Outstanding Family Lawyers in Charleston

Divorce & Separation

Whether contested or uncontested, with many assets or none, our divorce attorneys in Charleston will guide you through it.

Divorce Lawyers in Charleston

Our Charleston divorce attorneys don’t try to profit from the mistakes made in your marriage. Instead, we’ll give you practical advice and affordable solutions.


Child Custody & Visitation

We know how important your children are to you. Our Charleston custody attorneys will help you take care of your family.

Custody Lawyers in Charleston

You want what’s best for your children, and so do we. With so much at stake, choose the child custody lawyers in Charleston who care – Futeral & Nelson.


Alimony & Child Support

Divorcing can mean hard financial times ahead. Let our Charleston family law attorneys protect your financial future.

Family Lawyers in Charleston

Whether you are paying or receiving alimony or child support, our Charleston family lawyers will protect your rights and work hard to get you fair financial results.


Give Us Your Problems ~ We’ll Give You Solutions

The Charleston Family Law Attorneys of Futeral and Nelson, LLC

Our Charleston family law attorneys are here to guide you through family court every step of the way. We’re practical, efficient, and reasonably priced. We don’t take risks with your family, your money, or your future. Give us your problems, and our family lawyers in Charleston, Stephan Futeral, Thomas Nelson, and Kelsey Gilmore-Futeral, will give you solutions. To help you get started, here are some basic questions our clients ask:

The answer depends upon the grounds for divorce. Under South Carolina law, there are several grounds for a divorce: (1) adultery; (2) desertion for a period of one year (rarely used); (3) physical cruelty; (4) habitual drunkenness or drug use; or (5) living separate and apart without cohabitation for a period of one year. For reasons (1) through (4), you can’t get divorced any sooner than 90 days after the case is filed. The bottom line is, even in a simple, uncontested case for divorce, it may take many months before you get a final decree.

Each case is unique, and therefore it is not possible to determine beforehand what split the court will make. However, the longer your marriage, the more likely there will be an even split of assets. In determining how to divide property between the parties, the court generally looks at the following factors:

(1) the duration of the marriage; (2) the age of the parties; (3) the physical and emotional condition of each spouse; (4) the educational background of each spouse, together with need of each spouse for additional training or education in order to achieve that spouse’s income potential; (5) the employment history and earning potential of each spouse; (6) the standard of living established during the marriage; (7) the current and reasonably anticipated earnings of both spouses; (8) the current and reasonably anticipated expenses and needs of both spouses; (9) the marital and non-marital properties of the parties; (10) custody of the children, particularly where conditions or circumstances render it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home, or where the employment must be of a limited nature; (11) marital misconduct or fault of either or both parties if the misconduct affects or has affected the economic circumstances of the parties, or contributed to the breakup of the marriage; (12) the tax consequences to each party as a result of the particular form of support awarded; (13) the existence and extent of any support obligation from a prior marriage or for any other reason of either party; and (14) such other factors the court considers relevant (this last factor is a “catch-all” factor that allows the court to consider any matter it deems important and appropriate).

Child support is calculated using the parties’ gross income and certain child-related expenses that are plugged into a mathematical formula which is set forth in the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines. However, if there are special circumstances, the court may order a party to pay more or less than what is calculated under the guidelines. For example, if you don’t have custody of your child and you must travel from out-of-state to exercise your rights of visitation, the court may allow you to pay less than the guidelines due to the extra expense of travel and lodging.

The court decides custody by determining what is in the child’s best interest. Like division of martial property, each case turns on its own set of facts and circumstances. Typically, the court looks at many factors to award custody, such as the child’s wishes (if the child is old enough to convey his or her desires), the needs of the child, the ability of the parents to provide a stable home environment, the child’s educational needs, and the character and fitness of each parent (such as criminal records or a history of drug and alcohol abuse).

In making a determination, the court may order that the child be appointed a neutral third party, known as a guardian ad litem, to make a recommendation to the court as to what is in the child’s best interests. The guardian ad litem will meet with the child and each parent, the child’s family members and teachers, and other witnesses. Additionally, the court, the guardian ad litem, or the parties may request that a licensed professional prepare a “custody evaluation” based, in large part, on the psychological profiles of the parents and their motivations for custody. Additionally, the guardian ad litem may request that court appoint an attorney to represent him or her in the trial of the case. Importantly, in addition to paying attorney fees, the parties may be required to split the cost of the guardian ad litem’s fees and the fees of the guardian’s attorney.

There is no such thing as a “legal separation” in South Carolina. You’re either married or not. However, if you are separated but don’t yet have grounds for a divorce, you can file an “action for separate support and maintenance.” This action allows the family court to resolve all issues (such as custody, child support, property division, and spousal support) except granting a divorce.

If you and your spouse have lived in South Carolina for at least three months, either of you can file for a divorce in South Carolina. If your spouse lives in another state, you need to reside in South Carolina for at least one year before you can file for a divorce here. Regardless of whether you can file for a divorce in South Carolina, if your spouse, property, and children are out-of-state, the court may not have jurisdiction over division of property, alimony, visitation, and child support. Overall, jurisdictional issues can be very complicated, so please call us if you have questions.

The answer is MAYBE but DON’T move out until you talk to us first! In some cases, moving out can seriously harm your legal situation. For example, more often than not, if you move out, it isn’t likely that the family court will let you back in. Also, after you move out, the family court can order separate maintenance and support. In plain English, that means you could end up paying for both your old living expenses along with your new ones.


Download Our Free eBook on Divorce in South Carolina

Divorce in South Carolina

Divorce in South Carolina - Piecing It All Together

Getting divorced is rarely easy. Our Charleston family law attorneys wrote this practical, insightful book to guide you through it.


“Divorce in South Carolina – Piecing It All Together,” is free on the iTunes® Bookstore or as a PDF! We wrote this book especially for divorcing couples in South Carolina.

With over 100 pages of information covering South Carolina’s family laws, you’ll get straightforward answers to just about any questions you might have about how the family court calculates alimony,and child support, division of marital property including pensions and IRA’s, the role of a guardian ad litem in custody cases, temporary hearings and orders, and the legal procedures in South Carolina’s family courts.

The book is also a practical guide on how to deal with your spouse and your children during your divorce, what to do if your spouse is hiding income or assets, ways to reduce your legal fees, and much more.

Family Lawyer in Charleston for All of Your Needs

Here’s a list of some of the things we do as family law attorneys in Charleston. If you need us for any of the following, then contact us today:

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If you need a family lawyer in Charleston, we can help. Discounts for military, law enforcement, and firefighters. 843-284-5500.

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