Do I Have to Wait a Year to Get a Divorce in SC?

| Jun 11, 2021 | Divorce

Can you get a divorce in SC without waiting an entire year? The answer, of course, is maybe

Most people who are ready for a divorce are, well, ready for divorce. They don’t want to wait a year to get a divorce – their lives may be in turmoil, everything is changing, the children may be struggling with the transition, and some people may be in an abusive situation that they just want to end. Now.

If your goal is to get your divorce finalized as soon as possible, that is also your lawyer’s goal at Axelrod and Associates. There are many considerations that will affect the speed of the proceedings and whether you will have to wait a year for your divorce, however, including:

  • Your grounds for divorce,
  • The length of time you have been separated,
  • How fast your county’s family court docket is moving, and
  • Whether the divorce is contested or the parties are cooperating.

Do I Have to Wait a Year for a SC Divorce?

If your ground for divorce is one year’s continuous separation, your divorce cannot be final until one year after the date you separated. If you have other grounds for divorce and if both sides are cooperating, the divorce may be finalized faster.

What are Your Grounds for Divorce?

Obviously, you must wait a year for a divorce in SC if your grounds for divorce are one year’s continuous separation – the answer is in the name.

If you are asking for a divorce on grounds of adultery, physical cruelty, desertion, or habitual drunkenness, however, you might be able to schedule a final hearing as soon as 90 days after the divorce petition has been filed – if there are no contested issues, no fights over discovery, no litigation, and your spouse (and your spouse’s attorney) are cooperating.

How Long Have You Been Separated?

If your ground for divorce is one year’s continuous separation, you must wait one year from the date that you were separated – not one year from the date that you filed your divorce complaint.

So, if you have been separated for close to a year before you decide to finalize the divorce, you won’t have to wait a year after filing to get divorced. We can file your divorce complaint, and, if your spouse is not contesting the divorce, you should be able to finalize the divorce in a matter of months after filing instead of waiting an entire year.

How Can I Get a Divorce without Waiting a Year?

Assuming there is no backlog of cases in your county’s family court, you should be able to get a divorce without waiting a year if you have grounds for divorce other than one year’s separation, your spouse consents to the divorce grounds (this does not happen often for fault-based grounds), and there are no contested issues.

The Family Court’s Docket

The backlog of cases in your county’s family court may determine whether you can get a divorce without waiting a year. Some counties have more family court judges than others, and some counties are more efficient in moving cases along than others. Also, COVID-19 has caused a backlog of cases in some counties while others are recovering more quickly.

Is the Divorce Contested?

Many clients think that they have an uncontested divorce – until we get into the details with their spouse or their spouse’s attorney. If you and your spouse cannot agree on any issues like the division of property, alimony, child custody and visitation, or child support, your divorce is not uncontested.

Disagreement on any of these issues can slow down the process because:

  • Discovery may be necessary, and litigation over discovery or depositions takes time. Each side has 30 days to respond to discovery requests, they often ask for 30-day extensions, and sometimes motions to compel discovery must be filed, scheduled, and argued in court.
  • Mediation – if there are any contested issues in your case, you may be required to participate in mandatory mediation, which 1) costs money and 2) takes time to schedule and complete.
  • Appeals – it takes much longer to get to your final divorce hearing when there are contested issues. Also, if there is a trial and either side is unhappy with the result, there may also be an appeals process that can take months or years to resolve.

Cooperation = Faster Divorce

If you and your spouse (and your attorneys) are trying to finalize your divorce quickly, are cooperating on the grounds for divorce, and are negotiating in good faith to reach a settlement agreement that the court can easily incorporate into the final divorce decree, you will get to the final hearing more quickly and you may not have to wait a year to get your divorce.

In many cases, the parties want to punish one another, they are disagreeable to one another, and every detail becomes a fight. The more disagreeable the parties are, the longer the divorce will take.

In other cases, the parties’ attorneys are overly aggressive and may even encourage their clients to fight over small details, and this can also slow down the process. The more disagreeable the attorneys are, the longer the divorce will take.

Your divorce lawyer on the Axelrod team is prepared to go to war with the other side when necessary to protect your financial interests and your relationship with your children.

But an effective divorce attorney must also be able to shift gears when needed – an aggressive attorney is not always an effective attorney, and tactful negotiation is an essential skill when your goal is to finalize your divorce as quickly as possible.

Don’t Rush the Process

Divorces take time, and your divorce attorney cannot rush the process if that comes at the expense of your financial security and your future.

You may not get a second chance to do this right, and, when it is necessary to protect your rights, your finances, and the wellbeing of your children, it may be necessary to slow down the process, engage in discovery, participate in mediation, and litigate the important issues.

Got Axelrod?

Your Myrtle Beach divorce lawyer on the Axelrod team will help you to determine how long your case will take – we are prepared to help you negotiate with your spouse quickly and painlessly whenever possible, and we are also prepared to fight to protect your interests whenever necessary.

Call your SC divorce attorney at Axelrod and Associates now at 843-353-3449 or send us a message through our website to find out how we can help.

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