One of the important questions many have when divorce is looming is where exactly you may file. Jurisdiction is a crucial issue in any legal proceeding, and it’s important to understand the rules in South Carolina. To file a divorce in South Carolina, you must have some connection with the state. Before you can file a divorce case in South Carolina, you must meet one of the following conditions:
- You must be a resident of South Carolina.
- Your spouse must be a resident of South Carolina.
- Both of you must currently live in South Carolina.
To explain this a bit more fully, the Family Court system in South Carolina has sole jurisdiction over divorce proceedings. Each county in the state has it owns Family Court, and actions for divorce are either filed in the county where the defendant resides or the county where the parties last resided together. If the defendant is not a resident of South Carolina, then the action can also be filed in the county where the plaintiff resides.
South Carolina law states that before a plaintiff can file divorce in the state, the plaintiff must have resided here for at least one year prior to the filing of the claim or, if the plaintiff is not a resident, the defendant must have resided in the state for one year. A third option says that if both parties reside in South Carolina together, they only need to have done so for three months prior to the filing of the claim for divorce.
Other issues such as the division of property, alimony, visitation, and child support, require obtaining personal jurisdiction over the nonresident spouse. These issues of jurisdiction can be incredibly complicated, especially when spouses are in two different states. To avoid having your case dismissed due to a failure to adequately satisfy jurisdiction, it’s essential that you contact an experienced family law attorney who understands the process and can move your case along smoothly.