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Aggressive Mount Pleasant Divorce Attorneys Stand Up for Clients’ Rights

Experienced lawyers provide comprehensive counsel when a marriage ends

Ending a marriage is never easy. There are plenty of divorce lawyers who can guide you through the divorce process, but Barker Family Law is committed to helping you thrive long after your case is completed. With more than 25 years of experience, we take the time to learn about your unique situation and determine the best way to approach your divorce proceeding. No matter the specific facts of your case, our divorce attorneys in Mount Pleasant will help you evaluate each option to reach an optimal resolution.

Skillful advocates advise on the grounds for divorce in South Carolina

South Carolina recognizes the following five grounds for divorce:

  • One-year separation — This is the only type of no-fault divorce permitted in South Carolina.
  • Adultery — If a petitioner alleges adultery, he or she must be prepared to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that an extramarital affair occurred. This means showing that the wayward spouse had the opportunity and the inclination to commit adultery.
  • Physical cruelty — To dissolve a marriage on this ground, the petitioner must prove physical abuse with sufficient evidence, such as police reports of domestic violence incidents, medical records, photographs of injuries, and witness accounts.
  • Habitual alcohol or substance abuse — In cases where one spouse alleges that the other’s habitual intoxication ruined the marriage, supporting evidence may include arrest records, bills paid for alcohol, and employment records that show work problems related to addiction.
  • Desertion — The law requires a petitioner to prove three elements in a desertion claim. First, that the spouse left, intending never to return. Second, that the spouse has been gone for a year. Third, that the petitioner gave the spouse no good reason for the desertion. For example, if the spouse was fleeing physical cruelty, the petitioner could not turn the situation around and sue for desertion.

The advantage of a fault-based divorce is that you don’t have to wait a year to file your case. You can file for divorce as soon as the incident that gives grounds occurs.

Separation under South Carolina law

South Carolina law does not permit no-fault divorce unless the couple has lived apart for one year. The reason is to forestall rash divorces when a possibility for reconciliation might exist. The state does not recognize separation as a distinct legal status, but courts can set terms for residence, custody and financial arrangements when spouses live apart. An Order of Separate Maintenance and Support is the temporary decree that addresses these and other matters. If you are choosing to file for no-fault divorce, this order can help you avoid disputes in the period before the marriage is dissolved.

Contested versus uncontested divorce in South Carolina

Once you have decided between a fault-based or no-fault divorce, the next question is whether your divorce will be contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce occurs when the spouses are able to reach agreement on alimony, child custody, child support and division of property. If there is consensus, the parties execute a marital settlement agreement which will be submitted to the court for approval. The language within the agreement typically becomes the basis of the court’s divorce decree. When divorcing spouse cannot reach a complete settlement, outstanding issues are decided in a court before the judge. The divorce is then said to be contested. If one or more of your divorce issues must go to court, you can rely on us to fight hard for the best terms and a favorable resolution that provides satisfactory closure.

Firm offers guidance on mediation and other out-of-court divorce resolutions

Parties to divorce who want to achieve a marital settlement often pursue alternative forms of dispute resolution. Mediation is a cost-effective option in which an independent third party assists the spouses in working out their differences. As a certified family court mediator, Douglas Barker can explain the potential advantages of this process. Our firm also represents clients who seek to use the collaborative divorce method, where the parties and their lawyers share information and work cooperatively to reach consensus.

Legal counselors assist with prenuptial agreements and modification of existing orders

We also help those considering marriage to address potential divorce terms proactively. If you have concerns about protecting your property, we can explain the potential benefits of a prenuptial agreement and help you draft a suitable document. Once a divorce decree is entered, some elements of the order, such as child custody or child support, are subject to modification when circumstances change. We provide determined advocacy in post-divorce actions to modify or enforce existing orders.

Contact an established Mt. Pleasant divorce attorney for a consultation

If you’re seeking legal advice on any divorce or separation question, our attorneys offer a initial consultation. Call us at 843-640-0532 or contact us online for an appointment. From our Mount Pleasant office, we represent clients in the courts of Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley counties.

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Our Office
  • Mount Pleasant Office
    1051 Chuck Dawley Boulevard
    Mount Pleasant, South Carolina 29464
    Phone: 843-640-0532
    Fax: 843-310-1031
Client Distinction Award
Douglas Barker has received the 2015 Client Distinction Award from Martindale-Hubbell. This award is given only to lawyers who earn a Client Review Rating Score of 4.0 or higher (on a scale of 1-5). Less than 1% of the 900,000+ attorneys listed on and earn this honor! Mr. Barker's rating actually exceeds the required 4.0, coming in at 5.0 out of 5.0.
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