Charleston child custody and divorce lawyers agree that the South Carolina child support law can be confusing and difficult to understand. In this article and the companion articles – “Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Charleston Child Support – Part 1” and “Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Charleston Child Support – Part 3”, I answer the more frequently asked questions about child support in South Carolina. For answers regarding your specific situation, you should consult with a child custody and divorce attorney in Charleston.
1. How long will I have to pay child support?
Your obligation to pay child support continues until your child reaches the age of 18 or becomes emancipated. In some limited circumstances, a Charleston divorce judge can extend child support beyond age 18.
2. Can I go back to court to increase or decrease the amount of child support paid?
Yes. Our SC child support law permits Charleston divorce judges to modify an existing child support order if there has been a “change in circumstances.” If you believe that you or your former spouse has experienced a material change in circumstances, you should consult with a Charleston divorce and child custody lawyer to determine whether you qualify for reduction or increase in child support payments. Since your divorce judge cannot modify child support retroactively, you should act quickly.
Among the many circumstances that may justify a change in the amount of child support, you should be particularly sensitive to changes in: (a) your financial condition; (b) the financial condition of your former spouse; (c) changes in the needs of your child; or (d) military service where one parent is called to active duty.
3. Can a Charleston employer be required to withhold money from a paycheck to pay child support?
Yes. Your Charleston divorce judge can enter an order requiring your former spouse’s employer to withhold child support payments from his or her paycheck. Your Charleston divorce lawyer can explain to you how you can obtain a court order to garnish the wages of your former spouse. You may also be able to execute against your former spouse’s tax refund.
4. Does child support stop when you or your spouse remarries?
No. If you are the parent receiving child support, your remarriage does not terminate the obligation of your former spouse to continue paying child support. Further, if your remarriage improves your financial circumstances, your former spouse cannot consider the added income of your new spouse as a reason to modify the amount of child support.
If you are the parent paying child support, your obligation to pay child support continues regardless of a change in your marital status and without regard for any additional financial obligations to your new family.
5. Do Charleston divorce judges give credit for health insurance payments in calculating the amount of child support to be paid?
Yes. If you pay for health insurance or dental insurance for your child, your Charleston divorce judge should give you credit for that payment in the child support calculation. For more information on this topic, please read my article on “How to Calculate Child Support in a South Carolina Divorce.”
6. Will the amount of child support increase as my children get older?
No. Although it typically costs more to raise a teenager than it costs to raise a younger child, the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines do not adjust child support on the basis of the age of a child. To cover additional expenses such as extracurricular activities and college, you should hire a Charleston divorce and child custody attorney to help you negotiate a divorce settlement that spells out how much each parent will pay for such costs.
Since these are general answers to child support questions, you should consult with a divorce and child custody lawyer in Charleston to get answers regarding your specific situation. If you would like to discuss any of these answers or any divorce or child custody question, please call 843-631-7117 to speak directly with me. As a Charleston divorce and child custody attorney, I will be glad to help you.
Alternatively, please use the contact form to ask me any questions that you may have regarding your mother’s rights or father’s rights in your Charleston divorce or child custody case. I will be quick to respond.
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.