South Carolina Child Support Laws: 5 Things You Need to Know

With divorce and children, the result is that one parent is generally going to get the child the majority of the time. And the other parent will have to pay child support.

Of course, there are scenarios where this is not the case, such as when parents get a 50-50 times-sharing split.

Let’s take a look at some of the things you should know about child support in South Carolina.

1. How is Child Support Calculated in South Carolina?

When the judge orders child support, both parent’s incomes are calculated. SC child support guidelines consist of a formula that calculates the child support payments.

This formula includes how many children there are, the monthly income of both parents, work-related child care costs, health care expenses, whether one parent has to pay alimony to the other parent or someone else, and so on.

2. Can I Deviate from the SC Child Support Guidelines?

Yes, there are circumstances when you can deviate from the child support guidelines. Not every family has the same situation so there may be factors that can reduce the non-custodial parent’s child support obligation.

For instance, if you have education expenses, consumer debts, a disparity in income, the child works, or if you have six or more children, then you may get a lower child support obligation than you might expect due to a simple formula or standard.

3. How Long Do I Have to Pay Child Support in South Carolina?

If you’re ordered to pay child support in South Carolina, then you’ll have to pay this until the child turns 18 years old. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

For instance, you may still have to pay until your child graduates from high school. If your child is 19 and still hasn’t graduated, then you no longer have to pay child support.

Also, if your child gets emancipated before turning 18, then you no longer have child support obligations.

But if your child is disabled, then you’ll have to continue child support even after he or she turns 18 years old.

4. What Happens if I Don’t Pay Child Support in South Carolina?

If the court orders you to pay child support and you willfully refuse to, then you can be held in contempt by the court. You may also receive fines for the other party’s court and attorney’s fees.

You can also have your license suspended and passport denied. In worst case scenarios, you can even receive jail time.

5. Can I Modify Child Support in South Carolina?

Yes, either party can request the court to modify child support to either increase or decrease the obligation. There are different situations where the judge grants one.

For instance, if you lost your job and now have a lower paying job, then you can ask for a decrease. Just be sure that you don’t quit or get fired on purpose to find lower-paying work because this can backfire on you.

Also, if you end up getting a higher paying job, then the other party can ask to increase the child support amount.

Following South Carolina Child Support Laws

If you are recently divorced or are currently going through one, then you may find the South Carolina child support laws to be a bit confusing.

This is why you should seek the counsel of a family law attorney. 

Contact us now for help!

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5 Things You Should Know About Child Support Modifications

5 Things You Should Know About Child Support Modifications

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.

Financial Changes

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.

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