If you are the parent of a child, then you have certain requirements to support that child. For example, in any separation and divorce action, if there is a child, then the court’s going to order child support, except in very limited cases of two indigent or fixed-income parents. Typically, the parent that does not have physical custody is going to be paying child support to the parent with physical custody, except in very limited cases with a large difference in incomes.
Parties can waive or decide not to have child support in an agreement, but generally speaking, it’s going to be required any time you go to court for a separation or divorce. In addition, if you were not married and have the child with the parent who is on the birth certificate, then that person can go for a custody order privately to determine custody and, during that action, ask for child support. If they are not on the birth certificate, the first step would be to do a paternity test to determine if they are the father of the child and then seek child support.
Also, a parent can go through the Department of Social Services to seek child support from someone that they believe is the father of the child.
Child Support Payment Obligations
South Carolina has the South Carolina child support guidelines that are put together by the Department of Social Services. This is a calculation system and offers guidelines for calculating child support. This can be easily explained in a couple of hypotheticals.
First, in a typical situation, let’s say a mother and father decide to have joint custody, and the mother has primary physical custody and the father has standard visitation. So the father, in that case, is going to have to pay child support. The way that the court or the state determines the amount of child support is by calculating the sum of the income of both parties and any other expenses that may be included, such as child care and health insurance coverage for the child. There is a table, and the state essentially determines that if you make this much money and have this many children, there is an amount that is determined to be how much it costs to raise that child. Then that number is divided, according to the income disparity between the parties. So if the parents basically make the same amount of money and the state says that it costs $800 per month to raise that child, the father, as the non-custodial parent, is going to pay $400 per month to the mother. In short of extenuating circumstances, all child support will follow the calculations based on the guidelines.
Second, let’s say that the parties have come to the agreement that they will exercise what we call “shared custody” that results in each having the child for roughly 50% of the year. In that case, the guidelines are going to calculate just as provided before, but each party will get certain credit for the amount of overnights spent with the child. So depending on the income of the parties, each parent may have the same child support obligation (meaning that no one pays the other). However, if one party makes more money than the other, he or she may still have to pay child support even if they have the child for more than 50% of the year.
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Call an Attorney to Discuss the Requirements of Child Support in Rock Hill
If the parties make upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year each, there can be a deviation from the guidelines. In addition, if certain parties have a fixed income, such as SSI income from the state or disability income, the guidelines can be changed. Finally, the family court will not allow a parent to be unemployed or underemployed for purposes of child support calculation and will impute a minimum monthly income of minimum wage on that parent if they make less than that and don’t have any other extenuating circumstances, such as a disability.
For more information on child support requirements in Rock Hill and when to file for support, an in-depth initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling us today.