Uncontested Divorce Attorneys

Best Divorce Lawyer in Beaufort, SC

Helping You Navigate Divorce Smoothly and Amicably

An uncontested divorce means that you and your spouse agree on all legal matters, including property division, custody, and support, and don't need a judge to decide for you. But even an uncontested divorce in SC may require the assistance of an attorney, especially if you and your spouse don't have much legal knowledge or experience with the divorce process. Our attorneys at Fender Law Firm can help you navigate a smooth, fast, uncontested divorce that accurately reflects and accounts for your family's wants and needs. If you and your spouse run into a disagreement during the divorce process, we can use mediation to help you resolve the dispute and avoid going to court. Give us a call today at 843-379-4888 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation with our Beaufort, SC, divorce attorneys.


What Is the Difference Between Contested and Uncontested Divorce?

The main difference between an uncontested and a contested divorce is the level of agreement between spouses. In an uncontested divorce, also called a "simple" divorce, both spouses agree on all matters and don't require a judge to decide issues like property division and custody for them. In a contested divorce, the couple can't reach an agreement on their own and requires the intervention of a court.
  • The reason for the divorce is based on no-fault grounds
  • All other issues within the divorce are settled and within an agreement
Our uncontested divorce attorneys can help you and your spouse determine whether you meet the requirements for this type of divorce, then guide you through the process.

Grounds for Divorce in South Carolina

In South Carolina, you can seek an at-fault or no-fault divorce. In an at-fault divorce, you would need to prove that your spouse engaged in one of the following acts, leading to the failure of the marriage:
  • Adultery
  • Physical violence
  • Desertion
  • Habitual drug or alcohol use
A South Carolina no-fault divorce is typically faster and more amicable but has a significant condition: you and your spouse must live separately for 12 months before you can file the divorce petition.  If you and your spouse file for a no-fault dissolution of marriage, you'll also have the opportunity for an uncontested divorce. But if you don't want to wait 12 months before filing your petition, and you have grounds for one of the fault-based divorce claims above, a fault divorce may be the better option.

Why Seek an Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce is a more favorable process for many divorcing couples than a contested divorce. Of course, you can't always control your spouse's level of agreement regarding divorce matters. But pursuing an uncontested divorce can provide several benefits for your family.

Allow for Open Communication About Divorce Issues

If you and your spouse are willing to compromise on certain issues that may be important to you, you can remain in full control of the outcomes of your divorce rather than leaving the decision to a judge. 

Issues like property division, child custody, child support, and spousal support may just be tasks on the judge's docket for the day, but they're issues that significantly affect you, your spouse, and your family as a whole. Taking the time to reach a decision yourselves can help you keep your family's wants and needs at the center. 

Keep Your Private Affairs Confidential

Even though you'll still be filing court documents in an uncontested divorce, the details of your divorce agreement won't be available to the public. You won't have to air your dirty laundry in a courtroom either; instead, you and your spouse can keep your marital issues confidential. 

Enjoy a More Relaxed Divorce Process

Contested divorces can quickly become heated and often involve strong emotions. Instead of spending months of your life under stress, you and your spouse can finalize the divorce quickly and without the animosity you may picture in a contested divorce. You can begin moving on with your lives and hopefully stay on good terms. 

Save Time

An uncontested divorce can save you a lot of time compared to a contested one. You won't have to attend multiple court dates, which the court often reschedules at least once or twice, and spend time trying to compromise on a solution. While an uncontested divorce does require you and your spouse to live apart for 12 months before filing, if you have already been living separately for a while, your entire device process will likely be shorter than it would if you had to go to court. 

Save Money

Contested divorces also tend to cost more than uncontested ones. You would need to pay court fees and would likely rack up higher legal fees due to the extensive involvement of your attorney in the case. In addition to the upfront costs of a contested divorce, you might end up losing assets or property that you never would have wanted to give up. Even though a judge would attempt to split your property equitably, you may feel like you've drawn the short end of the stick when you see your settlement. 

The Uncontested Divorce Process in South Carolina

If you and your spouse have lived apart for one year and agree on the issues within your divorce, you can follow these steps to complete an uncontested divorce in South Carolina.

