Child Support Laws in South Carolina

As of January 2024, there are new guidelines for child support laws in South Carolina, with several notable changes. If you have questions or need assistance with any child support matters, Turner Family Law can help.

What Do the Child Support Laws in South Carolina Govern?

South Carolina’s child support laws specify who has to pay for the care of a child, how much to pay, and how and when payments should be made. They also detail certain exceptions, potential grounds for modifying orders, and enforcement protocols.

The 2024 SC child support guidelines now reflect updated child care expense thresholds, an increase in the Self-Support reserve amount, higher combined gross parental income figures, and other changes to comply with and mirror federal regulations. Other updates also apply, so ask Turner Family Law if you need to review your child support order.

How Does South Carolina Calculate Child Support?

South Carolina courts use formulas based on an income shares model to calculate child support. These guidelines reflect the belief that children of divorced or separated parents should still have access to the resources of both parents as if they lived together.

Courts consider many factors, including the following:

  • Health insurance costs
  • Gross income and living expenses of both parents
  • Custody arrangements
  • Childcare expenses
  • How many children are subject to the order

Although this may sound simple on the surface, determining a fair amount is sometimes challenging. Courts need accurate data, and their calculations using that data must be correct. Tools can provide a suggested payment, but courts ultimately determine the final amount.

Every family dynamic is different, and your situation may require a deviation from typical calculation methods. For instance, your child may require medical treatments on a regular basis or have other unusual ongoing expenses. Alimony payments may also be a consideration.

Whether you will pay or receive support, Turner Family Law will scrutinize the calculations to ensure fair treatment.

What Happens If You Don’t Pay Child Support?

Failing to pay child support is contempt of court. South Carolina courts have many options to enforce a child support order, as it is a legally binding document. If the person responsible for paying support has paid the full amount for two months and is less than $500 behind, courts consider them compliant. However, these parents will have to explain why they are in arrears.

SC laws allow courts to impose various penalties if a parent is in arrears, including:

  • Payroll or unemployment deductions, income tax refund interceptions, and bank account seizures
  • Suspension of various licenses, including driver’s and professional licenses
  • Credit bureau reporting
  • Placement of liens on property or other assets
  • Fines or jail time

Parents on either end of child support arrears can benefit from hiring Turner Family Law. We have experience with helping parents recover overdue amounts or defending their arrears if they are truly unable to pay. We can also assist with child support order modifications if warranted.

When Can You Modify Child Support in South Carolina?

Life happens, and circumstances can change significantly. Parents can request child support order modifications to reflect these changes. Child support laws in South Carolina may allow modifications if:

  • One parent has a significant change in income, such as losing their job or getting a large raise.
  • The health of either parent or their children declines.
  • Custody arrangements are altered.
  • The children’s educational or other needs change.
  • SC child support guidelines change.

Child support amounts and alterations focus on the children’s best interests.

Courts can only award retroactive changes from your modification filing date. Although you can request a modification, courts may not always grant it. If you think you need a modification, contact Turner Family Law as soon as possible so we can protect your interests.

How Long Do You Have To Pay Child Support in South Carolina?

Child support laws in South Carolina specify different situations that determine when the obligation ends. Typically, you will need to pay support until the child is 18 and has graduated from high school. If the child is still in high school at age 19, support ends at the end of that school year.

Support also ends if a child under 18 is emancipated. However, you must continue to pay child support after age 18 in some cases, such as if your child is disabled or attends college.

Your child support obligation does not automatically end. You must file a motion to terminate it, and Turner Family Law can handle that task for you.

Turner Family Law Child Support Lawyers in South Carolina

Child support is a serious matter that affects you and your children’s well-being, so it is vital to make sure your child support order is correct and up to date. Whether you are dealing with a new order or reviewing an existing one, the terms should comply with South Carolina’s new guidelines and reflect your current situation.

The South Carolina child support lawyers at Turner Family Law have extensive experience handling all child support issues and other related matters. Contact us 24/7 to request your free consultation. We can explain the nuances of the child support laws in South Carolina, how they affect you, and how we can help.

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First, we will conduct an initial consultation and we will go over all the facts and details of your case.

Filing and Negotiations

We submit a Complaint to the Court, or help you respond to one. Hearings and negotiations take place.

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Following mediation, all unsettled parts of your case will be determined by the trial judge who issues final rulings.

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