• Divorce
  • What are the grounds for divorce in South Carolina?

    South Carolina has four fault grounds of divorce: adultery, physical cruelty, desertion, and habitual drunkenness/drug abuse. There is a fifth no-fault ground: living separate and apart for one year without cohabitation. In order to obtain a divorce, the party who files must prove at least one of these grounds with legally sufficient evidence.

  • Do my spouse and I have to agree to get a divorce?

    No. Your spouse cannot stop you from obtaining a divorce if you can prove any of the above grounds for divorce and your spouse does not have a legitimate defense to your claim.

  • Can my spouse and I live in separate bedrooms and get divorce on the grounds of one year separation?

    No, Separation is when the two parties live in separate locations. Living in two separate bedrooms under the same roof does not qualify as separation in South Carolina.

  • How will our property be divided? 50/50?

    The South Carolina Family Court has jurisdiction to equitably divide the parties’ marital property. There is no preset rule regarding the division of assets. Instead, the Courts consider variety of factors, including: the duration of the marriage; separate maintenance and/or alimony awarded; child custody arrangements; physical and emotional health of each spouse; financial/economic circumstances of each spouse; vested retirement benefits of each spouse; the need for additional training or education to achieve income potential; liens or encumbrances on property; nonmarital property of each spouse; tax aspects of the divorce; support being paid by either spouse regarding a prior marriage or child; desirability of retaining the marital home; each spouse’s contribution to the marriage; fault or misconduct of either party; and any other factors that the Court deems necessary to do equity and justice.

  • What is the difference between marital and nonmarital property?

    Very generally, nonmarital property is typically considered any asset owned prior to the marriage, inherited by a party during the marriage, or given by a third party as a gift during the marriage. Marital property includes all real and personal property acquired by the parties during the marriage, gifts between spouses given during the marriage, and vested and non-vested benefits or funds accrued during the marriage such as retirement accounts, pensions, and real property. However, there are many exceptions and nuances to this list, and there are situations where non-marital property can been turned into marital property through transmutation.

  • What is the difference between a divorce and an annulment?

    A divorce differs from an annulment in that an annulment erases the fact the couple was ever married. A divorce stays on record. An annulment can be very difficult to obtain. If you are considering an annulment, you should contact one of our attorneys at Condon Law Firm to determine if you meet the criteria.

  • What is an uncontested divorce?

    An uncontested divorce is a divorce in which both parties have agreed on everything, including custody, child support, debt and asset division, etc. If both parties have not reached a mutual agreement, the divorce is considered contested.

  • What is the difference between being divorced and being legally separated?

    A divorce is a complete dissolution of marriage; a legal separation is an action that married couples may elect in the event that they do not wish to live together, but are not sure that they wish to be divorced. Legal separation offers protection to an individual in the event that their spouse incurs debt and offers additional protection concerning custody, child support and tax liability.

  • How long must I have lived in South Carolina prior to filing for divorce in a South Carolina court?

    South Carolina law requires that one of the spouses must be a resident of the state for a minimum of one year (three [3] months if both parties are residents of South Carolina) immediately prior to the filing of the petition for divorce.

  • What are my first steps to getting a divorce?

    The first step to getting a divorce is deciding that you really want a divorce and are ready to pursue one. We recommend that a person who is thinking about seeking a divorce talk first with a counselor or spiritual leader. An empathic attorney also can help one sort out the issues of marriage and divorce and assess whether there is anything that can be done to help the parties reconcile. If a person is persuaded that a divorce is inevitable or that s/he is ready to seek a divorce, then s/he should talk with an attorney about South Carolina's grounds for divorce, child custody and visitation, child support, alimony and separate support and maintenance, marital and non-marital property, mediation, and other issues that often are raised in an action for divorce.

  • How long will my divorce take?

    The time it takes from the initial interview with an attorney until the final divorce decree varies and is based on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the parties' ability to communicate and cooperate effectively in deciding matters related to the parties' children and property, the ground or grounds on which the divorce action is based, and the need for attorneys to obtain information to help the parties make decisions in their children's and the parties' own best interests. In many cases, settling, with or without mediation, can reduce the amount of time that it takes to obtain a final divorce decree.
    If uncontested, a divorce can be finalized in as little as a few weeks. If the divorce is contested, it could take 4-6 months at least, and can take up to a year and sometimes longer.

  • What can a Divorce Lawyer do for me?

