Child support regulations are a crucial component of divorce cases, particularly when minors are involved. In South Carolina, these guidelines are determined by the family court based on several factors including the parents’ income and the children’s needs.
Defining Child Support
Child support refers to the financial assistance that the noncustodial parent is expected to pay to the custodial parent. This monetary support helps cover the child’s basic necessities such as childcare, food, clothing, and medical expenses. It’s worth noting that the requirement to pay child support is not tied to visitation rights.
Important: Child support is different from rules about visitation rights – you have to pay child support if you are the noncustodial parent. If the other parent is preventing you from visiting your child or exercising your other rights, you can file an action with the court for help.
The Role of a Lawyer
Navigating the process of determining child support can be complex due to the many legal and financial factors to consider. Hiring a family child support lawyer is often the best choice for anyone that has filed for a divorce or child custody in South Carolina.
Experienced lawyers can help with the initial determination of child support and with any possible modifications in the future. They can also help you negotiate a fair and reasonable child support agreement, taking into account the needs of both you and your children.
If you’re in need of establishing child support or modifying an existing order in South Carolina, don’t hesitate to contact a family law lawyer today.
Determining Child Support Obligations
The determination of child support obligations is typically based on the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines consider several factors such as:
- Business income of each parent.
- The income of each parent.
- The potential income of each parent.
- Court-ordered alimony.
- The number of children.
- Other court-ordered payments.
- Childcare costs.
- Health insurance costs.
However, it’s important to note that in certain cases, there may be special circumstances that require more or less child support to be paid.
Who Decides Child Support?
In many instances, child support is agreed upon by each parent before they attend their temporary hearing. This is based on the Guidelines in South Carolina. If an agreement is made, the family court may incorporate this into the final decree after making sure that the agreement is reasonable, fair, and in the child’s best interest.
In situations where no agreement can be reached, the family court will intervene to decide the issue at the final divorce hearing.
Deviation from Child Support Guidelines
The court holds the power to deviate from the standard child support guidelines when there are special circumstances that would make the guidelines become unfair.
The South Carolina law (SC Code § 63-17-470) lists the following factors that the court can consider to either move away from the guidelines or modify an existing order based on a change in situations such as:
- Distribution of marital assets.
- Educational expenses.
- When there are more than six children.
- Debts that each parent must pay.
- Extraordinary medical expenses.
- Support obligations for other dependents from a previous relationship.
- Mandatory payments for retirement pensions.
- Any other monthly payments that are ordered by the court.
- The child’s income.
- The parent’s agreement as to child support payments.
- A huge gap of income between the parents.
Modifying Child Support Orders
In South Carolina, both parents can request a change of a previous ruling if there has been a substantial change. This could include changes in the children’s needs, changes in income, or changes in the arrangement. The judge will then analyze the new information and make a ruling on whether to modify the obligation.
Retroactive Child Support
South Carolina also allows for retroactive child support. This is when a parent that has not supported their child previously is ordered to make up for the time they didn’t support the child. Retroactive awards can also be given if one parent refuses or fails to disclose assets in a previous support determination.
Understanding child support laws in South Carolina is crucial for any parent going through a divorce or separation. The process can be challenging and complex, but with the right guidance and support, a fair and just outcome can be achieved for all parties involved.