Can a South Carolina Divorce be Reversed?

At some point during your marriage, things took a turn for the worse and you and your spouse decided that it was best to part ways. You hired lawyers, went through the South Carolina divorce process and got your final divorce decree from the court. As time went on, however, you both decided that you wanted to reconcile and give your marriage a second chance. This time around, you hope it will be different.

With your decision to get back together brings up the question: Can you reverse a divorce in South Carolina?

Can you Reverse Your Divorce in South Carolina

In South Carolina, you cannot reverse a divorce once it’s finalized and a decree has been issued by the court. You can, however, obtain a subsequent marriage license and undergo a ceremony to become married again.

If you’re still in the divorce process and it is not yet final, then you can always change your mind. Both you and your spouse need to be on the same page, though.  If an action has commenced but the other spouse has not yet been served, the initiating party can dismiss the action on their own.  However, once both parties are engaged in the case they will both need to consent for the divorce action to be dismissed.   

Since consent is usually required for a dismissal, it is typically done by both parties signing and filing a Consent Order of Dismissal with the family court. You can do this at any point in your divorce process before it’s finalized. Your family court lawyer will write draft the order and include why you want it to be dismissed. It can usually be dismissed swiftly if you and your spouse agree to it.

If you change your mind a second time and do decide to go through with the divorce, you’ll need to hire your family law attorney again and restart the divorce process. The process will include paying a fee to file and getting the valuation of your assets all over again, among other steps. Before you decide to dismiss your divorce, you’ll need to take all of that into consideration.

If you decide to reconcile in the middle of your divorce case, it can also be prudent to consider drafting a postnuptial or reconciliation agreement.  This is also an option if you have obtained a final order called a Decree of Separate Maintenance but have not yet gotten divorced.  Your family court lawyer can walk you through provisions you may want to include in such an agreement, to clarify each party’s intentions with regard to alimony, assets and debts in the event the parties decide to separate again later.

Remarrying in South Carolina

After your divorce is finalized, you need to wait 24 hours to apply for a marriage license in South Carolina. Since you can’t reverse your divorce after it’s finalized, the most practical step is just to get legally remarried. If you decide that the marriage isn’t working out the second time around, you’ll have to start your divorce process once again.

The Divorce Process in South Carolina

To get a divorce in South Carolina, you’ll have to file for a no-fault or fault divorce. A “no-fault” divorce is one in which the parties have been living separate and apart for one year or more.  (If that has not happened but there is also no fault ground, you can obtain what’s called a Decree of Separate Maintenance which will govern the terms of your separation while you wait your one year.) 

In a fault-based divorce, the accusing party must prove the other spouse committed adultery, engaged in acts of physical cruelty against him/her, or engaged in habitual drunkenness or drug use.  There is also a fault ground for desertion for more than one year, but since the no fault one year’s separation ground has become available, this fault ground is no longer commonly used.

In a “no-fault” divorce, you and your spouse will need to have lived separate and apart for at least one year without reconciliation before you can get divorced. With a fault ground, divorce can occur in as little as three months from the date of filing, assuming all other issues can also be settled or determined in that time. 

If you’re the spouse filing for divorce, either both spouses need to have lived in the state for three months or you need to have lived in South Carolina for at least a year before filing.  If your spouse lives out of state, it is important to consult with a family law attorney to ensure South Carolina is the proper jurisdiction for you to file your case.  There are special rules about that, especially when children are involved.

Hiring a Family Lawyer

Even if you think you can figure out how to dismiss your divorce proceedings or start new proceedings on your own, it is in your best interest to hire a family law attorney to represent you. Your lawyer will clarify all the legalities for you and draft and file your forms in the proper manner. They will also advise you on how to get what you deserve if you do decide to go ahead with your divorce. For instance, your spouse may not want to give you your portion of your marital property or pay spousal support, but your lawyer will advocate for you to help ensure that your rights and interests are fully protected.

Contact Cate & Brough, P.A. for Assistance

If you need help stopping a divorce or filing for divorce in South Carolina, don’t hesitate to reach out to Cate & Brough, P.A. today. We’re here to help you navigate the divorce process and ensure all your questions are answered in a timely manner. To get started, message us online or call our office today at (864) 585-4226 to schedule a consultation.

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Cate & Brough, P.A.

At Cate & Brough, we all have personal experience with family law and family court. We know more than just what the law says about your issue – we know what you are going through.
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