1. File a Complaint with the Family Court Division

The first step is for one of you to file a complaint with your local Family Court Division. This complaint involves a full packet of divorce paperwork, including forms such as: • Complaint for divorce • Summons for divorce • Financial declarations • Request for hearing You can visit the South Carolina Courts website to download and print all the necessary forms. The website separates forms into two categories: plaintiff and defendant forms. Even if you and your spouse mutually agree on the divorce, one of you will act as the plaintiff, initiating the divorce, and the other will act as the defendant, responding to the plaintiff's complaint.  You'll need to determine which county to file the forms in. If you and your spouse both still live in South Carolina, you can either file in your current county or in the county where you lived with your spouse. If one of you lives outside of South Carolina, you must file in the county where the South Carolina resident lives.  Assuming that you are acting as the plaintiff, you must sign all of the plaintiff forms in the presence of a public notary. Then, you can take them to the court, where you will pay a fee to file them. The fee is typically $150. If you can't afford it, you can file a Motion and Affidavit to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, where you ask the judge to waive the filing fee. 

3. Request a Final Divorce Hearing

Once your spouse has given their formal response to your complaint for divorce — or failed to file a response within 35 days — you can file a Request for Hearing with the clerk of courts. Even though you and your spouse agree on all matters in the divorce, you'll still need to finalize the divorce in a court hearing.  You may need to schedule the hearing a few months out, so you should file your request as soon as possible. The court will send you a Notice of Hearing in the mail with your court date, and you'll need to send a copy to your spouse through certified mail.

2. Serve the Papers to Your Spouse

Once you have filed the divorce packet with the correct family court, you or a sheriff will need to "serve" the forms to your spouse. This is an official method of alerting them to your complaint for divorce.  In South Carolina, you can serve divorce paperwork in a few ways: • Hand-deliver the forms to your spouse. They will need to sign the Acceptance of Service form, and then you or they can file it with the clerk of court.  • Mail the forms through Certified Mail, which means your spouse will need to sign a document indicating that the package has arrived.  • Ask the Sheriff's office to deliver them for you. The Sheriff will deliver them to your spouse's residence, then complete the Affidavit of Service form.  Your spouse will have 35 days to submit a formal response to your divorce complaint. They will need to complete the packet of forms listed under "defendant forms" on the South Carolina Courts website. The main purpose of their forms is to "answer" your complaint for divorce, indicating whether they agree or disagree with the terms in your divorce paperwork.  Your spouse will also need to submit a financial declaration as part of their divorce packet. 

4. Finalize the Divorce

Finally, you and your soon-to-be-ex spouse will attend the court hearing. You will need to bring with you the Final Order of Divorce and the Report of Divorce or Annulment. You will also need a witness who can testify that you and your spouse have been living separately for at least a year.  The judge will ask a few questions about your marriage, separation, and divorce. If everything looks correct, the judge will sign the Final Order of Divorce, officially concluding your divorce process. 

FAQs About Uncontested Divorce in South Carolina

An uncontested divorce can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. The minimum you would pay is $150 for the court filing fee, which you can attempt to waive if you can't afford to pay it. Other costs may include your attorney's fees and any court fees that apply to your case.
The only time you will need to appear in court for an uncontested divorce is for the final hearing. This hearing will be very simple; the judge will ask you and your spouse a few questions and then sign off on your paperwork. You'll also need to submit your initial paperwork with the clerk of courts, which just involves dropping off your divorce packet and paying the filing fee. If you have any questions or aren't sure where to go, ask your attorney for guidance.
Once you file your divorce paperwork with the court, you can schedule your hearing for as soon as a few weeks later. Filling out the necessary paperwork efficiently and encouraging your spouse to do the same can significantly streamline the process. Of course, you can't file for an uncontested divorce until you and your spouse have lived apart from each other for at least one year. If you're still living together, you'll need to separate for a year or file for a fault-based divorce. In a fault-based divorce, a judge could finalize the divorce as soon as 90 days after filing.
Some divorcees choose to represent themselves, but many work with attorneys, even for uncontested divorces. Your attorney can help you navigate this legal process, help with the paperwork, and protect your rights throughout. If you and your spouse run into any disagreements, your attorney can act as a mediator to resolve them. You and your spouse should retain your own attorneys rather than sharing one. This ensures that your legal counsel adequately represents your interests.

Consult Experienced Uncontested Divorce Attorneys in South Carolina Today!

Are you and your spouse interested in filing for an uncontested divorce in South Carolina? Do you want to make the divorce process as smooth and stress-free as possible so you can move on with your lives? Our attorneys at Fender Law Firm can help you through this process. We have been representing clients across Beaufort, SC, and the surrounding areas for many years and have experience across a range of family law matters. Call 843-379-4888 today to schedule your consultation and begin the uncontested divorce process.

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.

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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.