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2024 How Much Does a Divorce Cost in South Carolina?

2024 How Much Does a Divorce Cost in South Carolina?
Axelrod & Associates, P.A.

Getting a divorce is a significant emotional and financial decision. Although finances may or may not be a priority when making this important and life-changing decision, it is important to plan for the cost of divorce. When you understand the various costs of a South Carolina divorce, you are more prepared to handle them and plan your shared and separate financials for your future. No divorce is the same, and the costs vary based on several factors, including whether the filing is based on fault or if the case goes to trial. For some divorces, the cost of an experienced Divorce Attorney in Myrtle Beach, SC, enables a fairer and expedited divorce process.

Filing Fees and the Cost of Divorce in South Carolina

In South Carolina, the filing fee for a divorce petition is $150. If you are unable to pay the filing fee, you can request a waiver. There may also be processing fees, temporary hearing costs, and other court fees.

However, the cost of divorce often extends beyond these fees. An attorney generally charges by the hour in a divorce case, so the longer your case takes, the more expensive it can become. Depending on the facts of your divorce, you may need other professionals to weigh in on property division or other aspects, which takes more money. The cost of a divorce may end up anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000, but it can be up to $50,000 or more. This is affected by whether your divorce is contested or uncontested and how complex the aspects of your divorce are.

Uncontested vs. Contested Divorces

An uncontested divorce occurs when spouses agree on most or all aspects of a divorce, including spousal support, property division, child support, and parenting plans. In an uncontested divorce, both parties negotiate through mediation or collaborative divorce to reach a separation agreement that is fair and manages their family’s needs. Because the court is not involved until the separation agreement is complete, uncontested divorces are generally faster, less stressful, and less expensive.

Although many spouses want to get an uncontested divorce, this is not always possible. A contested divorce may be required from the start, or it may be necessary after uncontested negotiations have failed. Some spouses can reach an agreement for portions of their separation agreement but have to turn to the court for other decisions.

When your divorce becomes contested, it is more expensive. There are more court costs, more lost time and income, and more parties involved. Not only will it take longer, therefore driving up hourly costs, but attorney fees are often higher for contested divorces.

Fault in Divorce

You can file for a fault-based or no-fault divorce in South Carolina. A no-fault divorce can only be filed and granted by the court once spouses have been separated for 1 year. Filing for a fault-based divorce is done on one of the following grounds:

When you file for a fault-based divorce, you do not have to wait out the 1-year separation period. A fault-based divorce can result in more contentious proceedings between spouses and is likely to be more expensive. You cannot get an uncontested divorce when you file for fault-based divorce.

Other Factors That Affect the Cost of Divorce

There are other things that can make a divorce more expensive, including:

  • Complex or high-value assets. If spouses have high-value marital or separate assets, this can lengthen the amount of time and increase the cost, as professional valuation will be necessary to finalize a divorce.
  • Divorces with children. Even if parents are able to successfully obtain an uncontested divorce, divorces where children are involved require significantly more negotiation and care than divorces without children. Negotiations over custody, visitation, and support are likely to be emotional, especially when parents disagree about what is right for their children.
  • High-conflict divorces. Contested divorces will usually be more expensive than uncontested divorces, but there are different types of contested divorces. Divorces where there is high conflict between spouses, such as accusations of abuse or custody battles, can take years to resolve.


Q: How Much Does It Cost to Get Divorced in South Carolina?

A: The fee to file a divorce petition is $150 in South Carolina. There are other costs, such as:

  • The costs to have papers served
  • Hearing fees for court
  • Legal costs
  • Professional evaluations
  • Multiple court dates

This can result in a divorce costing $10,000 to $20,000, though it can be much more expensive.

Q: What Is the First Step to Divorce in South Carolina?

A: In a contested divorce, the first step is to file a divorce petition and serve the summons and complaint to your spouse. This includes submitting your wishes for a separation agreement, such as spousal support and property division. In an uncontested divorce, the same petition must be filed, but your spouse can sign a document that accepts the service of papers, waiving the need to serve them.

Q: How Do I Get a Divorce in South Carolina Without Waiting a Year?

A: If you file for divorce based on fault, you are not required to be separated for a year prior to filing. A fault-based divorce in South Carolina can be filed for reasons of:

  • Adultery
  • Physical abuse and cruelty
  • Desertion for a year
  • Habitual drug use

However, if you are filing for a no-fault divorce, the 1-year waiting period is required.

Q: How Is Money Split in a Divorce in South Carolina?

A: South Carolina is an equitable distribution state, which means that finances and all other assets are split equitably, not equally, if a divorce case goes to court. The court will review facts about the marriage when determining how to divide property, such as each spouse’s economic and noneconomic contributions to the marital property. If spouses can reach a separation agreement out of court, they can determine how assets are split. The court will enter it as a court order unless it is unfair to one party. If spouses have a marital agreement, they are also not subject to equitable distribution laws.

Protecting Your Interests During Divorce

When evaluating the financial impact of divorce, many spouses are unsure if legal counsel is worth the cost. Whether you are getting an uncontested or contested divorce, an attorney can make the filing process, negotiations, and legal requirements go more smoothly. An experienced lawyer can also save you money by avoiding mistakes or common problems during divorce proceedings. Contact Axelrod & Associates today to see how we can aid your family’s interests.

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