You've decided to divorce your spouse, one of the most difficult decisions you've likely ever made. Whether you experience an amicable separation or nearly endless disputes, let the family law professionals at Fender Law Firm in Bluffton, SC, provide you with the support you need. We'll bring our decades of family law experience to your case and provide compassionate and tenacious representation.
The Bluffton divorce attorneys at Fender Law Firm understand what it takes to find fairness in the South Carolina family court system. We've helped clients with child custody and visitation disputes, military divorces, cases of abuse, and more receive desirable outcomes. We have a reputation in our community for exceeding client expectations. See for yourself by scrolling down and reading the reviews from past clients.
Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce
In South Carolina, an uncontested divorce occurs when the divorcing couple agrees on the terms, creating a smooth, peaceful, and often faster process. Unfortunately, coming to an agreement is not always possible. Contested divorces result when the couple cannot agree on the divorce terms, such as child custody and visitation, child support, alimony, or the division of debt or property. Contested divorces may also result when at-fault grounds exist. These include:
Settling the terms of a contested divorce requires going to family court and arguing your case. The family court judge determines what represents a fair distribution of property and other assets, who gets custody of minor children, and the other factors of divorce.
Uncontested divorces do not require a judge's participation other than the approval of the Agreement. If you're going through a divorce, whether it is contested or not, protect yourself with the help of an experienced divorce lawyer.
Filing for Divorce in South Carolina
You must meet specific requirements to file for divorce under South Carolina law. A judge may grant an at-fault divorce in as few as 90 days if the filing party can prove the following:
When no such grounds exist, the requirements change.
South Carolina allows couples to dissolve their marriages under no-fault divorces. If you and your spouse want to file for a no-fault divorce, you must be separated continuously for at least one year prior. If you have lived with your spouse within the past year and have no grounds for an at-fault divorce, you must wait until after that one-year mark before filing for the divorce. That said, it is possible to resolve all of the issues stemming from the dissolution of the marriage prior to the one year mark through a Separate Support and Maintenance action. For more information on How long does divorce take in South Carolina?
Equitable Distribution and the Division of Assets in Bluffton, SC
Bluffton is a growing town outside of Hilton Head, SC. It is home to the largest 55-and-older active community, Sun City. Many of our clients have questions about the division of assets in Bluffton and how S.C. state law addresses the allocation of marital property during a divorce. South Carolina law follows "equitable distribution," which means a judge has complete discretion regarding asset division, and the split is not always 50-50. Even if your divorce is amicable, you still must undergo the equitable distribution process. Unfortunately, no laws state which spouse gets what during a Bluffton divorce. Instead, the judge will consider many factors, including:
Asset division is complicated enough, but high net worth individuals with complex assets and debts face even more challenges regarding the disclosure, valuation, and separation of marital property. Therefore, having a divorce lawyer on your side during the equitable distribution process is critical to ensure you get a fair deal. Fortunately, our team at Fender Law Firm is here to help you navigate asset division in Bluffton. We'll be there every step, no matter how simple or complex your divorce may be.
Fender Law Firm Is on Your Side
The Bluffton divorce attorneys at Fender Law Firm can help with every aspect of your divorce case. Our family law practice has the experience needed for legal separations, custody disputes, mediation, and military divorces.
You might consider separating if you and your spouse aren't sure a divorce is necessary, or you do not qualify for a no-fault or at-fault divorce. In South Carolina, a legal separation involves filing a separate support and maintenance action. Although this does not dissolve the marriage, it typically includes measures, such as stopping either spouse from getting rid of shared marital property.
Our lawyers offer child-focused representation for child custody disputes. If your divorce involves minor children, you must decide what custody arrangement to pursue. We'll help you with all elements of this, including visitation, order enforcement, and child support, to seek a mutually agreed-upon arrangement.
The mediation process provides a neutral, moderated space where a divorcing couple can discuss the terms of the divorce with the help of a family court professional. Having a mediator helps prevent miscommunications and high emotions from creating undue complications. Mediation offers a great solution if you and your spouse can conduct yourselves civilly.
When a divorce involves one or more members of the U.S. armed forces, military benefits like healthcare and pensions cause added confusion and stress. Our family law attorneys understand the unique factors present in a military divorce and can provide you with experienced representation.
Trusted Family Law Attorneys
Fender Law Firm founder Addison Dowling Fender is a third-generation lawyer proudly providing legal services to the community he grew up in with his co-founder and wife Tracy, an experienced paralegal. Raised in nearby Beaufort, Addison Fender now brings his family law practice to Bluffton, a growing town outside of Hilton Head with the most significant 55-and-older active community, Sun City. Addison and his team provide honest and family-focused representation to divorce clients throughout the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit. Clients are regularly impressed by the personal, dedicated representation of Addison Fender and his team and their willingness to go above and beyond. Visit this link to learn more about the people behind Fender Law Firm.