For many couples, establishing child support during a divorce or separation is crucial in maintaining stability in their children’s lives. However, this often becomes a point of contention for the party who is required to pay support, but it’s an essential responsibility. Parents must understand that child support isn’t a punishment for the paying parent, nor is it a free meal ticket for the receiving parent: it’s all about doing what is best for the children.
Our Greenville child support lawyers help clients across South Carolina achieve fair child support arrangements, which meet the needs of children and parents. We have extensive experience in handling complex family law cases where parents have unique child custody arrangements, parents with children with special needs, and high-asset divorce settlements. Schedule your FREE consultation today with Greenville Family Attorneys.
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How Is Child Support Calculated in South Carolina?
According to the Child Support Enforcement Act (CSEA), the federal government allows every state to come up with its own guidelines to determine child support depending on the parents’ income and expenses. Family courts consider the following factors when calculating child support payments:
- The income and expenses of the paying parent
- The needs of the child, including education, health insurance, and special needs
- The non-custodial parent’’s ability to pay
- The living standards of the child before a separation or divorce.
South Carolina determines child support payments based on the formulas designed by the South Carolina Department of Social Services. This formula considers the health insurance expenses both parties have, the work-related daycare expenses both parties have, and the number of children being supported.
How Long Will I Pay Child Support?
Normally, the non-custodial parent has to pay child support until the child turns 18 and/or graduates high school. This means if a child turns 18 before completing high school, you’ll likely continue paying child support until they graduate.
Also, if the child is disabled in any way that hinders them from taking care of themselves, a family court may prolong the child support payments indefinitely. Other factors that influence if you should continue paying support after your child turns 18 include expenses as a result of their college education.
Can Child Support Orders Be Changed?
There are many extraneous circumstances that may cause child support orders to be modified. You must submit your child support modification requests to the court, and it should be approved. However, modifications can only be because of substantial changes for either of the two parents or the child.
An increase in income or necessary expenses may cause an increase or decrease in child support payments. Also, the increased needs of a child may largely increase child support payments. Non-monetary situations, such as increased or decreased physical custody, may affect the size of child support payments.
Typically, the parent who has a greater amount of physical custody over the child is the parent who receives child support payments, while the parent with less physical custody is the one who pays custody. However, if the ratio of time between parents changes for any reason, this could affect the amount of payment that should be paid.
What Does a Greenville Child Support Lawyer Do?
A child support attorney can help you with your case in several ways, including:
- Elaborating the legal issues and what to expect at every stage of the child support process
- Going through your case and advising you on how to proceed
- Determining the expected child support payments
- Representing you at the court hearing and protecting your rights
- Negotiating on your behalf.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Child Support?
Hiring a lawyer to help you with your family law issues may seem like an unnecessary expense. However, the cost is worth it considering the time and effort you will save, especially if your case is already in court.
Here are the reasons you should hire a child support lawyer:
- If your case is complicated, it’s essential to hire a lawyer. For instance, if your ex disagrees with the amount of child support, custody arrangement, or divorce terms, then an attorney can help you convince the judge to rule your way.
- If your ex has hired a lawyer already. If your ex has hired a lawyer, this means they’re working with someone who understands the courts, knows the process, and could even know the judge and their preferences. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re struggling to learn the court process while your ex’s lawyer offers all the right information to make their case.
- A lawyer can help with your child custody case. Mostly, child custody issues come hand-in-hand with child support cases. Since custody arrangements directly affect your relationship with your kids, it’s a great idea to hire an attorney.
- Child support modification is easier with a lawyer. If you’re looking to change an existing child support order, you must show a substantial change in circumstances. A lawyer can give you an overview of what makes up a “substantial change.” Also, an attorney can help you provide the right documentation to help the court understand your modification request.
How Much Does a Child Support Attorney Cost?
A child support lawyer could charge you a flat fee, or they could charge you per hour. Also, some attorneys ask for a retainer fee for their services. However, the amount you will pay largely depends on the experience of the lawyer and how complicated your case is. Note that there are also additional fees you must pay, these include payments associated with your case, such as court fees.
How Do I Choose A Child Support Attorney?
Choosing a good child support lawyer can be a daunting task, especially because of the many emotional issues that emerge during child custody proceedings. The best resource for hiring a good child custody attorney is to seek recommendations from trusted friends and family members. Also, you can seek advice from court clerks at the court office and you can inquire from other parents and even strangers who currently have cases at the child support office.
It’s critical to interview potential child custody attorneys before making the final decision. When interviewing attorneys, here are some areas to focus on:
- Style and personality. To get a fair child support outcome, make sure your attorney’s personality and style matches your own. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same, but you must find an attorney who is approachable because there will be a lot of questions along the way.
- Experience in similar cases. You should choose an attorney who has experience handling and winning similar cases. Also, you must understand how long it will take for your case to be decided.
- Fee structure. Inquire whether the attorney charges hourly or a retainer.
- Free consultation. Before choosing an attorney, determine whether they’re willing to provide a free consultation. A free consultation will give you an idea of whether you can work with that attorney.
Contact Greenville Family Attorneys Today for a Free Consultation!
The financial aspect of child support is another complication that makes custody hearings turbulent for both parents. If you’re looking to get a fair deal when it comes to how much child support you pay or receive, contact us today at (864) 475-9393 or chat with us online for a free consultation. Our team of dedicated family law attorneys will work tirelessly to make sure you get the fairest outcome no matter the situation.