My wife has recently filed for divorce after almost two years of infidelity on her part and me trying to work past this and save the marriage. We were married in Michigan and have two children, one of which is biologically mine. She moved to South Carolina saying it was temporary and it would help us, but she never returned.
So I moved to South Carolina last month so I could be with my children and try to fix things with my wife. Once I got here, she filed for divorce. I also recently found out that she has gotten engaged to this other man.
I would like to still fix my marriage because we still get along great, and I still love her. Can the court grant me a request for marriage counseling and stall the divorce process? Also, if a divorce is unavoidable, does the fact that we’ve been living separate make her affair OK in the eyes of the court?
First I must preface my answer that I do not practice in South Carolina. Because each state has laws governing dissolution of marriage, it is important that you seek the advice of a domestic litigation attorney licensed in South Carolina prior to taking action.
Most states are no-fault divorce states, which means the petitioner simply needs to allege that the marriage is irretrievably broken or some other equivalent language. Other states have a fault divorce option. In that case, in theory you could argue that the divorce should not be granted because you are not at fault and don’t want the divorce; however, there is strong public policy against forcing a party to stay in a marriage they don’t want to be in. You should contact an attorney licensed in South Carolina to determine that state’s position on court-ordered marriage counseling.
If the divorce is unavoidable, and I will assume you are referring to a no fault divorce option, then the court will not rule on whether the affair was justified. However, the issue of the affair could have an effect on the issues of custody and alimony.
Again, it would be to your benefit to contact an attorney licensed in South Carolina before taking any action.
Nancy R. Shannon, a Nebraska native, is an Associate Attorney in the Omaha, Nebraska office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. She is licensed in the state of Nebraska where her primary practice is exclusively in the area of domestic relations. Ms. Shannon received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Doane College and her Juris Doctor from University of Nebraska – Lincoln, where she was a finalist in a Moot court competition and active in Client Counseling activities.