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Family Law

Work with an attorney that looks out for your family

Mathias G. Chaplin has a strong family law reputation. Put that reputation to work for your family and get the help you deserve when you’re ready.

What we do:

  • Divorce
  • Child Support Hearings
  • Child Support Contempt Hearings
  • Child Support Reductions
  • Custody
  • Visitation
  • Emancipation

Many family law processes can result in high-cost litigation and prolonged disputes. If your goal is to minimize the time or costs of a divorce or other family law action, I can help. My family law practice is focused on successfully resolving family law disputes while remaining mindful of the costs and commitments of my clients.

My cases range from high-stakes disputes involving complex property division and spousal support to amicable, low-cost uncontested divorces.

Hispanic Man, Woman and Child having fun in the park.The divorce settlement is the backbone of what will happen to your family down the road.  The Law Office of Mathias G. Chaplin makes sure to know your family needs, and then I do everything within the law to get it for you.  If I can negotiate, I will; if I need to litigate; I will.

I develop legal solutions for South Carolina families and help them through the difficult times that accompany divorce and separation.

The rules governing family law in South Carolina are complex and often involve a devastating time period for everyone involved. I am able to provide you with the individual attention you need to serve your best interest. I will give you advice, explain your rights, present your legal options and develop the best strategy to ensure your family’s needs are met.

My unique combination of talent, experience and exclusive focus on family gives you the benefit of having a knowledgeable representative fight to make sure your interests are protected. I endeavor to settle your case amicably but I am willing to aggressively take your case to court.

I can help you:

  • Identify your long term goals
  • Develop long term solutions to problems
  • Understand and comply with complex laws
  • Assist with filing divorce and developing separation agreements
  • Fight for custody and visitation
  • Obtain what you are entitled to
  • Ensure the compliance of court orders
  • Filing for divorce

To begin the divorce process in South Carolina, one spouse must file a complaint for divorce in the county where your spouse lives or where you live if your spouse does not reside in South Carolina. If you both still live in the state, you may also file where you last lived together.

SC residency requirements apply: you or your spouse must have been a resident of South Carolina for at least one year. If both of you live in South Carolina, you must both have lived here for at least three months.

In South Carolina, you can file for divorce based on five grounds.  They include either a single no-fault ground that only applies if you and your spouse have been living separate and apart for one year or Four Fault Grounds:

  1. Adultery
  2. Physical cruelty
  3. Desertion for more than one year
  4. Habitual drunkenness or habitual use of drugs

Division of property

In South Carolina, the court divides marital property—the assets and debts you jointly acquired and owned during your marriage—equitably when you divorce. Equitable distribution means fair, not necessarily equal, distribution.

050610EminentDomain_2Some property, however, is considered separate and not marital property, including property acquired—

  • Prior to your marriage
  • Separately during the marriage until the point of separation
  • Through gift or inheritance
  • In exchange for non-marital property
  • Due to an increase in value of any non-marital property
  • Judges consider several factors in dividing marital property:
  • How long you were married, both spouses’ age at the time of the marriage and at the time of divorce
  • Any marital misconduct
  • Value of marital property
  • Each spouse’s income and earning potential
  • Each spouse’s physical and emotional health
  • Need for additional training of education to achieve that spouse’s income potential
  • Non-marital property
  • Any vested retirement benefits
  • Alimony
  • Awarding the family home to the spouse with physical custody of the children
  • Tax consequences
  • Any support obligations from a prior marriage
  • Liens or other encumbrances upon marital property
  • Child custody arrangements and obligations

Legal separation

If you and/or your spouse seek legal separation, similar rules to divorce apply. However, the grounds are not as strict and the judges do not require as much proof. Although you remain married, the following become legally defined:

  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • Child custody
  • Property—including house, car, furnishings, savings accounts, and other assets
  • Visitation
  • Restraining orders

Child Custody

The state encourages both parents to remain engaged and involved in their child’s life, however, family court judges consider a broad range of factors when deciding where a child will spend his or her nights and how much time each parent will spend with a child.

These factors include:

  • Which parent served as the primary caretaker during the relationship?
  • The stability of each parent’s home environment
  • The character, fitness, attitude and inclinations of each parent
  • The child’s preference, if the child is deemed of suitable age and maturity to make a decision
  • The existence of any physical abuse, sexual abuse or domestic violence, or any immoral conduct by either parent
  • The opinion of a court-appointed guardian ad litem
  • Any written agreement that both parents have reached

Child Support

Child support orders are based on two primary factors:

1) the income of both parties

2) the amount of time each party spends with the children.

Generally, the non-custodial parent, or the parent whose income is the highest, pays support to the other parent for the time period that the children are not in his or her custody. In other words, the more time the non-custodial parent spends with the children, the less child support s/he will be ordered to pay to the custodial parent.

Contact us today to explore the best options for your case.

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