South Carolina does not recognize legal separation the same way other states do. You are either divorced or married to your spouse, even if you no longer live together. You can, however, obtain an Order of Separate Maintenance and Support from the family court, which establishes financial and child-related obligations and can help protect each spouse financially while they are living apart and awaiting divorce.
Barker Family Law can help explain your rights under South Carolina law when you are separated. Over the course of two decades, our attorneys have encountered all types of situations in which married couples want to live separately and have successfully guided clients through the necessary steps to do so.
An Order of Separate Maintenance and Support can be the first step in a divorce. To obtain it, you and your spouse must be living apart. Unless you and your spouse agree regarding finances and children, the court will conduct a hearing and issue an Order of Separate Maintenance and Support to address those issues.
Why not just wait until the divorce is final? A lot can happen to impact your financial situation during that time, particularly if you are waiting the mandatory year for a no-fault divorce. Your spouse could increase your marital debt, you and your child may need financial support, there could be a visitation dispute, or your spouse could sell your assets and clean out your joint bank account.
An Order of Separate Maintenance and Support can address issues including:
Many people believe that once they are separated from their spouse, they are free to start dating again. Since South Carolina courts don’t recognize legal separation, the state considers you to be married until the court issues the final divorce order. While there is no law that prohibits separated couples from dating others, they run the risk of being accused of adultery because they are still considered legally married. We offer the wise counsel our clients deserve in such sensitive situations.
Call Barker Family Law at 843-640-0532 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with a South Carolina family law attorney who understands how to protect your interests in a separation.