If you are contemplating a divorce or if you have already finished your divorce, you may have many questions regarding SC child support. You are not alone. South Carolina’s child support law is complicated.
I answer the FAQ’s concerning SC child support 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 2.” For legal advice about your specific Charleston divorce case, you should consult with a child custody and divorce attorney in Charleston, SC.
1. Do the South Carolina child support guidelines apply to all children, regardless of how much or how little their parents may earn?
No. If you and your spouse have a joint income of more than $20,000 per month (or $240,000 per year), the SC child support guidelines do not apply to your situation. If you fall into that income bracket, you should consult with a Charleston child custody and divorce lawyer to get information on how child support may be calculated in your divorce.
Similarly, if the combined monthly income of you and your spouse is less than $750 per month, the SC child support guidelines do not apply to you. Instead, your Charleston divorce lawyer will have to develop a child support plan that allows you and your spouse to support yourselves while also providing for the minimum needs of your child.
2. Will our Charleston divorce judge automatically agree to any amount of child support that my spouse and I negotiate as part of our divorce settlement?
No. Your divorce judge always has the discretion and independent duty to determine what amount of child support is reasonable and in the best interests of your child. However, if you and your spouse are represented by Charleston divorce attorneys, your judge will probably order the amount of child support that you have negotiated as part of your divorce settlement agreement.
3. Can I refuse child visitation if my spouse hasn’t paid me child support?
No. Child visitation and child support are different issues under South Carolina child custody laws. If you deny child visitation to your former spouse, you run a substantial risk of being held in contempt of court, fined, and thrown in jail. If you deny child visitation for an extended period of time, your Charleston judge may even change the child custody parenting plan to increase the child visitation time for your former spouse.
If your former spouse has not paid you child support, you should consult with a Charleston child custody and divorce lawyer concerning your legal options to collect unpaid child support and future child support. You may be able to collect interest on the child support payments that are overdue, plus your attorney’s fees.
4. Can a Charleston divorce judge deviate from the amount of child support to be paid under the Child Support Guidelines?
Yes. If your Charleston divorce judge believes that a deviation is appropriate, you could be required to pay a greater or lesser amount of child support. A child custody and divorce lawyer in Charleston can explain to you how a variety of factors in the SC child support law may apply to your specific situation. For example, the amount of child support could be increased or decreased if: (a) you have more than six children; (b) the type of alimony ordered makes it impossible to pay the full amount of child support; or (c) it is financially impractical for another reason to strictly follow the SC child support guidelines.
5. Will filing for bankruptcy release me from my obligation to pay child support?
No. You cannot discharge your Charleston child support obligation by filing for bankruptcy. However, by filing for bankruptcy you may be able to get rid of other bills that are limiting your ability to make your child support payments.
6. Can I just stop paying child support when my child reaches 18?
No. You should file a motion with the Charleston family law court to terminate your obligation to pay child support. If your child is still in school or there are other reasons for continuing child support, your judge may order you to continue paying child support.
If you have more than one child, you cannot unilaterally decide to cut your child support payment in half when one of your children turns 18 or leaves the family home. Your obligation to pay child support continues until a Charleston divorce judge enters an order to modify the amount of child support.
As an experienced divorce and child custody attorney in Charleston, SC, I can answer your SC child support questions. To speak directly to 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 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.