South Carolina Separation Time for Divorce Amendment (2014)
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As of 2014, the state constitution requires a separation period of one year before a no-fault divorce can be permitted.
South Carolina was the last state to legalize marriage divorce, but only on the grounds of desertion, adultery, physical abuse, or habitual drunkenness. In 1969, the law allowed for no-fault divorces, with a required separation period of three years. A decade later the separation period was shortened to one year.
House Majority Leader Bruce Bannister (R-24), who is also a family court attorney, argued that forcing couples to remain married only leads to more aggravation and further harms children. He said, "We should be looking at ways to make marriages better, not hold you into one you don't want to be in. It's too late for the General Assembly to say, 'Well, we're just going to make you and sentence you to a year and maybe you'll reconcile."
- Rep. Ralph Kennedy (R-39) argued, "Isn't this an example of a slippery slope we're going down? Five years from now, is it going to be 3 months? In 15 years are we going to have drive-through divorces because they get in a fight that night?"
Path to the ballot
- See also: Amending the South Carolina Constitution
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