How Long Does it take to get a Divorce in South Carolina

This is one of the most popular questions that I am asked as a divorce attorney.  People really want to know a time-line.  When are things going to happen.  How long am I going to be married to this (fill-in-the-blank)?  Sometimes, they even have another wedding planned an on the calendar and they are just trying to squeeze in a divorce before the next “big day.”

Giving an answer to this question is pretty difficult.  There are lots of things that play into determining how long it will take to finalize your divorce.  Some of these factors are: what are the issues in your case, are you filing based on fault or on the no-fault ground for divorce, do you and your spouse have any children together, has your spouse hired an attorney, who is that attorney, and on and on.

Another large factor that plays into this equation is the Court docket.  Many court dockets are set out several months in advance, so if you were to request a hearing today, it could be four or five months before the hearing is set.

If there are issues in your case such has who gets the marital home, how to divide up the retirement accounts, who will have custody and visitation of the children, etc.  Many times, people believe they have all of the issues in their case worked out and settled before they meet with a divorce lawyer, but many times they had an agreement in theory, but when you begin to look at how practical their agreement is, it becomes nearly impossible to execute it.  If you are filing for a divorce on a fault-based ground (adultery, physical cruelty, habitual drunkenness, desertion) then you will have a mandatory waiting period of 90 days following the filing of the divorce complaint before you can have a final hearing.  There is no waiting period for a final hearing based on the no-fault ground other than the proper time for the defendant to file an answer which is 30 days from the date of service of the Summons and Complaint.

So, in broad generalities, It could take from about 60 days to over one year based on the specifics of your case to finalize your divorce matter.


  1. Priscilla H. says:

    My son’s divorce was initiated in 2005 by his wife.
    This is 2011,soon to be 2012. He is still not divorced.
    This situation has really taken a toll on our son, his two children,and we as his parents. My son was a successful businessman with a company he built at the age of twenty -three. He has lost everything. It is so heartbreaking to see him become a shell of a man before our eyes. We feel helpless to find an answer.
    I can not understand why between two attorneys there can not be an end to this for the sake of everyone involved. I really just feel this is totally unreasonable!! I have never heard of a divorce taking this long,ever!! I know without a doubt had my son worked a 9-5 job making minimum wage,he would have been divorced within months. I see it all around me. It is a shame people have to be punished for trying to work hard to have good future. The law needs to be changed to have a have a cap on divorce terms. I am not asking you to get involved. I just needed an ear. Thank you for listening. God Bless

  2. sharen garrett says:

    My hushand and i separted in july 2012 , he has a real bad drinking ,and drug problem. I did’nt feel safe in the home and putting up with the mood swings. We have no chirldren together, no property nothing keeping us tied together.How long do i have wait to fill for divorce?

    Thank you,
    Sharen Garrett

    • Hi Sharen, you have a couple of options. If you choose to file for divorce on the fault-based ground of habitual drunkenness, you could file immediately, and the fastest possible time to get the divorce finalized would be 90 days – though it may take much longer depending on any contested issues. If you file based on the no fault ground for divorce, you would have to wait until July 2012 when you have been separated for more than one year to file.

  3. I been married for 3 months and my husband is verbal abusive towards me and he’s committing adultery and I have proof of it. I have no job or money or place to live if we get a divorce and I’m currently pregnant with our first child. He tells me everyday I don’t deserve to be pregnant with his baby and he’s in the military. I went to his command and they did nothing about this. I need help on what to do

  4. This is a lie.In SC i had it proven that my husband lost jobs because off failor to comply to drug policy.So lost job after job.Judge did not even listen to those reasons,then within a couple of months got 2 dui’s within 2 weeks.Still stuck with this bastard no final divorce yet,now they are blaming it on the docket.

  5. Jeanette says:

    I’ve been living g apart from my husband since 2005. We just never needed a divorce, but now I want one to marry someone. Can I get a no contested divorce without a waiting period.

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  7. Nick Roberts says:

    My wife and I got a divorce decree from a judge in Charleston on January 17, 2017. We separated on November 17, 2016. Why do we have to wait until after November 17, 2017 for the divorce to be finalized? The divorce was no fault and we agreed on the division of property.


    Fuck marriage and the horse it rode in on. And, while you are at it fuck the the State, the County, the Judge, the courts, and the lawyers. Why?
    Because when you marry that “Ball N Chain” the thing you call your wife, not only are you marrying that, you are marrying all the above. And guess who owns you now? They Do ha ha ha. Just wanted to share a little bit of wise advise to anyone thinking about getting married. Don’t marry all these greedy unknown people for all they want is to have a job, take all your money and when it comes to to the trial, there is no such thing as a fair trial. All men take note: once you say I Do, its over, kiss your ass goodbye. And if you don’t believe me go ahead and get married. Get back to me in a few years. And what did I charge you for these words of wisdom? $0.00. Have a nice life!
    Terry Lacefield,,,

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