South Carolina Child Support

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Child support is the payment of a fixed amount determined by family courts. This is spent for satisfying the basic needs of children of divorced parents. The payment can be made by custodial parent, non-custodial parent or both of them. In few rare cases, when no parent has custody, the family court may order both of the parents to pay the subsidy amount to another party who takes the responsibility of their child. Thus divorce and legal separation may give rise to the requirement of this type of a maintenance cost. The main objective of the court in giving support orders is to protect the legal rights of a child and secure their lives. Based on this concept, South Carolina divorce child support laws are formed. The maintenance amount has to be continued till the child becomes emancipated, that is, becomes self-supportive.

A number of factors impact the determination of child support amount in South Carolina like:

  • The number of minor children subject to the parents
  • Work-related child care expenses
  • Health insurance costs paid for the child and the parent paying this amount
  • The number of overnights the child spends with each parent
  • The combined gross income of the parents
  • Each parent's gross income as a percentage of the total income
  • Any other past child support obligation or alimony

Continuation of South Carolina Divorce Child Support

In South Carolina, a child becomes emancipated at the age of 18. Thus the maintenance amount is to be continued till this point of time. It may be continued until the age of 19 if the child is studying in high school. If the child becomes emancipated before this, child support will get terminated. A parent paying the amount has to file a petition in the court for an order to end the support.

Role of CSED

  • A NCP (Non-custodial parent) can make an application in the CSED (Child Support Enforcement Division) for review of the support order or establishment of paternity.
  • A CP (Custodial parent), who requires help in procuring child support payments, can apply for the services of the CSED.
  • The parents, who receive help under the TANF program, get services from the CSED automatically. Other parents should submit the application form for obtaining services. Such application forms can be procured from the following locations:
    • County clerks of court offices
    • County department of Social Services offices
    • Regional child support offices
  • The CSED levies an application fee that is non-refundable. Those under the TANF program need not pay any fee.
  • Let us assume that the NCP has been located and has been served a notice. After the notice has been served, three or less than three months are essential to get a child maintenance order.

Enforcement of Divorce South Carolina Child Support

If a NCP fails to disburse the support amounts as per the court order, the following enforcement methods may be used:

  • If the NCP accrues arrears of minimum 1,000 USD, then any real or personal asset (like automobiles, land and bank accounts) of this parent may be seized.
  • Let us consider those NCPs who have arrears of minimum 2,500 USD and have been referred to Federal Income Tax Refund Offset. Such parents are referred to the US Department of State for restriction, revocation or denial of the passport. Till the arrears have been settled, the NCP cannot renew or obtain a passport.
  • Interception of any unemployment benefits being given to the NCP
  • Interception of payment (either completely or partially) being given to the NCP from the Federal Government
  • Let us think of a NCP who is absconding for 3 months and has arrears of 100 USD. Then, interception of the State Income Tax refund can be made.
  • Interception of the Federal Income Tax refund, only if the following conditions are fulfilled:
    • The NCP owes 150 USD in arrears and is defaulting for 3 months and the CP is under TANF program, or
    • The CP is under non TANF, but the NCP is a defaulter for 3 months and has accrued minimum 500 USD in arrears.
  • Let us ponder over those cases in which the NCP has not disbursed any payment for 60 days and has arrears of minimum 500 USD. In these cases, there may be revocation or suspension of commercial, business, professional, occupational or driver's licenses.
  • The CSED has the right to file contempt of court proceedings that may lead to imprisonment.

The judge requires the NCP, who has failed to observe South Carolina divorce child support orders, to appear in the court and provide an explanation regarding the failure. This is done in a 'Rule to Show Cause Hearing.' Now, the NCP may fail to offer a valid reason for his/her failure. Then, the judge may order any enforcement method detailed above. Additionally, the judge can imprison the NCP for 1 year and fine them up to 1,500 USD.

Providing support to children of divorced parents is really important. Remember the decision you make in the present will bring a lot of difference in the future. Take decision wisely; because it will affect the life of your child to a greater extent.

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