Divorces are stressful for everyone involved and at LaLima and Richards, are handled with the sensitivity and care that they deserve. We always try to settle cases amicably but will be aggressive in litigation when necessary. We will assist you in indentifying your goals, developing solutions to problems and obtaining the best result possible. We have over thirty (30) years combined experience. We offer our clients legal options and the strategies to resolve your legal problems.
There are only five (5) causes of action for a divorce in South Carolina and only one is “no-fault.” You can sue for a divorce on the grounds of 1) adultery, 2) physical cruelty, 3) habitual drunkenness (which includes drug usage), 4) abandonment or 5) separation without cohabitation for over one year. With the exception of the no-fault divorce on one year’s separation, the grounds for divorce must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that the greater weight of evidence is on your side (think of the scales of justice). Most States have the divorce cause of action of “irreconcilable differences.” South Carolina has no such cause of action.
Desertion (or abandonment) is rarely pled because the one who deserted the marriage must have disappeared for at least one year before the cause of action accrues. Unless a marital estate is to be divided, it is typically easier to get a divorce on one year’s separation. Further, you must not know where the deserted spouse is.
With divorces involving adultery, physical cruelty or habitual drunkenness (includes habitual use of drugs), we work with our client and private investigators if necessary, to put together the evidence needed at trial to prevail. We work diligently to ensure that our clients are out of harm’s way when their spouse is served with these divorce papers and thereafter. Emotions can run high when allegations of adultery, physical abuse or habitual drug use are put in writing in a Complaint and served by a process server or Deputy Sheriff. We offer our clients the advice and support they need to get through such a difficult time.
With a divorce on one year’s separation, it is imperative that the parties have not “cohabitated” or otherwise reconciled their marriage during the past year. If a husband or wife spent the night with their spouse during the past year, even though they may have slept in different bedrooms and did not reconcile, most family courts in this State would not grant the divorce. The experienced lawyers at LaLima and Richards will guide through the puzzling maze of rules, statutes and case law to get your divorce completed quickly and professionally. We will go through these causes of action and explain what must be proven in Court to prevail on each prospective claim.