Why you and your spouse got a divorce, you had a child support plan put in place.
Life went on, but for whatever reason, now you need to modify that plan.
Before you start trying to figure this out on your own, here are five essential things you should know about child support modifications in South Carolina
Reasons for Child Support Modifications
You can always ask for child support modifications, but not all cases will qualify.
For instance, If there is a substantial change in yours or your kids’ circumstances, there may be a possibility of receiving a modification in the form of an increase or decrease in benefits. We cover some of those potential changes below.
Substantial Changes in Circumstances
Changes in the Needs of the Child
An example of a substantial change in the needs of a child would be if the child’s medical needs have increased; therefore, medical expenses have increased drastically.
In a situation like this, you would be reasonable to ask for child support modifications to increase the amount of child support received to offset the increased financial outlay of supporting the child.
If one parent’s income changes drastically either up or down, it could constitute another reason for child support modifications.
Changes in Family Makeup
Perhaps the most common situation changing the family dynamic is when one of the children reaches the age of majority. Thereby decreasing the number of children being cared for by one parent and in turn, potentially reduce the amount of child support provided.
Another scenario might be when/if custody changes from one parent to the other by one or all of the children. In this circumstance, a modification makes sense and is often necessary.
How to Change Support Payments
To modify your child support, one parent must request a hearing with either a Family Court or the Child Support Division of the Department of Social Services (depending on who set up the child support initially). Contact our office, and we’ll walk you through the process.
Reasons for Denial of Child Support Modifications
While we’re trying to give you a good idea of how to approach modifications, keep in mind that not all requests for modification of child support will be approved. You might have to reach out a family law attorney and formulate a strategy before seeking a modification.
Some reasons (but not all) that your request could be denied, include:
1. The change in your financial or family circumstance was anticipated when the original order of support was written.
2. The requesting party can easily pay the support ordered.
3. The paying person voluntarily left their job, took a lower paying job, or has not tried to find a job.
Keep Great Records
Now a bit of advice. Whether you are requesting child support modifications or the other parent is, it is very important to keep records of everything that had to do with the child support.
Some examples of things to keep include records of payment, medical reimbursements, daycare expenses, and other similar expenditures.
Two Ways to Make Child Support Modifications
Not all situations involving modifications are contentious, and in that same light, not all situations involving modifications are agreeable by both parties. Regardless of how you get along with the other parent, here’s what you can expect.
Parents That Agree: If you and the other parent can agree to child support modifications, then you will not need to fight in court. You can work with a judge and ask them to approve the modifications. If the agreed upon amount is less than the state limit, you will have to explain why it is justified and how the amount will adequately provide for your child.
Ask the Court: If you cannot agree on modification with the other parent, then you will need to go to court and have them help you make child support modifications. You will need to prove one of the above substantial changes to be granted either a temporary or permanent modification. Don’t be the one that shows up to this fight without a lawyer!
Don’t Show Up Without a Lawyer!
If you need help with child support modifications, please contact us.