Whether you are seeking a divorce based on one of the grounds allowed in South Carolina or seeking a so-called “no-fault divorce,” the experienced divorce lawyers at Morton &  Gettys can help guide you through this difficult time.

In South Carolina, there are five grounds for divorce:

  • Separation of more than one year
  • Physical cruelty
  • Habitual drunkenness (drug abuse also applies)
  • Adultery
  • Desertion

Many divorces are based on separation of more than one year – South Carolina’s so-called “no fault divorce” option. There are strict requirements that must be met in order to file for divorce based on a separation. The couple cannot live in the same home during the proceeding one-year period, which can be difficult financially.

Other requirements that can complicate matters include the recent move of either spouse.  In most cases, the plaintiff (person seeking the divorce) must have lived in South Carolina for at least one year prior to filing. There are exceptions if, for example, both parties live in South Carolina at the time of the filing.

South Carolina divorce law also addresses the county in which the case must be filed, and that, too, can be legally tricky. Failure to meet the requirements can result in the court dismissing the case. Unless both spouses live in the same county at the time the case is filed, it is best to consult an experienced divorce lawyer to make sure everything is handled properly.

Other grounds for divorce in South Carolina are even tougher to navigate. For example, an admission from the straying party usually is not enough to prove adultery. Independent proof from a third-party witness is often required.

Physical cruelty as grounds for divorce also requires proof, and a single incident typically is not sufficient. A pattern of physical cruelty must be established, and evidence must be gathered.

No matter your reasons for divorce, the experienced divorce lawyers at Morton & Gettys will begin by discussing your case with you and carefully analyzing your circumstances in order to advise you the best way to proceed. We will ensure that your case is filed properly, and we will help you gather the evidence you need to see the case through. We also can assist with questions about common-law marriages prior to a 2019 South Carolina Supreme Court ruling that eliminated that option in the future.

Elizabeth Smith Owen


P 803.366.3388  F 803.366.4044

Michael B. Smith


P 803.366.3426  F 803.366.4044