Usually divorcing or departing spouses agree on how to divide their marital property. Generally, marital property is property acquired by either party during the marriage except that inherited property which has not been transmuted, commingled or used for the benefit of the marriage. When spouses agree on the division, their agreement is presented to the Family Court which rules on its fairness and voluntariness. When spouses cannot agree on the division, the Family Court must divide their marital property (both real estate and personal assets). The Family Court can also divide marital debt.
In deciding how to divide marital property, the courts use the concept of equitable division. The Family Court can disregard who holds legal title, in dividing marital property. The judge takes several factors into account, including, but not limited to, the following: each spouse's contributions toward acquiring and preserving the property, including the contributions of homemaker spouse; the non-marital property of each spouse; the opportunity each spouse has for future acquisition of income and assets; the length of the marriage; and the age health, income and needs of each partner, as well as marital fault.
This information was prepared to give you some general information on the law. It is not intended as legal advice about any particular problem. If you have questions about the law you should consult a lawyer. If you do not know a lawyer, you can call the South Carolina Bar Lawyer Referral Service weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The number is 799-7100 in Richland or Lexington Counties, and 1-800-868-2284 from other parts of the state.