Over 100 Years
In South Carolina, both parents or guardians are expected to financially provide for their children. If the children do not live with both parents, the non-custodial parent—that is, the parent that does not live with the children most of the time—will be expected to pay child support to the custodial parent. Even if no visitation is ordered for the noncustodial parent, child support will still be required.
South Carolina has a set of guidelines that are used to determine child support calculations. Child support is based on the gross income of the parties. In addition, there are a number of factors that are used to calculate child support, such as child care expenses, extraordinary medical expenses, the number of other children in the home, health insurance premiums, and even alimony payments.
In some situations, it may be necessary to deviate from the South Carolina child support guidelines. If an individual’s gross income is low, the child support amount may be too high, leaving the individual with little money to pay their other monthly expenses. Alternatively, if an individual has a higher gross income, the child support amount calculated by the guidelines may not be enough to provide for the children. Your attorney will argue whether the guidelines should be followed in your case.
The type of custody arrangement between two parents also has a large impact on child support. For example, a noncustodial parent will pay a higher child support amount if the custodial parent has sole custody of the child. In a joint custody situation, the child support amount will be lower.
How is Child Support Paid?
Child support payments may be made directly to the custodial parent or through the court system. There are advantages and disadvantages to both systems. Because direct payments require the diligence of the noncustodial parent, the custodial parent may have to deal with delayed or missing payments. When the noncustodial parent pays through the court system, a 5 percent fee is tacked onto all payments. This fee is for court administrative costs only—it does not go to the custodial parent.
Changes to Child Support
Issues involving the children in a marriage or relationship are always evolving. As children get older, their needs change. In addition, parents may also experience changes to their incomes if they lose a job or secure a new job. In these situations, it is possible to modify child support.
In a child support modification claim, new figures are used to calculate a new child support amount. For example, if the noncustodial parent is laid off, that parent may file a claim to have child support lowered. If a child is no longer living with the custodial parent, the noncustodial parent may seek to have a modification. To determine if your circumstances are eligible for a child support modification, you should speak with an experienced child support attorney.
Failure to Pay Child Support
Those who have been ordered to pay child support and fail to do so may be held in contempt of court. Individuals who are held in contempt of court may face jail time, fines, and even community service. This is why, if the financial circumstances for a noncustodial parent change, it is so important to quickly file for a child support modification.
If you have questions about child support, you should reach out to a family law attorney as soon as possible to learn about your legal options. Whether you are seeking child support payments or have questions about the child support payments you are making, an attorney can help you make sense of this often confusing process.