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What is Child Support and When does it Occur in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, child support refers to the payment that a non-custodial parent must pay, as ordered by the Family Court, to the custodian for financial aid that a child needs to be healthy and prosperous. The need to pay for Child Support typically occurs when there is a divorce. Usually, this support is based on South Carolina’s guidelines regarding the parent’s income. The Department of Social Services (DSS) in the State is responsible for establishing, modifying, enforcement and obtaining Child Support. The DSS has four regional offices that carry out the services of the agency in the State.

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What is South Carolina Child Support?

The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act in South Carolina defines Child Support as a satisfied or an unsatisfied obligation imposed by the law to provide support for a child, a spouse, or an ex-spouse. The South Carolina Children’s Code states the guidelines that must be followed in deciding the amount that is meant to be paid as Child Support of a dependent child.

What Does Child Support Cover in South Carolina?

Child Support covers all the basic cost of raising a child in the State of Carolina, which typically includes;

  • Feeding
  • Shelter
  • Medicals
  • Clothing
  • Education
  • Transportation

What is the Average Child Support Payment in South Carolina?

Several factors determine the payment of Child Support in South Carolina. Some of the elements are; Gross income, alimony, other children, health insurance, cost of child care, medical expenses, self-support reserve, Etc. Most importantly, the parent’s combined gross income is what is primarily used to determine the payment of Child Support. South Carolina Child Support guidelines show the formula used in calculating Child Support payments in the State. Very low-income earners who do not earn more than $750 when combined are entitled to a self-support reserve and must pay $100 Child Support no matter the number of children. A combined gross income of $1550 with six children is entitled to a self-support reserve and must pay $762 Child Support for the six children. A combined gross income of $1600 earners is considered average income earners who do not require a self-support reserve. If both parents earn $1600 monthly; Child Support is $343 for one child, $498 for two children, $588 for three children, $657 for four children, $723 for five children, and $786 for six children.

How do I apply for Child Support in South Carolina?

The same process applies when the requester is a divorcee and when the requester is a single mom who was never married to the father. As a single mother, the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) must be first contacted to track and establish the child’s paternity. The next step is to obtain and fill the form, either online or offline, at the State’s Department of Social Services (DSS). The form has to be adequately filled, after which it should be submitted for filing. It is necessary to attach the following document along with the filled form;

  • Driver’s License or any other photo
  • Utility bill or receipt of rent- to prove residency
  • Child’s birth certificate
  • Location of non-custodial parent
  • Proof of paternity (if any)
  • Divorce records
  • Social security cards (custodial parent and child)
  • Description of personal properties
  • Wage information
  • Child Support payment history

A petitioner can choose to be represented by a lawyer or the agency. Being represented by the agency will save a lot of costs. The application has to be submitted with a fee of $25 to the DSS. However, a person who receives Temporary Assistance for the Needy (TANF) does not need to make this payment. The application must be submitted by mail or in-person to the office of Child Support at the address below:

Child Support Office Location

Integrated Child Support Services

PO Box 1469


South Carolina 29202

Phone: (800) 768–5858, (803) 898–9210

Fax: (803) 898–9201

How Do I Get Out of Paying Child Support in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, Child Support does not stop until the child is eighteen or has finished college. If the child is still in college at 19, the parent will have to continue paying Child Support. The only way to get out of paying Child Support is when the child is emancipated. The emancipation of a child means that the child no longer requires the parent’s financial and psychological assistance to live. This means that;

  • The Child is getting married before 18
  • The Child is joining the Military before 18
  • The Child is moving out of the parent’s home and does not need parents to provide food, shelter, clothing, Etc.

What is Back Child Support in South Carolina?

Based on the South Carolina Children’s Code, there is no provision for back Child Support. There are only consequences of not paying Child Support as at when due. When the non-custodial parent does not pay Child Support, such person is issued a Rule to Show Cause, and the following are the consequences;

  • Withheld income
  • Revocation of Driver’s License
  • The offset of State and Federal tax refund
  • Interception of unemployment benefits
  • Interception of lottery winnings
  • Interception of credit facility by reporting to the credit bureau
  • Withheld asset, especially if the Child Support arrears cumulates up to $1000
  • Passport restriction, revocation, or application refusal
  • A fine of $1500

How do I Get Back Child Support Paid in South Carolina?

Generally, awarding Back Support to the defaulting parent is entirely at the discretion of the judge in a Family Court. The actions of the Court concerning Back Support are geared towards the interest of the child. Usually, a person does not get Back Child Support in South Carolina, especially if it cannot be proven that the Child needs the arrears. A defaulter of Child support can only be held in contempt of court and fined for up to $1500 or a one-year jail sentence.

Is there a South Carolina Statutes of Limitation on Child Support?

There are no Statutes of Limitation on Child Support in South Carolina. Consequently, a person may continue to demand Child Support arrears.

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