Family Law & Civil Litigation
At Peacock Law Group of the Lowcountry, LLC, we know that family law cases often cause extreme stress for families regardless of the value of the parties’ marital estate. We also know that family court cases are often frequently contentious and can be extremely complex. However, when handled properly, parties are often able to reach settlements that are fair and equitable to each party.
Mr. Peacock has the skill, knowledge, and experience to resolve your divorce and child custody case with as little contention as possible and the most effectiveness given the facts of your case. We can help you protect your financial future and your children’s best interests. Mr. Peacock aims for amicable resolutions for each family law case; however, Mr. Peacock prepares each case as if going to trial is inevitable.
Peacock Law Group is known for taking the most contentious, challenging, complex, divorce, custody, or other family law related cases in the Lowcountry area. Even in the most difficult circumstances, Mr. Peacock seeks to minimize conflict between parties to help clients achieve an amicable, fair, and equitable resolution to their family law matter.
We handle all divorce, custody, and post-divorce-related cases, including:
- Modification Proceedings
- Grandparent Visitation
- Settlement Agreements
- Military Divorce
- Prenuptial Agreements
- Postnuptial Agreements
- Reconciliation Agreements
- Enforcement Proceedings
- High-Asset Property Divisions
- Determination of Income
- Calculation of Alimony
- Calculation of Child Support
- Interstate Child Abduction
- Jurisdictional Disputes
What are the grounds for divorce in South Carolina?
South Carolina has four fault grounds for divorce: adultery, physical cruelty, desertion, and habitual drunkenness/drug abuse, and a fifth no-fault ground of living separate and apart for one year continuously without co-habitation. In order to obtain a divorce, the party who files must prove at least one of these grounds with legally sufficient evidence.
Do my spouse and I need to agree to get a divorce?
No. Your spouse cannot stop you from obtaining a divorce. If you can prove your grounds for divorce and your spouse does not have a legitimate defense to dispute your claim, then the Court will very likely grant your divorce.
What is a legal separation in South Carolina?
South Carolina does not recognize a legal separation. A couple is either married or not married. However, there is a similar type of action called “An action for Separate Maintenance and Support.” This action is similar to other state’s legal separations.
Do I need to live in South Carolina to be able to file for divorce here?
To file for divorce in South Carolina, both parties must have lived in South Carolina for three months. If one party has lived in South Carolina for at least one year, such party can file for divorce in South Carolina even if the other spouse has never set foot in this state.
Where do I file for divorce?
In South Carolina, the Family Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over actions for divorce. Each county in South Carolina has a family court. Actions for divorce are tried in the county where the defendant resides at the commencement of the action or the county where the parties last resided together as husband and wife. If the defendant is not a South Carolina resident, then the action is tried in the county where the plaintiff resides.
Does fault play a role in the divorce?
The court may consider fault by either party when determining alimony, separate maintenance and support, and the equitable distribution of property. In South Carolina, adultery by the party who would otherwise receive alimony is an absolute and complete bar to the receipt of alimony.
How long does it take to finalize a divorce? How fast can I obtain a divorce?
Each family law case is as unique as each family. There are a few general rules to consider. Unless the Plaintiff seeks a divorce on the ground of one year’s continuous separation, any request for a divorce on a fault ground cannot take place at a hearing until two months after the complaint is filed, but the actual divorce cannot be issued until three months have passed. With the no-fault divorce on the ground of one year’s continuous separation without cohabitation, the Plaintiff can file the action prior to the one year continuous separation one year time period and a day after the year passes. A hearing and divorce are possible either thirty days after service upon the Defendant or if the Defendant files an Answer before the thirty day time period runs out, one could immediately request a hearing.
How will property be divided?
It is impossible for an attorney to answer this question honestly, as it is the Court’s job to apply many factors to determine a fair and equitable division of property. In South Carolina, the Family Court has jurisdiction to equitably divide the parties’ marital property. There is no pre-set rule regarding the division of assets. The Courts consider a variety of factors set out in our statutes including: duration of the marriage; separate maintenance and/or alimony awarded; child custody arrangements; physical and emotional health of each spouse; financial/economic circumstances of each spouse; vested retirement benefits of each spouse; need for additional training or education to achieve spouse’s income potential; liens or encumbrances on marital and separate property/debts; non-marital property of each spouse; tax aspects of divorce; support being paid or received by either spouse regarding a prior marriage or child; desirability of retaining the marital home; each spouse’s contribution to the marriage; fault or marital misconduct of either party; and any other factors necessary to do equity and justice.
What is the difference between marital and non-marital property?
Generally, non-marital property is usually considered any asset owned prior to the marriage, inherited by a party during the marriage, or a gift from a third party during the marriage so long as such non-marital property is not commingled with marital property. Marital property includes all real and personal property acquired by the parties during the marriage, gifts between spouses given during the marriage, and vested and non-vested benefits or funds accrued during the marriage such as retirement accounts, pensions, and real property. There are many exceptions to this list, and there are situations where non-marital property can turn into marital property. To protect your interests, it is always recommended that you consult with an experienced family law attorney who can give you sound legal advice on this topic as it applies to your own case.
What is alimony?
Alimony is post-divorce support payments (on some occasions, it can even be ordered on a Temporary Basis (during the pendency of the action) made by one former spouse to another former spouse. There are five types of alimony in South Carolina: periodic, lump sum, rehabilitative, reimbursement, and other.
What is separate maintenance and support?
Separate maintenance and support refers to pre-divorce support payments made by one spouse to another spouse. While either the Plaintiff or Defendant may be eligible for alimony, fault by either party is one of the many factors considered by the court when determining the alimony amount. It is important to note that proven adultery can bar a spouse from receiving alimony or separate maintenance and support. In South Carolina the courts consider the following factors when awarding alimony: duration of the marriage together with the ages of the parties at the time of the marriage and divorce; physical and emotional condition of each spouse; education background of each spouse including the need for additional training to reach their income potential; employment history and earning potential of each spouse; custody of the children; standard of living established during the marriage; tax consequences; the existence of a support obligation from a prior marriage; current and reasonably anticipated earnings of each spouse; current and reasonably anticipated expenses of each spouse; marital misconduct or fault of either party; and such other factors the court may wish to consider.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a negotiation conference where the parties agree to present all or select issues in dispute before a third-party neutral called the mediator. In South Carolina, divorce and/or child custody cases, mediation of the case is mandatory prior to a trial of the matter. The mediator works with the parties and assists them in settling their issues, but mediators cannot advise either party or make a decision for them. Further, the parties are not required to reach an agreement at mediation.
What factors may the Court consider when awarding custody?
The foremost consideration the court looks to in all child custody controversies is the best interests of the child. There are other factors the court may consider when awarding custody such as: religious upbringing for the child; child’s reasonable preference when appropriate; domestic violence issues; the character, fitness, attitude and inclination on the part of each parent as they impact the children; who has been the child’s primary caregiver; immoral conduct by a party that would be detrimental to the welfare of the child; the psychological, physical , environmental, educational, medical, family, emotional, and recreational aspects of each child’s life; and any written agreement between the parties.
What factors may the Court consider when establishing child support?
In South Carolina, child support is governed by the Child Support Guidelines issued by the South Carolina Department of Social Services. Child support may deviate up or down from these guidelines only if the Court makes specific findings as to the reasons for any such ordered deviations.