If you are thinking about a Charleston divorce, you have probably collected information from many sources. Some of that information may have been based on “myths” regarding South Carolina child support law.
There are probably as many myths about SC child support as there are about any part of South Carolina divorce law. As a Charleston divorce and child custody attorney, I discuss below some of the more common Charleston child support myths.
After you have read this article and my companion article on “How to Calculate South Carolina Child Support,” you should discuss these SC child support myths in detail with your Charleston, SC divorce lawyer. Before you go forward with your Charleston divorce or legal separation, you should know the differences between five South Carolina child support myths and the facts in a Charleston divorce or legal separation case.
SC Child Support Myth No. 1: “I won’t have to pay child support after my former spouse remarries.”
FACT. Your duty to pay child support does not depend on whether your former spouse remarries. Likewise, your duty to pay child support will not end if you remarry. In deciding the amount of child support to be paid, Charleston divorce judges generally disregard changes in marital status.
One possible exception could arise if you file a motion to modify child support after you become unemployed and remarry. In that situation, your Charleston divorce judge might give serious consideration to your new spouse’s income in deciding whether your job loss can justify a reduction in the amount of child support to be paid.
This can be a very confusing area of child support law. Consequently, if you have remarried and lost your job or suffered a significant loss in your income, you should consult with a divorce attorney in Charleston, SC before you file a motion to modify or end your duty to pay child support.
SC Child Support Myth No. 2: “After my divorce, I can make a deal with my former spouse to stop paying child support.”
Fact. Some Charleston couples make “deals” between themselves after they are divorced. For example, a divorced couple may agree that a former husband will not have to pay any future child support if the former husband pays other expenses or buys something for the former wife. In reliance on the “deal,” the former husband will stop paying child support.
If you have a made an out-of-court child support “deal” with your former spouse, you should immediately consult a divorce lawyer in Charleston, SC. Private agreements to waive child support payments are enforceable only if they are in writing and approved by a Charleston divorce judge. If you do not quickly correct the situation, you could be held in contempt of court, be ordered to pay thousands of dollars of back child support (plus interest), and lose an occupational license.
SC Child Support Myth No. 3: “I won’t have to pay child support after my child’s 18th birthday.”
Fact. Child support does not automatically end when your child reaches 18. You can be ordered to pay child support until your child reaches 19 or graduates from high school – whichever happens first.
If you are the parent receiving child support, you should ask your Charleston divorce attorney to include a provision in your child support order to extend child support to age 19 or high school graduation, whichever happens first. Alternatively, your Charleston divorce lawyer can subsequently file a motion to modify your child support order for that purpose.
SC Child Support Myth No. 4: “I don’t have to pay for any uninsured medical expenses for my child because I pay child support.”
FACT. Your Charleston divorce judge can require you to pay child support, plus a portion of the uninsured medical expenses for your child in excess of $250 per year. Such uninsured medical expenses can include orthodontia and counseling expenses for your child.
Your portion of your child’s uninsured medical expenses will typically be calculated on the basis of the ratio between the respective monthly incomes for you and your former spouse. You should discuss with your Charleston, SC divorce lawyer how these potentially significant expenses will be allocated as part of your child support order.
If you are the parent receiving child support, you should be concerned about the rising costs of medical care for your child. You are required to pay each year the first $250 of uninsured medical expenses for your child. If your Charleston divorce attorney does not ask your judge to divide additional medical expenses, you may have to pay all of the health care costs for your child.
SC Child Support Myth No. 5: “I can’t be forced to pay child support and private school tuition for my child.”
Fact. Our South Carolina child support law permits your Charleston divorce judge to require you to pay child support plus private school tuition for your child.
Charleston divorce judges do not routinely require the payment of child support plus private school tuition. Consequently, you will probably need the assistance of a Charleston divorce lawyer if you want your former spouse to pay child support and private school tuition for your child.
HELP FOR YOU
As an experienced divorce and child custody attorney in Charleston, SC, I can answer your SC child support questions. To speak directly with me, please call me now at 843-631-7117.
Alternatively, please use the contact form to ask me any questions that you may have regarding your Charleston divorce or legal separation case. I will be quick to respond. You can be sure that I will keep strictly confidential anything that you write to me.
Working together, we will protect your parental rights and build a better future for you and your child in Awendaw, Charleston, Daniel Island, Goose Creek, Isle of Palms, James Island, Johns Island, Kiawah, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, Sullivan’s Island, Summerville, or West Ashley.