Frequently Asked Questions

Q.) What is difference between an annulment and a divorce in South Carolina?
A.) An annulment declares that the marriage never legally existed and a divorce declares the end, or terminates a legal marriage.

Q.) What are the grounds for divorce in South Carolina?
A.) Grounds for a divorce in South Carolina include:
1) Adultery;
2) Physical cruelty desertion for more than one year;
3) Habitual drunkenness; provided, that this ground shall be construed to include habitual drunkenness caused by the use of any narcotic drug; or
4) On the application of either party if and when the husband and wife have lived separate and apart without cohabitation for a period of one year.  

Q.) How much does a divorce cost? Is there a consultation fee?
A.) Since every case is different there is no way to set a standard price. Our attorneys charge hourly for virtually all domestic matters. Shannon K. Burnett currently charges $300 an hour charged in 15 minute increments. Generally, our consultations run about an hour and are the hourly rates. During the consultation we will discuss the retainer needed. The retainer is a deposit for the work which will be done on your case. The retainer is not an estimate of the cost of your entire action. Depending on the time spent on your case by the attorney and staff the ultimate cost could be more or less then the retainer. In most cases, the final cost is greater then the initial retainer.

Q.) How long does it take to get a divorce?
A.) The amount of time it takes to get a divorce depends on the grounds for the divorce, and the issues. Unless there is an agreement, it will generally take more than a year to complete.

Q.) Where can I find more information about Collaborative Law?
A.) Please check out these websites to understand more about Collaborative Law:
International Association of Collaborative Professionals (IACP)SC Collaborative Law Institute  
Columbia Collaborative Law Center
Columbia Collaborative Law Center Facebook Page

Q.) What is a guardian ad litem (GAL)?
A.) A guardian ad litem or GAL is a person who represents the interests of another who, for a variety of reasons, cannot adequately represent their own. A GAL is typically, but not always, a lawyer appointed by the Court to conduct an investigation into mattes that might not be brought before the Court by the attorneys representing the parties to an action. A GAL is always appointed for a custody/visitation action acts in the best interest of the children, but is NOT the child’s physical guardian.

Q.) What is Estate Planning?
A.) Estate Planning is the process of making your wishes known (through a Will), insuring health care decisions are followed (through your Power of Attorneys or Advance Directives) and making plans to transfer your “estate” after your death. Your “estate” refers to all property owned by you, including real estate, bank accounts, stocks, life insurance policies and personal property (i.e. automobiles, jewelry, ect.)

Q.) What if I died without a Will?
A.) If you were to die without a Will, the Court will use the default law, the law written by the legislature, to determine how to distribute your assets, which may not reflect your actual wishes.

Q.) How much does a Will cost?
A.) A simple Will is a flat rate of $250.00; however we do offer and recommend our Estate Planning Package that includes a Simple Will, Health Care Power of Attorney, a Durable Power of Attorney and a Revocation of Power of Attorney, if applicable, for $550.00 which does include filing fees. 

Q.) What is the difference between a Living Will and a Health Care Power of Attorney?
A.) A Living Will and a Health Care Power of Attorney are both considered “Advance Directives”, or more simply put health care decisions for your future. The main difference is a Health Care Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone called an “agent” to make health care decisions for you, whereas a Living Will only allows you to express your wishes concerning life-sustaining procedures.

Q.) What is a Durable Power of Attorney?
A.) A Durable Power of Attorney is a General, Special or Health Care Power of Attorney that contains durability provisions. If you were to become mentally incompetent while you have a Durable Power of Attorney, a durability provision ensures the document stays in effect.