Dividing Property During a Divorce in South Carolina
One of the most challenging and stressful aspects of divorce is the division of property. Unless both spouses can come to an agreement on their own, it is often up to the court to determine who gets what in a divorce. Courts in South Carolina divide property based on equitable distribution, which rather than creating an automatic 50/50 split of marital assets and debt, distributes assets on what the court determines to be fair and equitable to both parties.
Fair vs Equal
Although at first glance an even divide of marital property may seem like a fair course of action, South Carolina courts take into account a variety of factors such as earning potential and child custody to create a potentially unequal but fair distribution of assets.
A common example involves a household where one spouse works and the other manages the children and home. Following the divorce, the homemaker faces the challenge of becoming self-sufficient by gaining employment, and may have the added responsibility of primary custody of the children. The courts may determine that it is more fair to provide the former homemaker with a larger percentage of the marital assets (delete “as support”) while he or she builds an independent life.
Determining Marital Property
Property that was acquired during the course of the marriage (vehicles, joint checking, your home) is generally considered a marital asset, while other property obtained before the marriage or after either spouse files for divorce, as well as certain gifts, inheritance, and agreements, are generally considered separate, non-marital property.
Only marital property will be divided during the divorce proceedings, however, a spouse’s separate property could affect the equitable distribution of marital property.
Protecting your Interests
It is important early on to identify the property that you have a right to and open your own checking account for your needs. It is also recommended to talk with an attorney to help you determine what property can best support you moving forward.
Do you need an experienced and compassionate divorce attorney to represent you during mediation, or if necessary, litigation? Contact the offices of Barth, Ballenger and Lewis today to schedule a time to discuss your case. We will work to help you obtain an outcome that is fair to best help you and your family move forward.