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Can a Jury Decide Your South Carolina Divorce Case?

Posted by J. Benjamin Stevens | Jun 24, 2015 | 0 Comments

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Most people going through a South Carolina divorce are not familiar with the court system and therefore don't know what to expect procedurally in their cases. For example, many people question whether judges or juries will preside over their divorce cases. Many people have heard that they have the right to jury trial, not everyone understands that that only applies to certain court cases and not all of them.

Can a jury decide your divorce case in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, the law is clear that there is no right to a jury trial when it comes to divorce and other family law cases. So, all cases in Family Court are decided by judges, not juries.

Why don't juries decide South Carolina divorce cases?

Many years ago, juries were more commonly used in divorce cases across the country, but there are several important reasons why juries are no longer used today. First is the cost. Juries must be paid for their time, and it takes lawyers more time to prepare to argue cases before those without a deep understanding of the law, which leads to lengthier trials. Additionally, most legal experts agree that judge provide a better, more experienced and impartial way of deciding the complicated issues associated with divorce. Finally, many divorcing couples would simply rather avoid telling a group of strangers the intimate details associated with the unraveling of their marriage.

Do some states still allow jury trials in divorce cases?

There are only two states in the country where couples have the right to divorce by jury: Georgia and Texas. However, while the right remains in place in both states, experts note that jury trial are exceedingly rare in divorce cases, given all the reasons mentioned above.

About the Author

J. Benjamin Stevens

Senior Partner

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