When you are preparing to file for a divorce most people would like to file it in the county/court most convenient to them, but that is not always proper or allowed. When considering the proper county for filing your divorce you are considering the proper “venue”. In South Carolina, the proper venue is determined by SC Code §20-3-60.
South Carolina law requires divorce and separate support and maintenance actions to be filed in the county
- where the Defendant resides at the time of filing your divorce case;
- where the Plaintiff resides if the Defendant lives out of state or if the Defendant cannot be found; or,
- where the Plaintiff and Defendant last resided as husband and wife – unless the Plaintiff is not a resident of the State of South Carolina. In that case the divorce must be filed in the county where the Defendant is living.
So you can see that the Plaintiff cannot necessarily file the divorce in the most convenient forum. They must follow these rules. Here are some examples:
- Plaintiff and Defendant lived together in Greenville County before they separated. Plaintiff remains in Greenville County and Defendant moved to Horry County. Plaintiff may file for the divorce in either Greenville County or Horry County because that satisfies paragraph 1 and 3, above.
- Plaintiff and Defendant lived together in Greenville County before they separated. Plaintiff now resides in North Carolina. Defendant has moved to Spartanburg County. Plaintiff must file for the divorce in Spartanburg County since that is where the Defendant is now living.
- Plaintiff and Defendant lived together in Greenville County before they separated. Plaintiff now resides in Greenville County. Defendant resides in New Mexico. Plaintiff must file in Greenville County since the Defendant resides out of state.