Family Law

In South Carolina, the Family Court has exclusive authority to grant divorces, divide marital property, award temporary or permanent alimony, decide issues of child custody and child support, determine issues of paternity and preside over child abuse and neglect cases brought by the Department of Social Services.

Because family law issues have such serious and sometimes permanent consequences, it is almost a necessity to hire a lawyer to navigate the Family Court system.   At Moon Law we are committed to protecting the legal rights of our clients.  Moon Law serves families in Greenville and Upstate South Carolina in all family court matters including:

  • Divorce Law
  • Separation (separate support and maintenance)
  • Child Visitation
  • Enforcement or Modification of Family Court Orders
  • Guardianships and Conservatorships
  • Legal Name Change

Some things you should know about family and divorce law in South Carolina.

  • You may only file for divorce in South Carolina if both you and your spouse have been residents of South Carolina for 3 months or if one of you has been a resident of the state for 1 year.
  • You cannot get a divorce unless you establish one of the legal grounds for divorce. The most common ground is one-year living separate and apart—which is considered a “no fault” ground. Other “fault” grounds for divorce are adultery, alcohol addiction or drug addiction and physical abuse–the fault grounds do not require a one year separation.
  • A lawyer cannot represent both parties in a divorce even if the divorce is “uncontested.” If you want to start a divorce action, you almost certainly need a lawyer to assist you in navigating the Family Court system.  If you are a defendant in an “uncontested” divorce action and you have no children then you may not “need” to hire a lawyer to represent you in the divorce.  However, it is always a good idea to consult with a lawyer to make sure you understand your rights.
  • The Family Court is required to fairly divide property and debts acquired during marriage when couples decide to divorce. Fairly does not always mean equally. In determining what is fair, Family Court judges consider things such as marital misconduct (adultery, etc), earning potential of each party, health of each party, non-marital property of each party, and other support obligations of the parties.
  • The amount of child support that a non-custodial parent is required to pay is based on state guidelines that can be found at http://www.state.sc.us/dss/csed/calculator.htm. However, child support amounts may differ from the guidelines in certain situations.
  • The Family Court will not allow the custodial parent to withhold visitation because of non-payment of child support.  By the same token, the Court will require the non-custodial parent to pay child support even when the custodial parent improperly prevents visitation.