    Even simple divorces require many documents, and may require at least one appearance before the judge. The lawyer is responsible to help you through that process. At Condon Law Firm we will keep you informed on laws involving children, child support, alimony and property division. Our attorneys will act as your advocate and assist in negotiating an agreement that is in yours and the children's best interest. If a divorce agreement cannot be reached with your spouse, we will represent you at any necessary court appearances.

  • My spouse and I are splitting amicably. Can we share an attorney?

    No. The problem with sharing an attorney is that the attorney realistically cannot have an allegiance to either party, and there is no effective confidentiality between the parties and the attorney, so the attorney-client privilege is destroyed. When a person retains an attorney, that attorney represents the client. This means that the attorney is bound to promoting and pursuing that client's best interests. When two parties seek a divorce, even an amicable one, issues can arise about which the the parties disagree. It is impossible to anticipate all the issues that can become conflictual between the parties during the pendency of the divorce.

  • I previously was covered under my spouse's health-insurance policy. What are my options now?

    The first thing to do is contact your spouse's health-insurance carrier and ask for its policies regarding coverage of ex-spouses. If after your divorce you cannot continue to be covered directly under your spouse's health-insurance plan, then you might be able to continue coverage under COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985). Under COBRA, a divorced person who, during the marriage, was covered under a spouse's health-insurance plan may continue for up to 36 months group health-care insurance under the ex-spouse's group health-care insurance plan. You must notify the health-care plan administrator of your intention to seek COBRA coverage within 60 days of your divorce decree or separate maintenance and support order.

  • Child Support
  • How does the court determine child support?

    The amount of child support will be based on the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines. The Guidelines consider the income of both parents and the number of children. Day care and health insurance costs are also considered.

  • Child Custody
  • What does the Court consider when awarding custody?

    The paramount consideration in all child custody controversies is the best interest of the child. Other factors include: who has been the child’s primary caregiver; the child’s reasonable preference, if age appropriate; the character, fitness, attitude and inclination on the part of each parent as he or she impacts the children; immoral conduct by a party that would be detrimental to the welfare of the child; the psychological, physical, environmental, educational, medical, family, emotional, and recreational aspects of the child’s life; religious faith; domestic violence issues; and any written agreement between the parties.

  • Can a prenuptial agreement affect whether or not I can get custody of my children?

    Although a prenuptial agreement may include provisions for child custody and support, the decision is still up to the court. The court may change the provisions regarding these issues as they see fit.

  • Alimony
  • How does a judge determine if I am entitled to alimony?

    The factors a South Carolina court is likely to consider when deciding whether to award alimony are:

    • the duration of the marriage and the ages of the parties at the time of the marriage and at the time of the divorce
    • the physical and emotional health of each spouse
    • the educational background of each spouse and the need for additional training or education to reach his or her full earning potential
    • the employment history and earning capacities of each spouse
    • the standard of living established during the marriage
    • the current and anticipated earnings of each spouse
    • the current and anticipated expenses and needs of each spouse
    • the marital and non-marital properties of each spouse
    • the custody of the children (especially when the custodian is not able to seek employment outside the home)
    • marital misconduct or fault of the parties
    • tax consequences to each party resulting from the form of support awarded
    • existence and extent of any support obligation from a prior marriage or any other reason
    • other factors the court considers relevant.
      (Adapted from S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-130(C).)
  • Are there different types of alimony?

    Yes. The types of alimony that may be awarded include:

