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How long do both parties have to live in South Carolina before one can file for a divorce here? Also, what law is this based on

Bethune, SC |

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SECTION 20-3-30. Residence requirement.

In order to institute an action for divorce from the bonds of matrimony the plaintiff must have resided in this State at least one year prior to the commencement of the action or, if the plaintiff is a nonresident, the defendant must have so resided in this State for this period; provided, that when both parties are residents of the State when the action is commenced, the plaintiff must have resided in this State only three months prior to commencement of the action. The terms 'residents' or 'resided' as used in this section as it applies to a plaintiff or defendant stationed in this State on active duty military service means a continuous presence in this State for the period required regardless of intent to permanently remain in South Carolina.

This answer is for general advice. It is not legal advice and does not create an attorney client relationship. For legal advice you have to retain your own attorney.

Orion Jacob Nessly

Orion Jacob Nessly


Is residency or domicile specifically defined anywhere?

Lloyd Wayne Patterson

Lloyd Wayne Patterson


No it is not. Usually it is determined by testimony or sworn statements unless it is contested. Usually it is only contested when the 6 month residency for jurisdiction of a child custody action. It can be shown by school records, driver's license, utility bills, rent receipts, etc.


I am not licensed in South Carolina, so you may want to double check with a local attorney. But according to my quick research, when both spouses are residents of the state when the action is filed, the plaintiff must have lived in SC for only three months before filing the action.

This information is intended as general information only. This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship between me and the asker.


Each state has a residence requirement for divorce actions. Typically it is different and longer if there are children of the marriage. 703-298-9562, 800-401-1583. Answering your question does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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