How to File a Divorce in South Carolina

By Beverly Bird

South Carolina once had a well-deserved reputation for being a difficult divorce state. It did not permit divorce at all until 1949, and it allowed it only on restricted fault grounds for 20 years after that. The legislature has come a long way since then. As of 2011, South Carolina allows all county court clerks to provide you with the forms you’ll need to file for divorce to help you expedite the process. You can also download them from the state’s website.

Step 1

Gather the five forms you’ll need to begin your divorce process, either from the court or online. These include a complaint for divorce, a financial declaration, a certificate of exemption, a summons and a form for a cover letter to the court.

Step 2

Complete your complaint for divorce. If you’re the spouse filing, you are the plaintiff and your spouse is the defendant. The complaint asks for information about your marriage, why you want a divorce, your children, and that you confirm you’ve been a resident of South Carolina for at least a year. Check the boxes that tell the court whether you have an agreement with your spouse regarding your property and debts, or if you need the court to decide these things for you.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Step 3

Fill out your certificate of exemption. This form is only for use if you don’t need the court to decide issues of custody. Check the appropriate box explaining either that you and your spouse have already decided on a parenting plan, that you’ve scheduled mediation so you can work on a parenting plan, or that you have no children.

Step 4

Complete your financial declaration, detailing your income, assets, debts and monthly budget to the court. One column pertains to your spouse’s finances and the other column relates to yours. Attach a copy of your most recent pay stub or paycheck. When you’ve completed this form, take it to a notary public and sign it in front of the notary.

Step 5

Write your name and your spouse’s name on the summons form the same way you did on your complaint, with you as plaintiff and your spouse as the defendant. Date it and sign it at the bottom. This simple one-page form tells your spouse how long he has to respond to your complaint after he receives it. This information is already printed on the form; you don't have to worry about filling it in.

Step 6

Write your names again on the top of the family court cover sheet. If you’re representing yourself, you can leave the line in first section marked “SC Bar #," blank. Your attorney would fill this in if you had one. Check the box that indicates you’re asking the court for a divorce and sign the letter.

Step 7

Take your completed documents to the courthouse for filing. You have a choice of three counties. If your spouse resides in South Carolina, use the county where he lives. You can also use the county where the two of you last lived together. If your spouse does not live in South Carolina, you can file in the county where you live.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to File for Divorce in New Jersey
 

References

Related articles

How to Obtain a Divorce in North Carolina

If you wish to obtain a divorce in North Carolina, you can hire an attorney to handle the process for you or you can file on your own. If you opt to represent yourself in divorce proceedings, you will be known as a "pro se" litigant. You file divorce papers in the North Carolina county where you reside. Because specific rules for filing can vary from county to county, North Carolina State University suggests that you contact your county's clerk of court before you proceed with a divorce action.

Florida Divorce Paperwork Checklist

Most lawsuits generate a lot of paperwork, and this is particularly true with divorces. A court needs information regarding your finances, property and children so a judge can make fair decisions regarding these issues if your divorce is contested. Florida is no different, but the state offers more divorce options so this can complicate matters when you're trying to figure out what to file.

Legal Separation in West Virginia

West Virginia is fairly accommodating if you're looking for a legal way to separate from your spouse. The state's legislature provides three means of doing so. The option you choose may depend on how amicable your separation is and whether you eventually intend to divorce.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to File for a Divorce in Colorado

Divorcing in Colorado is a relatively straightforward process. The rules are clear-cut and the courts are helpful in ...

How to Divorce in PA After Two Years When a Spouse Does Not Agree on Settlement

If you file for a no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania, you can get a divorce in six months if you and your spouse are in ...

New Jersey Petition For Divorce

Every divorce action begins with filing a document that lets the court know you want to end your marriage. In some ...

How to Prepare a Divorce Complaint

After you get past the “legalese,” a divorce complaint is a relatively straightforward document. It states the facts of ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED