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Types of divorce in sc

Types of divorce in sc
Axelrod & Associates, P.A.

How many types of divorce are there in SC?

That depends on how you look at it – there are five types of divorce if you are looking at the five grounds for divorce in SC.

There are two types of divorce based on the five possible grounds for divorce – you can get 1) a fault-based divorce or 2) a no-fault divorce.

And there are two types of divorce in SC based on whether there are unresolved issues at the outset of your case – you can get 1) a contested divorce or 2) an uncontested divorce.

Below, we will take a look at each of the different types of divorce that are available in SC.


There are five types of divorce in SC, or five grounds for divorce, that are listed in SC Code § 20-3-10:

  1. Adultery,
  2. Desertion for one year or longer,
  3. Physical cruelty,
  4. Habitual drunkenness, or
  5. One-year’s continuous separation.

1. Adultery

If your spouse cheats on you, and you can prove it, you are entitled to a divorce on grounds of adultery.

But how do you prove adultery?

In some cases, our client may have witnesses who can testify as to their personal observations of the adultery – you don’t need to “catch them in the act” if you can prove 1) inclination and 2) opportunity.

In other cases, however, our clients will use a private investigator to gather the evidence they need to prove the adultery in court.

Evidence of adultery matters because 1) if your spouse is committing adultery they are not entitled to alimony, and 2) marital misconduct of any type, including adultery, can affect the issues in your case like child custody, alimony, and division of marital property.

2. Desertion for One Year

Desertion is not used often, because, after one year, you can get a divorce on grounds of one year’s separation. So, why does it matter?

If your spouse has abandoned you for a year or longer, leaving you without support, it can affect issues in your case like child custody, alimony, or division of marital property. Although it is uncommonly used, it is a valid fault-ground that entitles you to divorce.

3. Physical Cruelty

If your spouse is physically abusive to you – pushing, shoving, hitting, or any actions that create a risk of serious injury or death, you are entitled to a divorce on grounds of physical cruelty.

How do you prove physical cruelty in court? Your evidence may include:

  • Your testimony,
  • Testimony of family or friends who have seen the abuse or your injuries,
  • Medical testimony,
  • Photos of your injuries,
  • An arrest or conviction for domestic violence, or
  • A restraining order that was issued against your spouse.

4. Habitual Drunkenness

Habitual drunkenness doesn’t necessarily mean that your spouse is an alcoholic or drug addict, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that they drink or get high every day.

If your spouse 1) drinks or uses drugs on a regular basis and 2) their alcohol or drug use contributed to the breakdown of your marriage, you are entitled to a divorce on grounds of habitual drunkenness.

How do you prove habitual drunkenness?

  • Your testimony as to your spouse’s drinking or drug habit and how it has affected your marriage,
  • Witness testimony from friends or family,
  • Photographic or video evidence of your spouse’s intoxication,
  • Evidence gathered by your private investigator,
  • Evidence of drug or alcohol abuse treatment,
  • Arrests or convictions for drugs or alcohol-related offenses like DUI or drug possession.

5. One-Year’s Continuous Separation

The five types of divorce in SC include the four fault-based grounds above, or you can get a divorce without evidence of any fault-based grounds if you have been separated for a year or more.

To qualify for a no-fault divorce, you must live separately for at least one year, and you cannot reconcile (or attempt to reconcile) during that one year. If you attempt to reconcile and it doesn’t work out, the one-year period will begin again.


There are five types of divorce in SC if you are counting the grounds for divorce.

You could also say there are two types of divorce in SC – fault-based or no-fault divorces. Every divorce in SC is either 1) based on one of the first four fault-based grounds listed above, or 2) based on one year’s continuous separation (a no-fault divorce).

Another way that there are two types of divorce in SC is that all divorces are either 1) contested or 2) uncontested – what makes a divorce uncontested?

Contested or Uncontested Divorces

People often confuse “no-fault” divorce with “uncontested” divorce. They do not mean the same thing.

A truly “uncontested” divorce is when the parties agree on everything, and there are no contested issues at the outset of the case. Even with a no-fault divorce based on one-year’s separation, there are often contested issues like:

  • Child custody and visitation,
  • Child support payments,
  • Alimony payments,
  • Division of marital property including the marital home, vehicles, personal property, and other assets, or
  • Division of marital debts like credit card debt, mortgage, or other bills.

On the other hand, you could have a fault-based divorce that is uncontested

If your spouse admits their misconduct in committing adultery, habitual drunkenness, or physical cruelty, for example, and if there are no contested issues like those listed above, you can have an uncontested, fault-based divorce.


Your Myrtle Beach divorce lawyer on the Axelrod team will help you to decide the type of divorce that will best meet your goals – 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 843-916-9300 or send us a message through our website to find out how we can help.

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