Payne Law Firm, LLC is committed to helping families in the Charleston area resolve their legal matters in a dignified and respectful way.  The breakdown of a long-term relationship is a sensitive and personal matter.  We are zealous advocates for our clients and tailor our approach based on the needs of our clients.  We are dedicated to exploring all of your available options, which include:

  • Litigation
  • Collaborative Law
  • Mediation
  • Arbitration

At Payne Law Firm, LLC, our family law practice areas include:

  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Name Changes
  • Adoption
  • Wills

Whether you are going through a separation, divorce or child custody dispute in Charleston, Berkeley or Dorchester County, we are here with the experience to assist you.

FAQ

When can I file for divorce in South Carolina?

You are eligible to file if one of the spouses is resident of the state for a minimum of one year. If both spouses are residents of the state, you are eligible to file if you have resided in the state for three months.

What are the “grounds” for obtaining a divorce in South Carolina?

You are eligible to obtain a divorce in South Carolina if you have remained continuously separate and apart for one year. Additionally, South Carolina recognizes adultery, desertion, physical cruelty and addiction to drugs or alcohol.

How does the Court determine an award of alimony?

South Carolina Courts consider the following factors when determining the amount of alimony awarded:

  1. The duration of the marriage and the age of the parties.
  2. The physical and emotional condition of the parties.
  3. The educational background of the parties along with the need of each
  4. for additional training or education.
  5. The employment history and earning potential of each spouse.
  6. The standard of living established during the marriage.
  7. The current and reasonably anticipated expenses and needs of each spouse.
  8. The current and reasonably anticipated earnings of each spouse.
  9. The marital and non marital properties of each spouse.
    Custody of the children.
  10. Marital misconduct
  11. Tax consequences
  12. Existence of support obligations from prior relationship
  13. Such other factors that the Court considers relevant

Property Division

What is considered marital property and how does the court divide property?

Marital property is property that is acquired during the marriage. Property that was acquired by the parties prior to the marriage is considered non marital property. The Court considers the following factors when determining property distribution in South Carolina:

  1. The duration of the marriage and age of the spouses.
  2. Marital misconduct.
  3. The value of each party’s marital property.
  4. The income of each spouse
  5. The physical and emotional health of each spouse
  6. The need for additional education
  7. The non marital property of each spouse
  8. Vested retirement benefits
  9. Whether alimony has been awarded
  10. Desirability of awarding family home to custodial parent
  11. Tax consequences
  12. Existence of support obligations from prior relationship
  13. Liens and encumbrances on marital property
  14. Child custody arrangements
  15. Such other factors that the Court considers relevant

How is Child Support calculated?

The South Carolina legislature has established child support guidelines. The guidelines take into consideration the income of both parties, health insurance premiums, work related childcare expenses, and extraordinary medical expenses.