Proving One Year Separation

The no-fault ground for divorce in South Carolina is to prove that you and your spouse have lived separately and apart for more than one year.  That means that you have intentionally and voluntarily lived in a separate residence from your spouse for more than one year.  This does not include sleeping in the guest bedroom down the hall.

Many clients ask me if they need to bring in a copy of an apartment lease or hotel receipt to prove the time they moved out.  Usually this is not necessary.  You will simply testify that you moved out or separated from your spouse on a certain date.  Then you will need a witness who knows you well enough that if you were to get back with your spouse they would probably know about it.  Someone who visits your home regularly and calls you on the telephone regularly.  This witness needs to be at least 18 years old, can be a family member or friend, but should not be a child of the marriage.  Their testimony will corroborate yours and that will be enough proof for your divorce.


  1. My wife and I are considering a trial seperation and in that light we may continue to see each other and do things together while we are working through our problems. We will be living apart but on occasion may spend the night together once in a while.

    If we legally sperate into two domiciles on July 1 but spend a night together a few times does the 1 year clock start at the time of the legal seperation or the last night we slept in the same home?

  2. Hi,

    My wife and I wanted to start divorce proceedings but I hear from your site that it takes a year in South Carolina. She wants to go back home to Mexico because she is sick of living here in the US. Can the divorce proceedings be done while she is living over there? Thanks, Alex

    • Tripp Atkins says:

      Hi Alex,
      In order for SC courts to have jurisdiction, if your wife moves out of the state, you would have to live here for 1 year and then you could file for divorce. So even if she moves you will be able to file for the divorce hear after you have lived separate and apart for more than one year (or if you satisfy another divorce ground). Everything can still be done while she is living in another country.

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