South Carolina laws mandate that both parents owe a duty to support their children. In divorce cases the non-custodial parents who do not have custody on a regular basis usually pay money to the custodial parent for the care, upkeep and well-being of minor children. Once a child is 18 years of age, or until the child graduates from high school by age 19, the duty to support them ends. There is a child support office in South Carolina that takes charge of establishing amounts of child support in each case and enforcing the payment.
The child support office is a relied upon resource for parents who need support from the other parent and may have difficulties: 1) locating absent parents, 2) establishing paternity when a child’s father was not named at birth, 3) establishing, modifying and enforcing orders of support, and 4) collecting support and distributing child support payments to custodial parents. A parent with minor children does not have to have formal, legal custody of children to apply. The child does have to live with a parent in order for you to be considered a custodial parent.
Child support calculation.
South Carolina Child Support Guidelines determine child support amounts and are based upon each parent’s gross income and the number of children they have, against other considered factors such as alimony, medical expenses, work-related childcare expenses, health insurance premiums and child tax credits. If the suggested guideline amount is not feasible due to some miscalculation or unforeseen expenses, then a modification of the child support order can be entertained. Child support modifications can only be undertaken if one party can support the claim of “a substantial change of circumstances” that affects income, or time sharing changes and one parent has more time with children leading to an increase in daily expenses related to them. Housing, food, education and insurance are factored into child support calculations.
Extracurricular activities, team membership dues and medical/dental expenses over health insurance premium coverages are items of special consideration in a marriage settlement agreement and should be addressed there. Child support must be specific to present and future needs of children and some settlement agreements will outline a responsibility of a non-custodial parent paying child support through college, along with other clauses specific to the divorce and the children.
Just because a marriage ends does not mean the responsibility for the children of that marriage ends. Child support is an import factor in the health and well being of family members that still need to be taken care of and valid concerns regarding the expense of sports related and extracurricular activities, dental visits including orthodontics and eye care should be considered in child support even though they may not be considered standard necessities. They are expenses that have to do with the health and welfare of children.
Seek legal counsel.
If you are confused about that parental responsibilities are, and how they will factor into the best interests of children you are raising, contact experienced legal counsel at Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC. Every divorce is unique and hiring experienced family law attorneys is a prudent decision to make sure your child’s future is taken care of financially.