What We Do
In South Carolina, there are five different grounds for getting a divorce: adultery, physical cruelty or physical abuse, habitual drunkenness or habitual use of drugs, desertion for more than one year, separation for a period of one year without cohabitation (sometimes referred to as a “no fault’ divorce). If you cannot prove any of the above-listed divorce grounds you may still seek a legal separation under a Decree of Separate Maintenance in South Carolina. The following are some of the common issues that arise in a South Carolina divorce action:
- Property Division
No matter how much property you and your spouse own, the process of dividing assets in a divorce is often complex and difficult. The Court considers many factors in determining how to allocate marital property and debts. We have the experience and understanding to advise you about how and under what circumstances you may be entitled to marital property in a divorce action.
- Child Support
When a child lives primarily with one parent, the South Carolina Family Court uses established guidelines for determining the support obligation for the other, non-custodial parent. Under some circumstances, the court may deviate from the child support guidelines. Whether you are the custodial or non-custodial parent, we can advise you about your rights in a child support action and can help present the appropriate information to the court for a fair determination.
- Spousal Support
Spousal Support is intended to assist spouses in maintaining their lifestyles and address any hardships that may have been endured during the relationship. The Rankin Law Firm can assess your entitlement to spousal support and work hard to make sure the court makes a fair determination.
- Separate Support & Maintenance
If you seek legal separation, the steps will be similar to a divorce. However, the grounds for legal separation are not as strict and the judges do not require as much proof. Under a Separate Support & Maintenance decree you remain married, but the following become legally defined: child support, alimony, child custody, property (house, car, furnishings, saving accounts, and other assets), visitation, restraining orders.
- Child Custody and Visitation
Child Custody and Access involves a parent’s ability to spend time with their children and control the decisions made regarding their child’s care. In South Carolina there are two basic types of legal custody, sole custody and joint custody. In making the custody determination, the judge will consider the “best interests” of the child. Here are some of the factors the court will look to: the relative fitness of each parent, who is the primary caretaker of the child, education and parenting skills of each parent, each parent’s conduct (immoral or legal), resources and attributes of each parent). No one factor by itself will determine the custody of a child. The judge with the assistance of a court-appointed Guardian ad litem, will consider all the facts and circumstances surrounding the case and make a determination. In this process, whether it’s through negotiation or the court system, I can help you to find a solution that’s in the best interests of your children and you.