Depending on the ages of your children when you go through divorce in South Carolina, child support could be an obligation that lasts for up to two decades. When you think about the way your life, your family, and your child can change over time, you can see why modification to child support could become necessary. You might recall that the South Carolina child support guidelines were a focus when the initial child support order was entered. The formula takes into account the parents’ incomes, the number of children to support, and many other factors. Years later, the child support obligation may not align with this calculation.
However, it is important to note that there is nothing automatic about modifying child support. Even when parents agree on the matter, there is a legal process for making changes. Whether you are the payor or recipient, retaining a Charleston County child support attorney is crucial. You could find yourself seeking a modification – or fighting these efforts by your child’s other parent. Some answers to common questions should help you understand some basics.
What is the standard for modifying a child support order?
For a court to consider altering the existing child support obligation, there must be a substantial change in circumstances that makes the arrangement unworkable. The change could be something that affects any of the parties involved in the child support equation, whether it is the payor, recipient, or child. The laws presume that this change is something that could not have been anticipated when the original order was entered.
How do I make changes to the child support obligation?
The legal process for modifying child support starts by filing a petition, which is an official request to the court to make a decision on the topic. If parents agree on the change, it is still necessary to go before the judge to modify the existing order. When they do not agree, the petitioner will need to prove the case in court.
What changes in circumstances qualify for modification?
The laws are clear that only a substantial change in the family dynamic will justify modifying the child support obligation. Some examples include:
- Either parent is laid off or fired through no fault of their own.
- The payor has another child to support.
- The child now resides with the payor instead of the recipient, which changes how much the recipient expends now that the child does not live under their roof.
Should I stop paying until the modification is resolved?
Failure to comply with the child support obligation is breaking the law, so you should not cease to pay while working out a modification. There are penalties for nonpayment, and this misconduct could affect a judge’s decision.
Learn More by Consulting with a South Carolina Child Support Lawyer
For additional information on modifying child support, please call 843.631.7117 or go online to reach the Peck Law Firm. We can schedule a free case review via phone or Zoom, and we have offices in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, and Summerville, SC.