"Legal separation" does not exist in South Carolina. In other places, you can go to Court and be "legally separated" so that you're not considered "married" anymore. In South Carolina, you're either "married" or "divorced" (of course, you can also be "single" or "widowed").
But here's what's confusing: you can actually be separated (and you have to be to get a no-fault divorce). In a nutshell, there's a difference between your living situation and your marital status: you can live separate from your spouse, but you are still married.
This can trip people up when they've separated and want to begin dating other people. For example, John and Jane decide they want to divorce. John moves out. Now, John and Jane are separated (in that they are living separate from each other), but they are still married. After 6 months of living separate, Jane meets Bob and wants to start dating him. Why is that a problem? Because Jane is still married to John, even though they aren't living together anymore.
Things could get especially sticky for Jane if she is asking to receive alimony from John. If she begins dating Bob before (1) she and John have formally signed a property settlement agreement, or (2) a Court has issued a final order for separate support and maintenance or approved a marital settlement agreement, Jane will have committed adultery, and adultery prohibits her from receiving alimony. S.C. Code Ann. Section 20-3-130.
Many clients do not understand that moving out does not change their marital status, and think that they are "legally separated" and, therefore, can date like they did when they were single. This is simply not true in South Carolina.
Are you separated from your spouse?
Do you need information about no-fault divorce?
Call (843) 488-2110 to schedule a consultation.