Reconciliation in South Carolina
If you are seeking to reconcile and reestablish marital relations with your spouse in South Carolina, it is important to understand that you can affect your ability to obtain a divorce based on marital misconduct (adultery, desertion, habitual drunkenness, physical cruelty) or seeking alimony by forgiving one of the spouses for their previous marital misconduct.
That is, by condoning the past behavior of your significant other, you may waive your rights to a fault-based divorce or alimony based on the marital misconduct.
Additionally, by reconciling with your spouse, you reset the clock for a no fault divorce in South Carolina which requires one year of continuous separation.
It’s imperative to understand the divorce laws vary from state to state. Indeed, while the Powers Law Firm** helps people in both South Carolina and North Carolina, how we approach matters is very much dependent upon what state is the proper venue and/or jurisdiction to file a Complaint for Divorce.
As the Charlotte-Metro, Rock Hill, and York County region has grown, the legal issues involving separation and divorce have become increasingly complicated. It is not unusual for parties in a separation to move back-and-forth across the border, or work in one state and live in another or to have children attend private school across one border or the other.Reconciliation in South Carolina
Reconciliation of spouses is favored in South Carolina. That is a preference under the public policies established under the SC family laws, specifically known as the codes in the Palmetto state.
South Carolina statutory law (S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-90) prevents a family law judge from entering a final decree of divorce if there is a potential for reconciliation of the spouses.
In fact, a South Carolina family law judge is required to inquire as to whether the spouses have attempted to reconcile in order to prevent a final decree of divorce from being entered.
Additionally, it is important to note that any cohabitation by spouses seeking a no-fault divorce resets the separation period clock. Therefore, prior to cohabitating, spouses may need to consider alternatives such as dating in order to determine if reconciliation is the chosen path.
Also, spouses need to be aware as well of the motivating factors for another spouses attempt to reconcile with them. If the other spouse has been significantly heinous, unreasonable or nasty during the pre-divorce proceedings or had an unfavorable ruling against them early on in the division of assets, it is important for the other spouse to be cognizant of that behavior. Ask yourself: what is the real motivation behind my spouse’s attempts to reconcile with me?What is Condonation?
In South Carolina, condonation requires proof of “forgiveness, express or implied, by one spouse for a breach of marital duty by the other” and reconciliation.
South Carolina courts have conclusively determined that a spouse has forgiven the marital misconduct of another spouse if they cohabitate for a considerable period of time and the spouse has full knowledge of the other spouse’s marital misconduct.
That is, by living together with knowledge of the past misdeed, it is implied that you have forgiven your spouse.
What constitutes a “considerable period of time” in South Carolina is not clearly defined in under the family laws or statutory code. However, courts have found the existence of condonation when there was evidence of five months of continuous, uninterrupted cohabitation even if the relationship was strained during this time period.
The voluntary engagement in sexual relations when the spouses cohabitate is another important factor in determining if a spouse condoned the past marital misconduct of another spouse. Even infrequent sex during cohabitation may be deemed enough for South Carolina courts to find condonation.
Nevertheless, even if cohabitation exists for a 5-month period, South Carolina courts have been hesitant to find condonation if the spouses do not engage in sexual activity or behave in a manner signifying the attempted rekindling of the marital bond.Divorce Lawyers in Rock Hill and York County SC
Clearly the SC family laws regarding reconciliation and condonation get a bit complicated, especially give how fact-specific legal rulings can be. It’s not hard to understand that each case, like each person seeking divorce, is different.
You may be overwhelmed and not quite sure what to do. That’s OK. We’re here to answer your questions and guide you through the process.
It’s OK to ask questions and later decide to do nothing. We won’t be angry or disappointed. We truly want to help you and sometimes that means providing information and advice about options available.
Whether you’re trying to decide whether to separate and maybe divorce, we believe good decisions are more likely if you have all the facts.
You may also want to obtain some neutral third-party advice about reconciliation and if that is in your best interests. The divorce lawyers at our firm can guide you through the process.
For Rock Hill and York County legal inquiries, please call us at: 803-504-6686
For Charlotte family law matters, call: 704-342-4357
**Attorney Chris Beddow helps people with family law matters in both SC and NC. Attorney Bill Powers handles only NC family law cases, primarily in Charlotte. Bill is licensed only in the State of North Carolina. Mr. Beddow is responsible for all legal cases in SC on behalf of the firm and is licensed to practice law in both states.
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