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Grounds for Divorce in SC: Part Two - Habitual Intoxication

on Tuesday, 09 April 2013. Posted in Legal News

This blog is Part Two of a series examining legal research regarding grounds for divorce in South Carolina. Read Part One of this series on adultery here.

Habitual intoxication is one of four "fault-based" grounds for divorce in the state of South Carolina. Last week we touched on adultry, another fault-based ground for divorce. 

If you're in the Florence area and have any questions about divorce in the state of South Carolina, feel free to contact our team of experienced lawyers for a consultation. 

Below you will find a great deal of case-based information regarding proving habitual drunkenness/intoxication as it relates to divorce in the state of South Carolina:

  1. In order to prove habitual drunkenness, there must be a showing that the abuse of alcohol caused the breakdown of the marriage and that such abuse existed at or near the time of filing for divorce. S.C. Code §20-3-10; Fisher v. Fisher, 276 SC 375, 278 SE2d 780 (1981); Epperly v. Epperly, 312 SC 411, 440 SE2d 884 (1994). Proof of habitual drunkenness 90 days before the filing of the complaint is sufficiently close in time to meet requirement that habitual drunkenness exist at or about the time of filing. Johnson v. Johnson, No. 90-MO-153 (S.C.App. 10/22/90).
  2. Prima facie case of habitual drunkenness established by testimony that R drinks every weekend & frequently during the week, that he often goes on drinking binges in which he consumes 1/2 gallon of liquor, drinks in the morning on occasion, and becomes abusive and violent while drinking. Fisher v. Fisher, 276 S.C. 375, 278 S.E.2d 780 (1981).
  3. Habitual drunkenness is the fixed habit of frequently getting drunk; it does not necessarily imply continual drunkenness. Rooney v. Rooney, 131 S.E.2d 618 (S.C. 1963). One need not be an alcoholic to be guilty of habitual drunkenness; it is sufficient if the use or abuse of alcohol causes the breakdown of marital relations. Lee v. Lee, 316 S.E.2d 435 (S.C.App. 1984). The habitual drunkenness must exist at or near the time of filing of the divorce action. Simonds v. Simonds, 93 S.E.2d 107 (S.C. 1956). Habitual drunkenness, under the law is "the fixed habit of frequently getting drunk; but it does not necessarily imply continual drunkenness." Rooney v. Rooney, 244 S.C. 503, 131 S.E. 2d 618 (1963).
  4. Husband’s claim that wife habitual drunk not credible where he agreed for her to have custody of their daughter and argued that she shouldn’t receive alimony because she was well educated and capable of self-support. Bodkin v. Bodkin, 388 S.C. 203, 694 S.E.2d 230 (App. 2010)

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