    • 1. Periodic alimony to be paid but terminating on the remarriage or continued cohabitation of the supported spouse or upon the death of either spouse (except as secured in subsection (D)) and terminable and modifiable based upon changed circumstances occurring in the future. The purpose of this form of support may include, but is not limited to, circumstances where the court finds it appropriate to order the determination and requirement for the ongoing support of a spouse to be reviewed and revised as circumstances may dictate in the future.
    • 2. Lump-sum alimony in a finite total sum to be paid in one installment, or periodically over a period of time, terminating only upon the death of the supported spouse, but not terminable or modifiable based upon remarriage or changed circumstances in the future. The purpose of this form of support may include, but not limited to, circumstances where the court finds alimony appropriate but determines that such an award be of a finite and non-modifiable nature.
    • 3. Rehabilitative alimony in a finite sum to be paid in one installment or periodically, terminable upon the remarriage or continued cohabitation of the supported spouse, the death of either spouse (except as secured in subsection (D)) or the occurrence of a specific event to occur in the future, or modifiable based upon unforeseen events frustrating the good faith efforts of the supported spouse to become self-supporting or the ability of the supporting spouse to pay the rehabilitative alimony. The purpose of this form of support may include, but is not limited to, circumstances where the court finds it appropriate to provide for the rehabilitation of the supported spouse, but to provide modifiable ending dates coinciding with events considered appropriate by the court such as the completion of job training or education and the like, and to require rehabilitative efforts by the supported spouse.
    • 4. Reimbursement alimony to be paid in a finite sum, to be paid in one installment or periodically, terminable on the remarriage or continued cohabitation of the supported spouse, or upon the death of either spouse (except as secured in subsection (D)) but not terminable or modifiable based upon changed circumstances in the future. The purpose of this form of support may include, but is not limited to, circumstances where the court finds it necessary and desirable to reimburse the support spouse from the future earning of the payer spouse based upon circumstances or events that occurred during the marriage.
    • 5. Separate maintenance and support to be paid periodically, but terminating upon the continued cohabitation of the supported spouse, upon the divorce of the parties, or upon the death of either spouse (except as secured in subsection (D)) and terminable and modifiable based upon changed circumstances in the future. The purpose of this form of support may include, but is not limited to, circumstances where a divorce is not sought, but it is necessary to provide for support of the supported spouse by way of separate maintenance and support when the parties are living separate and apart.
    • 6. Such other form of spousal support, under terms and conditions as the court may consider just, as appropriate under the circumstances without limitation to grant more than one form of support.

    For purposes of this subsection and unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the parties, “continued cohabitation” means the supported spouse resides with another person in a romantic relationship for a period of ninety or more consecutive days. The court may determine that a continued cohabitation exists if there is evidence that the supported spouse resides with another person in a romantic relationship for periods of less than ninety days and the two periodically separate in order to circumvent the ninety-day requirement. S.C. Code. Ann. § 20-3-130(B).

  • Name & Address Change
  • How can I change my married name to my maiden/birth name?

    • A name change must be requested through the county family court where the person seeking the name change lives. If the person wanting the name change is seeking a divorce (i.e., is the Plaintiff), the request can be made in the Complaint, or the Defendant spouse can request the name change in the Answer and Counterclaim.
    • If a single or married adult who is not seeking a divorce wants to change his or her name, then a petition requesting the name change must be filed in the appropriate county family court. This petition must state the reason for the change, the petitioner's age, his or her place of residence and birth, and the name by which s/he desires to be known. Also, the person must provide the following with the petition to the family court:
    • The results of a fingerprint and criminal background check conducted by the State Law Enforcement Division.
    • A screening statement from the Department of Social Services that indicates whether the person is listed on the Department's Central Registry of Child Abuse and Neglect.
    • An affidavit, signed by the petitioner and notarized, that indicates whether the petitioner is under a court order to pay child support or alimony.
    • A screening statement from the State Law Enforcement Division that indicates whether the person is listed on the division's sex offender registry
  • I have moved out of my marital home. How do I change my address?

    • A notice should be filed with the United States Postal Service using PS Form 3575 or online at www.usps.com. You can get a Mover's Guide with an official change of address kit from any United States Post Office. Be sure to change the address for all your magazines and newspapers because the USPS will forward them only for 60 days. Circulars, books, catalogs, and advertising mail under 16 ounces will not be forwarded unless the mailer expressly requests forwarding. Packages weighing 16 ounces or more will be forwarded for 12 months, but you will be charged forwarding charges if you move outside the local area. If you do not want this class of mail to be forwarded to you, you should notify the USPS of your desire.
    • You also should change your address with the state that issued your driver's license. And notify your employer so that your tax documents can be mailed to your correct address and all your benefits documents can be updated.
  • Who do I need to notify that my address has changed?

    • Anyone and everyone from whom you want to receive mail. It is not prudent to expect that your spouse or ex-spouse will forward to you mail that is addressed to you. Also, it is not prudent to rely on the USPS to forward all of your mail. Unfortunately, the fine workers at USPS make mistakes (as do we all) and can miss mail addressed to you, thus delivering it to your former address. Being proactive and making sure that the people from whom you expect mail know how to reach you is the best defense.
    • Examples of who should be notified of an address change include, but are not limited to, the following:
      • Department of Motor Vehicles
      • Financial institutions
      • Employer
      • Educational institutions
      • Insurance companies (e.g., automobile, homeowners, health, life, disability)
      • Friends and family members
  • Do I need to get a new driver's license with my new address?

