A brief guide to annulment of marriage in South Carolina
The process of separating from one's spouse can be legally complicated and emotionally difficult. Some people may not wish to obtain a divorce for religious reasons or because of other concerns and seek out annulments of marriage in South Carolina instead. Unlike a divorce, an annulment states that a marriage was not valid to begin with.
Unfortunately, the conditions under which you may seek out an annulment of marriage in South Carolina are very limited under the law. First you must make sure that you qualify for this procedure. In order to receive annulments of marriage in South Carolina, either you or spouse must presently reside in the state. If a marriage occurred in the state but neither spouse currently resides there, you may not undertake this procedure.
State law states that there is effectively only one way in order to obtain an annulment of marriage in South Carolina. There are two conditions, both of which must be met. In order to obtain annulments of marriage in South Carolina:
• The marriage can never have been consummated. This means that in order to qualify for an annulment of marriage in South Carolina, you and your spouse cannot have had sexual relations following a ceremony.
• A couple cannot have lived together for any period of time. This means that if you only spent a honeymoon evening together, you are not eligible for annulments of marriage in South Carolina.
If you meet all of the requirements, the process will take some time in order to be completed. Unlike divorce proceedings, there are few ways to expedite the process of being granted an annulment of marriage in South Carolina. Your spouse must be filed with a copy of the petition. After this time, there will be a 30 day waiting period before you can proceed to a hearing regarding annulments of marriage in South Carolina.
There is no statute of limitations regarding when you may initiate this process. Providing you qualify for an annulment of marriage in South Carolina, you may file for this at any time.
People who do not wish to obtain a divorce for legal reasons may obtain an annulment through the Catholic Church if they are members. However, you should be aware that any such annulments of marriage in South Carolina will not be legally binding. Although the church will recognize that you and your spouse are no longer married, the state will not.
An alternative to filing for an annulment of marriage in South Carolina is to create an agreement related to "separate maintenance." This means two spouses will need to create a separation agreement detailing how they plan to handle issues such as:
• Child custody arrangements
• Payment of jointly incurred debts
• Division of jointly owned property
Such agreements are just as legally binding as those in a divorce agreement. Like annulments of marriage in South Carolina, they allow two spouses to separate without violating their religious beliefs.