What Happens if Child Support is Not Paid in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, noncustodial parents are required to make child support payments, which are enforced strictly according to child support guidelines and child support laws set by the judicial system.

The Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) can deduct money from a non-custodial parent’s paycheck or other income sources if they fail to pay court-ordered child support obligations. Bank accounts, stocks, social security, unemployment insurance benefits, tax refunds, and more can also be seized if necessary.

When a delinquent parent fails to pay family court judge-ordered monthly child support, they may face retroactive child support consequences such as being held in contempt, fines, or even jail time.

Both parents need to be mindful of the potential consequences of child support arrears and resolve any issues or disagreements through legal means, such as seeking assistance from Greenville Family Attorneys. You can call us today at (864) 475-9393 to schedule a free consultation with a Greenville child support attorney.

On this page

Enforcement of Child Support Payments

South Carolina has enforcement measures for parents who fail to pay child support. The Department of Social Services Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) helps custodial parents collect unpaid support.

The OCSE can take actions like non-custodial parent’s income withholding or intercepting tax refunds if payments are not made. Non-paying parents may face jail time for contempt of court until past-due child support debt payments are made.

Can You Enforce an SC Child Support Order if the Other Parent Lives in Another State

An out-of-state child support order can still be enforced if the other parent lives in a different state. Federal laws make this consent agreement possible.

To start the process, the custodial parent should contact their local county office and ask for interstate child support agency services. The local office will then send paperwork, including the existing financial assistance order and relevant details, to the other state’s child support enforcement agency.

child support payment and legal documents on a desk

Once received, the other state can enforce the order through sources of income wage garnishment through the Employment Security Commission, liens, or even arrest warrants. Note that there may be additional requirements from the other state’s agency.

Penalties for Unpaid Child Support in South Carolina

In South Carolina, non-payment of child support awards can have serious legal repercussions. When a parent fails to make their required monthly payments, the other parent and/or the custodial parent can take legal action against them.

The penalties for unpaid child support in South Carolina include parents in contempt of court orders, wage garnishments, driver’s license suspension, interception of tax refunds, and more.

Learn More: How to Know Child Support is Being Spent Correctly

The court can also order the non-paying parent to pay a lump sum payment as well as ongoing child support payments. It is important to note that any penalties imposed by the court are in addition to the current child support payments due.

Personal Property Liens

Not keeping up each month in child support custody agreement payments in South Carolina´s laws has consequences. One of them is a personal property lien on the obligor’s assets. This dependent child support lien includes cars, boats, real estate, RVs, and other items.

The Child Support Arrearage Liens are placed when the obligor is in contempt of a child support order or fails to pay past-due child support. The lien cannot be removed until all past-due child support payments are paid in full. If the obligor tries to sell or refinance their property, the lien must be paid off first.

Professional License Suspension

Not paying basic amounts of child support in South Carolina puts a massive financial strain on the custodial parent and can lead to civil actions. The child support enforcement division can suspend professional licenses, including for doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and lawyers until past-due support is paid or a payment plan is established.

a gavel and cutout of a family on a white background

Child support enforcement action can lead to an arrest warrant being issued until past basic child support is paid or a payment plan is agreed upon after a judicial hearing. Consulting with a family law attorney in South Carolina can help with questions or temporary assistance in enforcing child support collection.

Incarceration for Contempt of Court Orders

Failure to comply with child support enforcement program orders in South Carolina may lead to criminal contempt of family court rules and possible imprisonment.

Disobeying court orders can result in charges that carry a maximum sentence of one year in prison or a fine of $1,500. To be held in contempt, the individual must have been aware of the order and capable of adhering to it.

The district attorney has the option to pursue criminal charges if someone deliberately avoids making court-ordered family payments. Imprisonment is a final option and is only implemented if other methods of enforcement have proven unsuccessful.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Get Child Support Back Pay?

the collection of child support can be difficult for parents. South Carolina’s legal system offers aid to families to recover unpaid payments, but the process can be complex.

Our law firm can help navigate the system to retrieve owed payments. South Carolina uses wage garnishment as a primary enforcement method. Late payments could result in liens on personal property or license suspension.

As a last resort, the court may order imprisonment for contempt of court. The ultimate goal is to guarantee the child gets the financial support they need. A family law attorney can explain legal rights and options.

Contact Greenville Family Attorneys for a consultation and more information on back pay for child support.

Related Topics
Request a free consultation

Let's start with your
Free Case Evaluation

Hi , what type of case do you need help with today?

Please tell us about your case