    Definitely, because the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will mail your driver's license renewal notice to the address that is in the DMV file. Your address on your driver's license and automobile insurance policy should be the same.

  • Questions about becoming a client
  • Why should I hire the Condon Law Firm, LLC to handle my Family Law matter?

    Colleen Condon and her team have extensive experience practicing in the Family Courts of this state. While they typically settles most of their cases, they are always prepared to go to trial if necessary. Colleen and her team are compassionate and caring, and they take a common-sense approach to practicing family law and representing their clients.

  • Do you offer a free initial consultation?

    We offer a 30 minute consultation free of charge.

  • How do I become a client?

    Please contact us or call our office at 843.225-7288. We have procedures that we follow during our representation, as well as during our initial determination of whether or not we are able to take on a particular matter. First, we obtain preliminary information that you provide and conduct a conflict check prior to scheduling the initial consultation. If we are able to meet with you, we schedule a convenient date and time. Once you meet with Colleen and the two of you decide to work together, she will give you a retainer agreement for you to review. You become a client after you have signed and returned the retainer agreement and the retainer check to our office.

  • Is there certain information I should bring to my initial consultation?

    If your case involves a prior divorce or custody arrangement, please bring your previous Order with you along with any relevant documents you believe would be helpful.

  • Why can’t I speak with an attorney before I set up an appointment?

    Due to the volume of calls our office receives on a daily basis, our firm has a policy that all initial consultations are handled by our Legal Assistant or Paralegal. This system works well for both the potential client and the firm because, often, what may seem like a simple question becomes a more complicated matter requiring the potential client to explain a number of details in order to properly respond. If Colleen took all of these calls, she would not have time to represent the clients whose cases she agreed to take. Further, the team members do not provide any legal advice over the phone. If an initial consultation takes place, Colleen will provide legal advice at that time.

  • What will my case cost?

    The cost of a divorce action is based on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the parties' ability and willingness to negotiate with each other, the number of times the parties have to go to court for a determination of an issue (e.g., separate support, child custody and support, mediation), the need for depositions or other discovery (i.e., obtaining information from the other party or from other persons, such as subpoenas for medical or financial records), the amount of time the attorney must commit to pursuing and promoting the client's interests, court costs (e.g., filing fees, motion and order fees, service of process fees), the attorney's out-of-pocket expenses (e.g., copying/printing, postage, travel-related expenses), and other professional fees (e.g., forensic accountant, psychologist, guardian ad litem).

  • Is my initial consultation private and confidential?

    We take every potential client’s confidentiality and privacy very seriously, and all communications with our firm remain confidential, beginning with the initial consultation. Filling out our basic contact us form, however, does not establish any sort of relationship that requires such contact to remain confidential. Once we meet with a client and obtain confidential information from that client, that information is protected by the attorney-client privilege, and it is not discussed outside this office without the client’s permission (or in open court or as part of the court file).

  • Communication
  • My estranged spouse and I have trouble speaking to each other without getting into an argument. What is the best solution to communicating effectively with my spouse?

    • Some attorneys "forbid" their clients from talking to the other party during the divorce action. My philosophy is that if the parties cannot communicate effectively, then trying to talk to each other is like throwing sand in each other's faces. I often encourage a client in such a situation to let me be his or her spokesperson. If the other party has an attorney, then I only communicate with that attorney. If the other party does not have an attorney, then I speak directly with him or her after making sure that the party understands that I do not represent or advocate for his or her interests in any way.
    • Sometimes parties can communicate with each other more effectively via email. However, email also can be used to "cyberstalk" the other person and become a tool of harassment. When that happens, the client can change his or her email address or simply refuse to accept or reply to the other party's email.
  • What is and what is not appropriate to call my attorney about when my spouse is being difficult?

    This is a judgment call for the client, but a general rule of thumb is that if you want your attorney to do something for you, or if you are fearful of your spouse or ex-spouse, or if you are providing information to your attorney that she requested or that you believe is important to your case, then, by all means, do not hesitate to contact your attorney. If you just want to complain about your spouse or ex-spouse, then you might want to think twice about calling your attorney.