Help with Child Support in South Carolina Family Law Matters
Both parents have a legal duty to support their children financially. Given this fact, in a divorce the court will normally require the noncustodial parent to continue to contribute financially to the child’s upbringing by paying a monthly amount of child support to the parent with primary custody. Many factors go into determining the monthly support amount, so whether you will be paying or receiving child support, it is important that you are well-represented in this process to make sure that child support is calculated correctly and that your needs and the needs of your children are being properly met. The Spartanburg family law attorneys at The Cate Law Firm help clients in upstate South Carolina with child support and related matters in their divorce.
South Carolina Child Support Guidelines
The monthly amount of child support is established according to the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines. These Guidelines use a formula that is typically based on the incomes of both parents and the number of children to be supported, as well as additional factors such as child care expenses, health insurance expenses, and whether alimony is paid or received between the parties.
The determination of a spouse’s income can be a complicated matter. For instance, if the spouse is unemployed, or if the court decides the spouse is underemployed, the court will often assign an amount of “potential income” attributable to the spouse. Also, in looking at income, the court may consider income from any source, including if a spouse is self-employed, has an ownership interest in a business, has investment assets, receives certain benefits, etc. Determining a spouse’s income can be quite a complicated matter, and spouses will sometimes try to hide assets or underreport income to avoid paying support. Our child support lawyers can help make sure income is being reported fully and fairly.
Court has Authority to Deviate from Guidelines
The family court judge does have the authority to adjust the amount of child support either up or down from the Guideline amount if convinced an adjustment is reasonable or necessary. Some of the factors the court can look at in deciding whether to deviate from the Guideline amount include:
- Educational expenses for the children or spouse
- The equitable distribution made in the division of property
- Consumer debts
- If there are six or more children
- Unreimbursed extraordinary medical or dental expenses for one of the parents
- Unreimbursed extraordinary medical or dental expenses for the children
- Any mandatory deductions from income for retirement pensions or union dues
- Monthly fixed payments imposed by the court
- Significant available income of the children
- A substantial disparity in incomes, where the custodial parent makes significantly more than the noncustodial parent
- The type of alimony which is being awarded in the divorce
An agreement between the parties to deviate from the Guidelines may be accepted by the court if both parties were represented by legal counsel or if the judge determines that the parties fully understand the agreement and believe it is reasonable and in the child’s best interests. We can help you work with your spouse to agree on an amount that meets your needs and your child’s needs.
Get Help with Child Support Issues from Experienced and Dedicated Spartanburg Family Law Attorneys
Child support can be awarded in any split between parents, whether they were married or not. For help in a divorce or separate proceeding for child support, contact The Cate Law Firm in Spartanburg. We serve clients throughout Spartanburg, Cherokee, Greenville and Union counties and are committed to providing compassionate, dedicated and effective advocacy in South Carolina child support and related matters.