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Fort Mill Child Support Attorneys

Comprehensive & Compassionate Representation in Indian Land & York County

Child support is a form of payment that is ordered by the court when the court determines that it is in the best interest of the child to receive financial support from both parents. It is not uncommon for a divorce action involving children to result in court-ordered child support for one of the former spouses to the benefit of the children.

If you are facing a child support matter, contact us at (803) 500-4140. We have offices in Fort Mill and Rock Hill for your convenience.

Which Parent Pays Child Support?

Child support is never paid by both parents. In most cases, it is the noncustodial parent who is ordered to pay because it is assumed that the custodial parent is making monetary contributions to the child's life on a daily basis by way of providing housing, food, etc.

Once ordered, the noncustodial parent is obligated to pay the support either until a petition is made to the court for a dismissal of the order or until the child reaches 18 years of age and has graduated high school.

Calculating Payment Amounts

In South Carolina, child support orders are established in one of two ways: By South Carolina Department of Social Services Child Support Enforcement (CSE) or as part of a divorce proceeding.

South Carolina's Department of Social Services has created a calculator that helps to estimate, depending upon certain factors, what a parent can expect to pay in child support. However, the calculator only provides an estimate. The actual amount will be determined by the judge handling the divorce.

Generally, the payment amount is dependent upon on the number of children involved, the custody arrangement, and each parent’s income. When looking at income, the court looks at what is called, “actual gross income.” Actual gross income includes the total pay of a person prior to any deductions for taxes, pensions, etc. Your expenses generally do not matter in the child support calculation.

There are guidelines that provide calculated amounts of child support for a combined parental gross income of up to $30,000 per month, or $360,000 per year. If the parents' combined income is greater than that number, courts will determine awards on a case-by-case basis.

Challenging Child Support Orders

A child support order can be challenged if it can be proven that the ordered amount of the support obligation is either unfair to the parent (too expensive) or to the child (too little). In such a scenario, a request can be made by either parent to deviate from the guidelines and to consider certain factors to come to an agreement on a new support amount.

Factors to be considered include:

  • The child or parent's educational expenses
  • How the property was divided at divorce
  • Outstanding debts
  • Medical or dental expenses
  • Mandatory deductions of retirement pensions and union fees
  • Support obligations for other dependents
  • A situation where the noncustodial parent's income is substantially less than the custodial parent's income

If child support is ordered through CSE, it can be modified by that specific agency. Child support obligations established as part of a divorce proceeding are called Private Orders and must be modified through the Family Court itself.

Both the custodial and noncustodial parents have the right to request a review of the child support order upon a showing of substantial change of circumstances. If a reduction in the payment amount is sought, the parent seeking the modification must show that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred to justify the approval of the request.

Examples of substantial changes include:

  • Change of job
  • Deterioration of health
  • The child being granted emancipation
  • The child marrying

To qualify as a substantial change in income, cases decided in South Carolina have found that a payor's income from all sources must have declined at least 20% to meet the qualification. Such an occurrence usually happens when the parent paying child support lost a job or was demoted. However, it is important to note that if a court finds that the paying parent suffered a reduction in income by his or her own volition, such a decision may be found to be unacceptable and a modification will not be granted. For example, such a situation is likely if the paying parent thought it was a good time to change careers to one that pays less or to quit his or her job.

How Is Child Support Paid?

If child support is ordered by a South Carolina court, a payment arrangement may be predicated upon the use of an Income Withholding Order. This type of order is served on the paying spouse's employer and the support is then taken directly from his or her paycheck and paid to the court. The court then pays the custodial parent. This type of arrangement makes certain that the noncustodial parent pays his or her support obligation on time and allows the custodial parent to reasonably rely on the arrival of the payment.

Not paying court-ordered child support is not a wise option. A parent that does not abide by the order could find him or herself in contempt of court and could face significant fines and/or jail time.

Supporting You & Your Child

Making certain that the child is well taken care of is the top priority for any parent. Therefore, reaching an agreement on a reasonable child support payment is what is best for all of the involved parties in the divorce proceeding. Hiring an experienced child support lawyer in Fort Hill will help to protect your family and your child's future.

Contact us at (803) 500-4140 to get started on your case today. We are available to clients throughout Indian Land and York County.

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