Uncontested Divorce in the State of South Carolina

By Jim Thomas

Divorce is never easy, but an uncontested divorce is almost always the best solution for spouses and their children. If you and your spouse reach an agreement that you both are satisfied with, the judge won't have to decide your fate. However, if you and your spouse have lost too much trust in one another to forge your own agreement, or you are at loggerheads concerning custody, spousal support or other key issues affecting your future, your post-divorce fate will rest in the hands of the court. A contested divorce is usually much more costly in terms of money, time and emotional trauma.

Definition

An uncontested divorce is defined as an agreement between you and your spouse. The agreement can occur anytime in the divorce process. You can work out an agreement before one spouse files for divorce, after you file or just before your court hearing. Courts in South Carolina greatly encourage uncontested divorces. It reduces the backlog of cases in family court and enables you and your spouse to get on with your lives on your own terms.

Issues

As South Carolina divorce lawyer Megan Hunt explains, you and your spouse must resolve a number of issues before the court will approve your uncontested divorce. You have to agree on how to divide your assets and debts, which can include major decisions such as ownership of the house. Spousal support must be resolved if one party asks for alimony. Critical decisions must be made concerning the children. Who gets custody? What visitations rights will the noncustodial parent receive? Who pays child support and health insurance for the kids? These can be thorny issues, but you must resolve them in order to have an uncontested divorce.

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Mediation

Mediation is required by family law courts in many counties in South Carolina. A mediator is a neutral third party who meets with both spouses in a safe and confidential setting. Mediators are often able to get both parties to look toward the future rather than wallowing in the recriminations and anger created by the breakdown of the marriage. If a court orders you to participate in mediation, you are only required to make a good faith effort to settle your differences. If you don't succeed, your case then goes to trial as a contested divorce.

Final Hearing

If you reached an agreement, the judge will go over it with you and your spouse when your case goes before the court. She will clarify any ambiguities in the agreement and ask both of you if you have any questions about it. Once the judge is satisfied the agreement truly represents the wishes of the parties, and all major issues have been addressed, she will ratify it and grant the divorce.

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What Will Happen Once My Wife Has Filed for Divorce?
 

References

Related articles

What Happens If an Uncontested Divorce Suddenly Becomes Contested?

The advent of no-fault divorce in every state gives rise to the prevailing concept of the "uncontested divorce" -- a divorce in which the parties have resolved any outstanding issues and all that remains is the judicial act of ending the marriage. Sometimes, however, a spouse files a petition for a simple divorce and the other side counter sues for alimony, child support or property division. When this happens, the divorce is no longer uncontested.

Divorce Mediation Questions

If you are pondering or going through divorce proceedings, mediation is worth considering. It is usually less costly than going to court. It gives you and your spouse control over the proceedings -- if you go to trial on issues of finances or child custody, the judge makes the decision and you are stuck with it. In comparison, a mediator facilitates dialog between you and your spouse, enabling the two of you to work out your differences and come to an amicable agreement.

Oregon Divorce Mediation & Arbitration

Oregon courts encourage divorcing spouses to work together and resolve marital issues such as custody and property division on their own. To that end, the court will order couples to attend mediation when custody disagreements arise. If the contested issue involves property, the court will send the couple to arbitration so that the couple can decide the matter in a less formal setting. By utilizing mediation and arbitration when necessary, Oregon spouses often move through the divorce process quickly, and with fewer costs.

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