It’s rarely easy for people who have children together to make the decision to split up or divorce. When household income changes, one parent or the other may be concerned about their ability to provide for their kids’ needs, both present and future: health insurance, education, extracurricular activities, and the expenses of daily life.
At Sarah Henry Law, we believe the financial support and emotional well-being of the children should be both parents’ priorities when these issues arise. A Greenville child support lawyer can help ensure that sufficient payments are ordered, obligations are met, and modifications are made when circumstances change.
Factors South Carolina Courts Use to Determine Child Support
Child support payments typically depend on which parent has primary custody of the child or children. The court may issue orders pertaining to one or both parents and their contribution to the continued cost of raising the children after a separation.
The South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) uses certain guidelines that employ a formula to calculate each parent’s child support obligation. These guidelines take into account factors like present and potential income, employment, alimony payments, as well as the kids’ health insurance expenses, and the cost of work-related childcare.
The details of your custody arrangement will make a big difference in who gets child support. Which parent has primary custody, and which has visitation rights? If parents share joint custody, who pays for what?
In addition to the DSS guidelines, a South Carolina family court may take other issues into consideration that can impact the way children are raised following a separation or divorce. Some of these include:
Though the state recognizes both parents as equally sharing a child’s financial needs, a parent with primary custody is expected to use that portion of their income to cover those expenses. A parent with scheduled visitation is typically the one ordered by family courts to pay a certain amount of money each month, to help balance out the difference and cover the full cost of raising children.
Child support orders can easily be the most complex, highly emotional parts of a family law case. When your primary concern is your children’s best interests, you need counsel who understands and will protect your rights. From the strategic advice we provide at Sarah Henry Law to our fearless representation in court, our clients never have to doubt how much we care.
How a Lawyer Can Help Modify Child Support Orders
Because child support is ordered by Greenville family courts, legal action is required to modify it. A change in your income or the other parent’s is one of many circumstances that can change the appropriate amount of financial support in your specific situation. In these cases, child support lawyers can help obtain modifications of the court’s orders to meet your child’s needs.
One of the first steps you and your lawyer will need to take is to gather documents to support the modifications you’re requesting. Your attorney can help you understand what is required and obtain the information needed, such as proof of your income and monthly expenses. You’ll also need the address or location of the other party to file for a modification.
Once the other parent has been notified, both parties and their attorneys may work together to reach an agreement. A judge can then review it, make any adjustments, and put it into effect. If there are issues the parties cannot agree on during this process, your lawyer can present your case to the family court and help ensure any issues are decided favorably by the judge.
The modification issued by the court is as binding as the original child support order, meaning failure to comply with it can result in contempt charges, fines, and even jail time. This allows your legal team to help enforce future payments according to the guidelines established by your case for modification.
Child support issues change over time because life and people do. The most important issue, however, does not: the best interests of the children. A Greenville law firm specializing in these practice areas, Sarah Henry Law, can help ensure the focus remains on what it takes to properly meet a child’s needs while handling your case with both care and tenacity.
Common Questions about South Carolina Child Support Cases
A consultation with a child support attorney is the best way to understand the issues and options in your specific case, but here are a few of the many questions South Carolina clients and parents often have for our firm.
Generally, the non-custodial parent who has visitation rights makes child support payments to the parent with primary custody. The court does not inherently favor one parent or the other. Payments can be ordered by a Greenville family court in a divorce decree, an action for child support, or temporary orders the court deems necessary before the end of a divorce case.
Though there is no system in Greenville for tracking how child support payments are spent, they are intended by law for use in meeting the financial obligations of child-rearing. These include the money it takes daily to properly care for a child with clothing, food, housing, educational needs, and recreation. Child support payments are not intended for the support of a parent.
Both child support and alimony are forms of financial payments ordered by a judge or family court after a divorce. However, child support is meant to cover the needs of the marital children. Alimony is intended to settle an imbalance between the income of the parties that will have a significant impact on the quality of life for one party or the other.
If court-ordered child support payments are not being made, your lawyer can file an action for enforcement, which is overseen by the South Carolina Division of Child Support Services (DCSS). Your attorney can file a Rule to Show Cause, which can result in substantial sanctions for parents who fail to make payments ordered by family courts.
These consequences can include revocation of driving and professional licenses, garnishment of wages, and a parent having to pay retroactive support with fees for interest. In a case for enforcement, a Greenville child support attorney can help you make sure you receive the full amount dictated by the rights you and your children have under South Carolina’s laws.
South Carolina laws generally do not require parents to pay child support once a minor has turned eighteen and graduated high school, or at the end of the school year in which they turn nineteen. In some cases, support payments may continue if the child has extraordinary health care expenses or other special needs, for example.
Discuss Your Case with a Greenville Child Support Attorney
Whether you’re settling a divorce or seeking a modification of a previous child support order, you have enough to think about. You shouldn’t have to worry if you’ll have the money you need to support your children. You need a legal team on your side that understands and a lawyer who will help you navigate the process.
The Sarah Henry Law difference is the attention we give to each of our clients’ cases, using our years of knowledge and experience to achieve the best possible outcomes. When you’re ready to speak to a trusted Greenville child support lawyer, reach out. Find the help you need with your child support case by giving us a call at 864-478-8324 or submitting the form below.