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I have a simple divorce. How much do you charge?
A divorce is simple if it is uncontested and you do not have children and you do not have any assets or debts to divide. Unless, it meets all 3 criteria, you can face "complications". I generally charge a retainer understanding that not many cases meet all 3 criteria.

What are some of the "complications" in a divorce?
The attitude of your spouse can make your life miserable and your divorce costly. Cases that should be super simple become drawn out and expensive because of your spouse's attitude. We won't know this dynamic until we're into your case.
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Can we use one attorney?
A lawyer who represents both parties has a conflict of interest. Because of that conflict, I don't represent both of you. It's always best to hire your own lawyer to represent only your best interests.
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But we already figured out what we want to do and just need an attorney to write it down - will you do that?
Yes. But I'll still only represent one of you. I'll help ensure that you covered all of your bases in your negotiations with your spouse. You may have overlooked important issues that you need to take care of now. If you don't, they may rear their ugly head later and become even more costly to fix.
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How long will it take to get divorced?
That depends on how much you and your spouse agree on things and what ground for divorce you have. Even if you don't have a ground to get divorced immediately, you can still settle your case and have the court approve your agreement and get financial and custody issues behind you as you wait for a no-fault (one-year separation) divorce.
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Does my spouse have to go to court?
It's best for both you and your spouse to go to court. If you've settled your case, the family court still needs to approve your agreement after which it becomes a court order. To approve your agreement, the judge has to conclude that both of you entered into it knowingly, freely, and voluntarily. Once your agreement becomes a court order, it's enforceable through all of the family court's contempt powers. That means if you or your spouse willfully violate any of its terms, you could go to jail for up to 1 year and/or be fined up to $1,500.00 and/or perform up to 300 hours of community service. At the hearing to approve your agreement, the judge or the attorneys ask both you and your spouse lots of questions to ensure that you know all of this. So it's best for the 2 of you to be there. But, if for some good reason you or your spouse cannot, there are certain things we can do to still give the judge all of this information so your agreement can be approved.
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What if my spouse and I do not agree and I have to sue for custody, child support, alimony, property, and other things. Is it best if I start the lawsuit (e.g. I am the Plaintiff)?
If you file first, you will be the Plaintiff. The court papers are called the "Complaint". You then have to pay the filing fees and process server expenses to put those papers in your spouse's hands. If your spouse files first, then s/he will have to pay them. Don't sweat it if your spouse files first. Instead of being the Plaintiff, you will then be the Defendant. You still get your day in court. The court papers that are filed for the Defendant are called the "Answer and Counterclaim". We put the same things in it that we put in the Complaint.
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What is joint custody?
There is joint legal and physical custody. Joint physical custody is where both parents share an equal amount of time with the children (e.g. one week-one week). Joint legal custody is where both parents participate in making important decisions about how their children are raised. Most joint custody is "joint legal custody" where the children primarily live with one parent and the other parent has very liberal visitation but both share responsibility in child rearing. We usually negotiate that the parent with whom the children primarily live has final say when the parents disagree on child-rearing.
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What is the standard visitation schedule?
There is none. Different judges view it differently. The non-custodial parent usually exercises visitation every other weekend, maybe some time during week, alternating holidays (which can be extended to coincide with the time school is on break for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring Break), and extended summer visitation. The exact amount of time is negotiable.
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How is child support calculated?
Using the South Carolina child support guidelines. Though you can check them out on the DSS website at http://www.state.sc.us/dss/csed/calculator.htm beware - they are not accurate. However, they will give you a rough idea about how much child support you will receive or pay. Judges use a different software program which I use too.
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Can I have child support paid through "the court"?
Yes. Child support can be paid through the Clerk of Court's office. On top of the amount of child support that the guidelines calculate, the paying parent will also be assessed a 5% administrative fee which the Clerk's office keeps. The turn-around time is very fast from when the Clerk's office receives the money to when you get it.
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Will my spouse have to pay my attorney's fees?
Maybe. Just because your spouse is "at fault" does not mean a judge will require him or her to pay your attorney's fees or costs. There are specific guidelines that judges use and "fault' is not on the list
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The law firm of Nancy A. Lipski, LLC is located in Lexington, South Carolina. Attorney Lipski serves clients from cities that include Columbia, West Columbia, Cayce, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Gilbert, Batesburg-Leesville, Swansea, Gaston, Pelion, Saluda, Aiken, Camden, Orangeburg, Spartanburg, Greenville, Myrtle Beach, Conway, Beaufort and throughout Richland County, Lexington County, Saluda County, Aiken County, Kershaw County, Orangeburg County, Spartanburg County, Greenville County, and Horry County.

This website provides general information only. Nothing should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. The information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing it does not create, a lawyer-client relationship. Do not send any information that is confidential or "secret". Until Attorney Lipski is retained, information is not protected from disclosure.

Lipski Law Firm concentrates on these areas of the law:

Nancy Lipski
Attorney at Law
101 Martel Drive
Lexington SC 29072
(803) 951-2772

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