Child Support in South Carolina
The Obligation to Provide Support
The parents of a child in South Carolina both have an obligation to provide financial support for their child. This is sometimes a misunderstood concept, given that child support is paid by only one parent to the other. However, it is assumed that the primary custodial parent (the parent with whom the child spends most of their time) is paying their share of that responsibility by providing for the child's needs on a day-to-day basis. This assumption is built into the laws governing child support in South Carolina.
Determining the Obligation
The determination of a parent's child support obligation is calculated using the South Carolina Department of Social Services Child Support Guidelines. The guidelines rely on a formula that utilizes both parents' incomes, as well as the recognized expenses associated with caring for their child each month. The resulting obligation for both parents is then divided proportionally between them to determine the amount of child support that the non-custodial parent is required to provide each month.
Modifying a Child Support Obligation
In South Carolina, a child support obligation can be modified after it is originally established. In order to obtain a modification of child support, there are normally two areas that must have changed substantially since the entry of the order establishing the child support obligation. One possibility is that the financial needs of the child have increased substantially such that the previously ordered child support obligation is no longer adequate to the meet the child's needs. The other possibility is that either parent's income has changed substantially since the child support obligation was originally established. This could be based upon a significant increase or decrease in either parent's income, however, the burden is on the petitioning parent to demonstrate to the family court that the change in income is substantially different from the time the obligation was originally established.