family law

Family Law and Divorce: How Fast Can It Happen?

Family Law Attorneys are often asked“how fast can I get a divorce”? Each case is unique, and the facts of your case will determine how fast you can get divorced. Here are some thoughts to consider: 

  1. Do you have a short term marriage with no children and no, or very little, property? By short term South Carolina means less than 7 years. If you have no kids, little property and can agree between yourselves how to divide it, you can get to court in as little as 6 weeks.
  2. Do you have a long term marriage with children and lots of property? If so, and you retain litigation lawyers, you will most likely be in the Family Court system for about a year, possibly longer. The best way to quickly resolve a family law case is with Collaborative Practice if that process is appropriate for your case. The Collaborative Team will move methodically and rationally through all of the issues in your case and reach a resolution in about 6-8 months. The national average for the length of a collaborative case is 177 days.
  3. Can you prove legal fault? If you can prove your spouse has committed adultery, has a serious substance abuse problem or has physically abused you, you may be able to get a divorce in as little as 90 days. This is called a “fault based” divorce. In spite of the potential 90 day time frame, if you have a long term marriage with lots of stuff and kids, it will be nearly impossible for the Family Court to resolve all those issues (absent an agreement) within 90 days. In all likelihood you and your Family Law attorney are a year away from resolution regardless of the grounds for the divorce unless you have reached an agreement with your spouse.

Once you and your spouse have begun to live under separate roofs, the Family Law Court will have the ability to make orders and approve agreements effecting all aspects of your marriage regardless of whether or not you have lived separate and apart for one year. The actual divorce cannot happen until you have lived separate and apart (under separate roofs) for one year,  but if you have resolved all other issues, the divorce is simply a 15 minute uncontested hearing.

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