In South Carolina, marital property is not always divided 50-50. That is the case in “community property states,” but South Carolina is an “equitable distribution state” that divides marital assets and debt in a way that is fair to both parties. There are many factors the court uses in deciding how to divide the marital estate. Many times, though not always, the court will make a 50-50 division.
It is a mistake to try to handle this division of marital property on your own, particularly if your spouse has hired an attorney. The experienced divorce lawyers at Morton & Gettys can help you work toward what truly is an “equitable distribution.” We are experienced at identifying all marital assets, including those that at first glance might not appear to be marital property because they are in only one spouse’s name.
Debts are also divided when a marriage ends. That means if one spouse incurred substantial credit card bills during the marriage, the other could be held responsible. Evidence of financial misconduct, however, could lead a judge to assign less of the debt to one spouse.
Unlike child support requests that fall under state guidelines, judges have more leeway in dividing marital assets and determining spousal support or alimony. Anything from a spouse’s need for additional education in order to become self-sufficient to tax consequences can be considered in setting spousal support.
That is why people seeking divorce need professional legal advice. The divorce lawyers at Morton & Gettys not only have knowledge of the law, but also the experience earned from helping hundreds of clients work through difficult divorces and emerge with their financial security intact.
We begin by gathering basic financial information – bank records and tax returns, for example. We will then ask pointed questions to help make sure you do not overlook factors which can help you prove your case. The value of unpaid labor including housework or child care or the use of non-marital funds for the benefit of the marriage are two examples.
We will also ask you about your goals. Whether income or assets are more important, we will work to help you secure what is most important to you.