Divorce, Annulment, Or Separation: What’s The Difference?

A pair of scissors cutting apart a cardboard man and woman holding hands.

If your marriage is in the process of unraveling, you’re not alone, but it’s important to know what you’re facing if headed toward divorce. While it’s an emotionally driven process, knowing the difference between divorce, annulment, and separation will benefit you.


Separation is a common term for a marriage that’s in trouble. It’s a way to test the waters of being apart, work on reconciliation, or stay apart for a full year to qualify for a no-fault divorce. However, in South Carolina, the courts don’t recognize “separation” as a legal term. A married couple can separate, live in separate homes, separate their finances, etc., but they are still considered legally married until they get a divorce. Couples can, however, seek maintenance, spousal support, during the separation by filing for an Order of Separate Support and Maintenance with the court.


In all states, divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage. Therefore, the process must go through the court system to be legally binding. The courts recognize five different reasons for divorce in South Carolina, including physical cruelty, abandonment, adultery, habitual drunkenness, and no-fault. Once filed, a family court judge will preside over the case to help determine the conditions of dissolution and settlements.


Unlike a divorce which dissolves a valid marriage, an annulment indicates the end to a marriage that was not valid to begin with because of a condition that existed at the time of the “marriage”. Reasons the courts will consider annulling a marriage include:

·                Coercion to marry

·                Bigamy

·                Incest

·                Fraud

·                Mental incompetence

·                If one party was underage

·                Lack of cohabitation

No matter what, the end of a marriage can be a stressful, emotional, and often overwhelming time. Whether you know the best option for you or you need guidance to determine the right course of action, it’s critical to have an experienced legal team in your corner. If you’re considering separation, divorce, or annulment, contact the team at McCutchen McLean, LLC.

The 3 Biggest Mistakes Business Owners Make Prior To Death

A business owner spells the word "mistakes" using wooden blocks lined up on a table.

Estate planning is a wise move for most people, especially for business owners. If you are an entrepreneur, it’s vital to make sure you prepare for the unthinkable so your legacy remains intact. Here are the three biggest mistakes business owners make before death.

Mistake #1: Lack of Succession Planning

As a business owner, you must have a plan in place for after you’re gone. The number one thing to build now is a succession plan. Leaving what you’ve spent your life building in unknown hands is a recipe for disaster. Make a succession plan now. You can update it in the future as your business grows and changes.

Mistake #2: Waiting too Long to Make a Plan

Most of us think we have plenty of time for planning and hence put it off indefinitely. But fate can take a cruel twist, leaving your business without leadership, a vision, or a plan. If you die prematurely or unexpectedly, and don’t have a plan, your business could die with you. Don’t wait to put it in writing.

Mistake #3: Making Informal Arrangements

Having an estate plan for your business made informally without legal representation and filing is not much better than no plan at all. Working with an attorney will ensure that the paperwork is accurate, filed appropriately, and that any amendments stand up in court.

Don’t let lack of preparation determine the demise of your life’s work. Estate planning for your business is critical to its success after you’re gone. To get started, contact the legal team at McCutchen McLean, LLC, for the experience and advice you and your business can depend on.



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We recently used James McCutchen and we could not be any happier! He was very kind, thorough when answering all of our questions and the best part of all we got everything completed pretty quickly. We highly recommend James. Thanks again for everything!



I have referred several clients to them. My clients are very happy with the outstanding, timely service they receive. James and Robin are extremely smart and professional, yet speak in "plain english" so everyone walks away educated regarding their tax, estate or family law issue.



Smart people that do great work.



I used Robin McLean as an attorney to secure a divorce about 20 months ago. I found her to be efficient, reasonably priced, and very well skilled. I was completely happy with her work. She did what she said. Since that time, I needed additional help with paperwork and she responded promptly and to my complete satisfaction. I highly recommend Robin as an attorney.


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