's Favor and Protecting Your Future

Navigating the intricate labyrinth of emotions and legal complexities when contemplating a divorce can feel overwhelming and daunting. In such a pivotal moment, seeking clarity and guidance becomes essential to make informed decisions that will shape the course of your life. This blog post acts as a compass in those uncharted waters, offering insightful advice and practical steps to take if you find yourself at the crossroads of considering a divorce. Whether you're grappling with uncertainty or ready to take the next steps, understanding the upcoming process and potential challenges can empower you to embark on this journey with confidence and a clear sense of direction.


When it comes to making an impression, focus solely on one person: the judge. Evaluate your actions by considering how the judge will perceive them. If you believe your behavior might offend or irritate the judge, it's best to avoid it. Since self-assessment can be biased, it's crucial to engage a knowledgeable lawyer who understands the judge and possesses sound judgement. 


Avoid sending text messages, emails, or Facebook posts while feeling angry. Your spouse may exploit them if given the chance. Keep in mind that the judge might come across your enraged text or incriminating social media post. Ensure that whatever you write or say will not offend the judge or be something you'd regret seeing on the front page of the newspaper.


Just before a divorce begins, it is common for individuals to experience fear and vulnerability. Consequently, some may resort to making threats or engaging in disruptive behavior. It is crucial to refrain from such actions and avoid responding to them. Instead, if your spouse behaves inappropriately, consider contacting the police or pursuing an order of protection, which can be obtained without filing for divorce. Throughout this challenging period, especially if you have children, strive to maintain a sense of normalcy.


Avoid engaging in financial misconduct or attempting to conceal assets. It is probable that your spouse's attorney will discover such actions. Moreover, engaging in such behavior may backfire and result in the judge lacking trust in you. If you have concerns about your spouse's potential financial actions, we urge you to contact us promptly. We can initiate legal measures to safeguard your interests through court orders.


While it's important not to be overly suspicious, some individuals may monitor their spouse's movements through GPS or even spy on their computer using spyware. To address this issue, consider changing all your passwords and ensuring that your spouse is not associated with any of your cell phone accounts. If you still have concerns, exercise caution and reach out to us. We can take appropriate action to address this behavior once you have filed a case.


Divorce can be a highly stressful experience, impacting even the strongest individuals. To preserve your emotional well-being during this challenging period, it is important to prioritize self-care. This includes maintaining a balanced diet, ensuring sufficient sleep, engaging in regular exercise, and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption. It may also be beneficial to seek guidance from a clergyman or therapist to gain perspective and support. Remember, this difficult phase will pass. Although you may currently feel overwhelmed and uncertain, your life will gradually improve. It is during the darkest moments that the dawn draws near. Many people not only survive divorce but thrive in their new lives. And so can you!

Consider these tips if you expect a divorce in the near future: 


It is advisable to refrain from making significant purchases or taking on new financial obligations during this period. It is prudent to minimize new debt and maintain low credit card balances while prioritizing liquidity. If you do not have personal credit, consider applying for a credit card and include your spouse's income in the application.


Sometimes individuals believe that quitting their job will give them a tactical advantage. However, if your judge suspects any financial manipulation, this strategy will likely have adverse consequences. It is advisable to maintain your current employment status unless you have a valid and compelling reason to pursue a job change.


This is an opportune moment to assess for any underlying health issues. If you rely on your spouse's health insurance, it is advisable to seek treatment while still covered under their plan.


If you are unsure about your family's financial situation, it would be beneficial to investigate. Obtaining copies of tax returns or other significant documents will greatly assist us in commencing the process. However, if you encounter difficulties in acquiring this information, rest assured that we will be able to obtain the necessary records during the discovery process of the case. 


 Document crucial conversations or information as a point of reference for future use. This becomes especially vital in the event of custody disputes. Safeguard the journal in a secure location to prevent your spouse from gaining access.


 Ensure you monitor your credit to avoid any unexpected debts that may have slipped under your radar.


Recording conversations is legal in South Carolina, but it may be illegal in other states. Check your state law before doing so.


Refrain from sharing anything on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, or any other social media platform that may potentially have negative consequences in the future. Although it is legally prohibited to delete information in anticipation of a divorce filing, it is advisable and permissible to deactivate your account.

Grandparents Visitation Rights in SC

Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights in South Carolina?

As a third-generation Beaufort Attorney, Fender Law Firm is highly sympathetic to grandparents’ rights, and we cherish family. We understand how painful it can be when you have a special bond with your grandchild, and you’re unable to see each other often, if at all. Contact Fender Law Firm at (843) 379-4888 to discuss your rights as a South Carolina grandparent.

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Beaufort, SC 29902

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