Child support is often associated with divorced parents, and the father sending money to the mother and child. Yet, in South Carolina, there are other circumstances in which one parent may send money to the other in order to support their child — and it’s not always the father’s responsibility. There are laws governing child support, and it is important for residents of South Carolina to understand their roles within the system.
Calculating Child Support
There are quite a few factors that determine who pays child support to whom, and how much. This system is not designed to leave either party in poverty, but at the same time, the courts are worried first and foremost about the wellbeing of the child. The first step of using the Child Support Calculator is to determine how many children will be receiving support, and who has custody of each. If you are unsure about how to fill out this part of the form, or if you have a complex arrangement, a Mt. Pleasant family law attorney may be able to help.
The rest of the form is rather straightforward, but may require you to work with your ex-partner to complete. You will need to declare all income of each parent, and specific expenses related to the children. This includes any alimony and other child support being paid. From this, you should get a relatively accurate estimate of the amount of support to be paid. Note that this is not a set number, and the judge may change the amount based on other circumstances and calculations.
Get a Paternity Test
If you believe the child for whom you will have to pay child support was conceived by another man, you are allowed to order a paternity test. Unfortunately, if you have signed a Paternity Acknowledgement stating you accept all legal responsibility for the child more than 60 days ago, it may be tougher to dodge support of an illegitimate child.
Mothers may also request a paternity test to determine who is responsible for the child’s financial well being. It is especially helpful to know who could be the possible father in order to have genetic tests performed on each of them. If the possible fathers do not consent to the testing, you may be able to have one ordered by the Child Support Services Division or by a family court. Because there are so many nuances to paternity testing, it may be best to seek the counsel of a family law attorney regarding your specific situation.
Enforcing Child Support
When the child support agreement is settled, the paying parent is expected to send funds in a timely manner to ensure the child has what they need. When payments are not made, the Child Support Services Division has ways to get the money anyway. The first step is for the non-custodial/paying parent to appear in court and explain why payments were not made. If a valid reason is given, the judge may amend the child support arrangement. But if one is not given, the parent may be fined and even jailed for failure to make payments. In addition, different enforcement actions may be taken to recover missing funds.
One of the most common methods is income withholding. This is similar to having wages garnished for other debts, but may come at a higher percentage withheld. In addition, the non-custodial’s federal and income returns, as well as unemployment benefits, may be withheld to cover the missing amount, if that amount is great enough.
In some cases, the paying parent’s driver’s license and other licenses may be suspended until child support is met. Passports may also be denied. If the missing child support amount is great enough, liens may be placed on different accounts and insurance settlements. If your ex-partner is not making their payments as they should be, a family law attorney can help you go through the process of petitioning the courts to enforce the agreement.
Getting Help with Child Support
This page on touches on some of the most important aspects of child support. Every situation is unique and may require special attention from an attorney to ensure the custodial parent gets the amount they need to rear the child, and to ensure the paying parent is not driven into poverty. No matter which side of the table you are on, a Mt. Pleasant family law attorney may be able to help. Contact us today for more information or a free initial consultation.