South Carolina does not recognize legal separation, but the state does allow married individuals to file for a Decree of Separate Support and Maintenance. We understand that this can be confusing, since so many believe you must have been separated for a year to get into court. By filing for a Decree of Separate Support and Maintenance, you can pursue the relief you need before any grounds for filing for divorce. Attorney Bryan W. Braddock can discuss the potential benefits of filing immediately rather than waiting until there are grounds for a divorce.
What Are The Differences Between Separation And Divorce?
It is important to understand that a separation decree does not end a marriage. It is a means through which the parties and the court can address terms including property division, spousal maintenance, and child custody/visitation and support. The separation decree may function like a postnuptial agreement in these cases, with the terms of property division and maintenance being used for the divorce. Matters involving custody, visitation and child support, however, will not automatically be carried forward into the divorce decree.
There are additional myths and misconceptions about separating from one’s spouse. One of the most common is that the court will penalize the person who moves out of the home by taking away his or her rights to property, spousal maintenance and the children. However, this is not true. One party must move out for the couple to separate. While moving out or not moving out may be important for strategic reasons, the party who moves out does not give up his or her rights simply by moving out. Please speak with our lawyer to get the answers you need about marital separation and divorce.