South Carolina law recognizes five grounds for divorce. Four of these are fault ground and one is a no-fault ground. The grounds are as follows:

  • One-year continuous separation (no-fault ground)
  • Adultery
  • Desertion for a period of one year (rarely used because of the availability of the no-fault divorce)
  • Physical cruelty
  • Habitual drunkenness which also includes the use of narcotic drugs

All five of the grounds above require corroboration although, generally speaking, it requires stronger evidence to prove the four fault grounds. The one-year continuous separation divorce cannot be filed until after the parties have been apart for one year. Adultery, drunkenness, and physical cruelty can be filed while the parties are residing together.

How the Grounds for Divorce Affect Your Case

The obtaining of a fault ground divorce may have an impact on equitable division, alimony, custody, and other issues. Certain defenses may be available to the spouse alleged to have committed behavior entitling the other to a fault ground divorce. If grounds are unavailable to a spouse who wishes to institute an action in the family court, they may file a Decree of Separate Maintenance action to address things such as child and financial related matters, however, they must be separated from their spouse.

If you have questions about the various grounds for divorce, please do not hesitate to call toll-free at 888-230-1841 to set up a consultation to discuss your legal rights with an attorney.


John Holland
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John Holland is a Spartanburg Family law attorney, practicing since 2012.