No matter how bad your marriage is, divorce is not easy.
A marriage becomes an essential part of your identity and making big changes to the relationships that define you is always stressful and emotionally exhausting.
But, your emotional well-being is just one of the many potential casualties of divorce. How will splitting up affect your financial future? Or your relationship with your children?
You may already know that you want a divorce, or you may be on the fence. In either case, you should consider whether counseling may help the situation. For most couples, a separation is the next step, and then there are steps that you may need to take to protect yourself and your children during a separation period.
Can A Marriage Counselor Help?
One way you and your spouse can make sure you're on the same page is by seeking the services of a marriage counselor. Of course, this is not just your decision - your spouse must agree as well.
Counseling benefits people in different ways - you may realize that you do not want to divorce and that there is a way for you and your spouse to work through the difficulties. Or, counseling may remove any nagging doubts as to whether a separation or divorce is the right decision.
What is a Legal Separation in SC?
For many couples, time apart is all they need to remember why they like being married. For others, separation confirms their desire to part ways for good.
In South Carolina, "separated" is not a legal status. In South Carolina, there is no such thing as a "legal separation."
Being separated just means that you're not living in the same home as your spouse. However, separation is a necessary early step in many divorces, because SC law requires that you and your spouse live separate for at least one year before you can file for a no-fault divorce.
Do I Really Need a Separation Agreement?
If you and your spouse decide to separate, your divorce attorney can help you to negotiate a "marital settlement agreement" or a "separate support and maintenance agreement." Either of these agreements can be used to resolve important issues like:
- Who gets primary custody of the children and what kind of visitation rights the other parent gets;
- How to divide real estate and other property;
- Who gets to keep the house;
- Who, if anyone, should make alimony payments;
- Who, if anyone, should make child support payments; and
- Who will run any business you and your spouse own together and how the profits will be divided.
How Can a Myrtle Beach Divorce Lawyer Help?
Having a separation agreement in place will protect you and your children. It provides a set of rules that helps to prevent conflict about extremely emotional and volatile issues like child custody and finances.
Even more importantly, sometimes separation agreements (or the status quo in the absence of an agreement) become permanent - a family court judge may incorporate the terms of the agreement or give extra weight to the "status quo" in the final divorce decree, imposing terms that you will have to live with permanently.
What is a Temporary Hearing in a SC Divorce Case?
If both parties cannot agree on the terms of the separation agreement, or if there are emergency issues that need to be addressed by the Court quickly, you can request a temporary hearing where the Court can hear testimony and decide who pays alimony or child support and how much, who lives in the family home, how property is divided, and whether a domestic violence restraining order should be issued.
Your Myrtle Beach divorce attorney on the Axelrod team can help make sure your interests are protected in a separation agreement or request a temporary hearing to resolve the immediate issues related to the separation.