- How do I start the process of divorce?
You are the only person who can decide you are ready for or needing a divorce. Once that personal decision is made, Godfrey Law Firm is here to help you. We offer a free 30 minute consultation to assist you in understanding your rights if you are intending to retain an attorney. If you are simply seeking information from our licensed attorney, without retaining in the near future, you will be charged for the information since advice and information is our “stock in trade”.
- Do my spouse and I each need our a lawyer?
No, but if your spouse wants legal advice your spouse will have to retain his/her own lawyer. A lawyer can ethically represent only one of the opposing parties in a family court proceeding otherwise there is a conflict of interest. In some cases, one person has the lawyer and the other is self represented.
Is it a good idea to handle our divorce without a lawyer if we have agreement? We don’t advise you to be self represented. That is never a good idea when you are not schooled as an attorney and do not know what your legal rights are. Ask yourself: How do you know whether the agreement you are reaching is legally sufficient when you are not a lawyer? Once a divorce is ended, most issues can never be reopened and so whatever you do regarding those will be forever ended. Get a lawyer so you know what you are doing.
- How long does it take to get a divorce in South Carolina?
A No-fault divorce can be filed with the court after the parties have been separated for one year, without living with each other. Fault-based divorces (ones based on fault of one of the parties) take less time as long as issues are settled and the court docketing clerk has court time available. A final divorce in a fault-based divorce can be granted as soon as 90 days from the date the case is filed with the Family Court.
- What is the cost of a divorce case?
Costs are different just as the litigants, their situations, and their issues are different. We base the legal and paralegal fees on the amount of time Godfrey Law Firm works on your case. All cases are unique and require different amounts of time and preparation. The hourly billable rate for lawyers' and paralegals' time will be specified to you at the free 30-minute consultation and will be clearly set out in your Fee Agreement when you retain us to work for you.
- How do I reach you after regular office hours about representation on a divorce case?
Generally, you will not need to reach us because we try very hard to anticipate potential difficulties prior to weekends and holidays. However, every case is different and all clients’ needs are different. If yours is a matter needing after hours work from time to time, please discuss this with us. Typically, if a legal matter arises, either email us or call 911 if there is an immediate threat of harm. After regular office hours, you may leave a message on the voice mail at the office (864/467-9196).Please know that we do not check voice mail after hours routinely.
- Can I meet with you just to discuss my legal options prior to retaining your firm?
Yes, Godfrey Law Firm encourages you to schedule an appointment to discuss your legal options. This appointment will not be free of charge unless you are at that time seriously intending to retain an attorney. Up to a 30-minute appointment is available to you if you are currently “shopping” for an attorney to represent you in litigation. We benefit from the opportunity to meet with you as well.
- Does your firm handle adoptions?
Yes, Godfrey Law Firm handles stepparent and grandparent adoptions and other adoptions not requiring "finding" the child to adopt. Godfrey Law Firm is not an adoption agency.
- Does your firm handle child custody cases?
Yes, Godfrey Law Firm has much experience in handling child custody cases in all of the counties of upstate South Carolina.
- Does your firm handle paternity cases?
Yes, Godfrey Law Firm has much experience in handling cases in which paternity has not yet been established (unmarried father cases) and in which paternity is either being sought or refuted.
- How does child custody get decided in a divorce case?
Both spouses in South Carolina have equal rights to their children born during the marriage until a court order grants one of them custody. When making a determination as to which parent will get custody, a family court judge will consider many factors. The overriding standard is that the best interests of the child be protected. A Guardian ad Litem will usually be appointed by the Family Court judge to represent the best interests of the child or children if the parents disagree regarding custody. A state statute sets out parameters regarding custody determinations. Please look at the Custody Guide in this website for more cursory information.
- What is the general rule of how marital property is divided in a divorce?
Marital property in South Carolina is divided pursuant to the provisions of the Equitable Distribution Statute. This statute contains a listing of the various factors a Family Court judge must consider in dividing the assets and debts that were acquired by the parties during the course of the marriage. There is no set percentage split (i.e. a 50/50 automatic split) in South Carolina. Such factors as 1) fault in the breakdown of the marriage, 2) age and health of the parties, 3) ability to obtain other assets, and 4) nonmarital assets are but a few of the factors to be considered. Please look at the Equitable Distribution of Marital Estate Guide in this website for more cursory information.
- Can your firm help me collect child support?
Yes, Godfrey Law Firm can assist you in collecting child support. Usually, you will need to file a Contempt Action or Rule to Show Cause requesting that the other party be held in contempt of court for failure to comply with a previous court order.
- When is alimony paid in South Carolina?
Alimony must be requested in pleadings in the family court litigation. The family court judge will determine whether to award alimony and what amount should be awarded. There is no official chart or calculator for alimony. There is an alimony statute in South Carolina Code of Laws and there is numerous case law in South Carolina which assist the court to determine alimony issues. Godfrey Law Firm will help you analyze your situation to determine if one of the types of alimony (permanent periodic, rehabilitative, or reimbursement) would be applicable in your case. Please look at the Alimony Guide in this website for more cursory information.
- What can I expect when I retain the Godfrey Law Firm, LLC?
We are a full service firm. That means we are going to advise you and represent you from start to finish. When you retain Godfrey Law Firm, you are not simply hiring an attorney. You will become an important member of our legal team working for the same goal: zealously representing your best legal interests, working to obtain the best results possible for you. You are retaining an entire office not just “a lawyer”. You know the facts of your life, your situation, your life: we know the law, what needs to be done, and how to get it done.
- Together, we can get you beyond this difficult time in your life.
In Family Court matters, we will become the point of contact for your spouse and his/her lawyer. We will prepare all documents necessary to represent you. We will be responsible for timely filing of documents with the court and with obtaining legally sufficient service of all documents which are required by law to be served. We will prepare you for hearings. We will work with you to obtain all of the information you need (from the other party or third parties) so that you can make a fully informed decision regarding the issues in your case. We will attempt to negotiate a workable settlement with the other party or their attorney. We will go with you to mediation and attempt to resolve the matter without the need to have the judge tell you and your spouse what you will do. If settlement attempts fail, we will zealously represent you in a trial of the issues in court.
In Personal Injury matters, we will become the point of contact for the opposing/at fault individual and/or the insurance company and adjuster. You will no longer be bothered by them. We will keep you fully informed of any requests for statements, documents, proof of injury, damages, costs, or other demands frequently made by the insurance companies. We work for you. You will know you are in good hands with us, not trusting the insurance adjuster to tell you’re the truth about the value of your case. You will not have to trust the insurance adjuster to do right by you when he has a vested interest in representing his own employer’s interests! You will have a knowledgeable assertive representative in the matter! We will negotiate from a position of understanding the applicable law and will confer with you to advise you regarding settlement. We will file suit in court if that is necessary to protect your legal rights. We will try your case to a jury if need be to present your case to the jury for their deliberation and decision.