Each state, including South Carolina, reviews their child support laws every four years. Since the laws can change fairly often, parents must stay updated on South Carolina child support guidelines. Whether you’re the non-custodial parent seeking information about paying child support or the custodial parent learning about the funds you’ll receive, understanding your state’s child support laws is crucial.
Parents with more questions about child support laws in South Carolina should connect with a family law attorney. Lauren Taylor Law is an established firm with the knowledge and resources to help you understand your obligations and rights. We’d like to share some of our information about new child support laws in South Carolina.
South Carolina Child Support Laws in 2020
Child support is a complex legal decision that hinges on a number of factors. Parents seeking answers about how much child support is in their state or other simple questions might find that those answers aren’t available online. While firms like Lauren Taylor Law and institutions like the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) try to share their knowledge, most details change with each parent’s personal details and information.
How Much Is Child Support in South Carolina?
The amount you’ll pay for child support in South Carolina depends on a variety of factors. Some things that affect how much child support costs in your situation are:
- How many children you have
- Your income
- How custody is divided
- Whether either party pays alimony to the other or someone else
- The cost of health insurance for your children
- Whether your children have excessive medical expenses
The South Carolina Department of Social Services offers a calculator tool to estimate child support. Your calculation comes from the information you enter into the form. Note that this tool only provides an educated estimation. Individual courts may choose an amount that differs.
The court considers the non-custodial parent’s income when determining child support. That income refers to their gross income. This does not include benefits from public assistance programs, in-kind income or income earned by other residents in the parent’s home. However, courts can make alterations to what they consider. In certain cases, factors like potential income are valid. In others, a parent may undergo income verification to ensure the mandatory child support payment is fair.
Parents with shared or split custody may experience more complicated child support proceedings. Shared parenting is when the child spends a significant amount of time (more than 109 overnights per year) with each parent. Split parenting refers to divorced couples who share more than one child. If each parent has physical custody of one or more children, their arrangement qualifies as split custody. Child support payments for these arrangements seek to balance the cost of raising children for each parent.
Parents have the opportunity to submit their case for review under special circumstances. The court can review and, if necessary, adjust the amount of child support awarded. The court makes these alterations in the best interest of the child. Often, alterations also put the arrangement in better accordance with South Carolina child support guidelines.
South Carolina Child Support Enforcement Laws
When a couple with children seeks a divorce, a court order or the DSS establishes mandatory child support. The non-custodial parent must pay the custodial parent to balance the cost of caring for their shared children.
Some parents can come to an agreement and get a judge’s approval without legal proceedings. Still, most couples hire representation. When the judge reaches their decision, they’ll issue a child support order. A judge’s involvement is necessary to create an official court order. A legitimate court order is the only form of the custody agreement that the court can enforce.
What Happens If You Don’t Pay Child Support?
If a non-custodial parent refuses to pay child support in full and on time, the custodial parent can ask the judge to hold the non-custodial parent in contempt. The court order clearly states the amount of child support awarded monthly. Some punitive measures the court may take against a delinquent non-custodial parent are:
- Automatic deductions from their paycheck if they’re employed.
- Deductions from unemployment benefits or other funds.
- Taking control of funds in bank accounts or tied up in investments and stocks.
- Seizing money from tax refunds and personal injury settlements.
- Revoking or putting restrictions on documents like driver’s licenses and passports.
- Denying loans and reporting the debt to credit agencies to impact the parent’s credit.
- Putting a lien on the parent’s personal property, including their home.
If the problem persists, the custodial parent, their representation, or DSS can bring a child support enforcement hearing to court. If the judge finds the non-custodial parent in contempt of the court, they can issue various consequences for nonpayment. In South Carolina, a judge may order the parent to pay fines up to $1,500 or spend up to one year in jail. In the worst cases, the delinquent parent may face both.
A non-custodial parent can avoid consequences in special circumstances. For example, a parent who pays the child support they owe immediately may not be subject to further punitive action. Also, either parent may request that the court alter the required child support payment at any time. A non-custodial parent may lower their payment if they lose their source of income or have to take a lower-paying position. If the required child support payment is inappropriate or unjust, either parent should seek a new arrangement.
Child Support Lawyers in South Carolina
Navigating new child support laws in South Carolina can be complex. Having an experienced lawyer on your side makes a difference. At Lauren Taylor Law, our team has the skills and expertise to fight for your rights in court. We also look for out-of-court solutions that satisfy everyone involved.
Lauren Taylor is a passionate attorney who specializes in family law, criminal defense and personal injury cases. She has two law offices in South Carolina, located in Charleston and Greenville.
Contact Lauren Taylor Law today to connect with an experienced professional for child support counsel and representation. Call our offices at 843-790-9009 or fill out our online contact form to request more information.