In South Carolina, either parent may request child support, but both parents must contribute financially to the child’s well-being. Child support is the financial obligation of parents to provide “reasonable support” for their child(ren) and is usually paid by one parent to the other. Typically, child support is paid on a monthly basis and is meant to provide financially for the needs of the child. The child support amount paid takes into account the respective incomes of both parents, and is calculated using established South Carolina Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines factor in each parent’s monthly gross income, gives credit to the paying parent for work-related childcare costs, accounts for the child’s portion of health insurance premium, and accounts for any extraordinary expenses paid by one or both parents. Child support is paid until a child turns 18, absent special circumstances or the parties’ agreement otherwise.
The South Carolina Child Support Guidelines use three (3) different worksheets to calculate the base amount of child support. These worksheets vary based on the current custody arrangement (sole, split or shared), and calculate child support using both parents’ gross income (from all sources); any deductions that may be credited to either parent (i.e., other child support payments being made); and, adjustments for health insurance premiums paid, extraordinary medical expenses, and work-related child care costs. A Court has the authority to impute income to either parent who is unemployed or voluntarily unemployed, unless that parent has a good reason for working less or not at all.
Modification of Child Support
Either parent can request a change, but a parent seeking to reduce payments has to show a substantial change in circumstances to justify the modification. A substantial change typically includes major events affecting income or ability to work, such as losing a job, developing a medical condition or disability, or if the child gets married, joins the military, or turns 18.