Any parent can tell you how expensive it is to raise children, particularly if you are attempting to do it on one income alone. Both parents have a duty to provide for a child’s physical, emotional, and developmental needs. If the non-custodial parent fails to take responsibility, child support can be ordered through the court. The following outlines the basic procedures for obtaining this type of court order, as well as how is the amount of child support determined.
Obtaining Court Ordered Child Support
Under South Carolina child support laws, parents who are not married may have to establish paternity prior to getting an award of child support. This can be done by filing a petition with the court and requesting DNA proof, which is obtained through cheek swabs of the mother, the child, and the father. In cases where the parents are married and are going through a separation or have filed for divorce, paternity is assumed unless otherwise proven.
The process for obtaining child support generally begins with a complaint filed in the family court. The other parent is given 30 days to respond, and a hearing date will be scheduled. Both parties will be required to fill out a financial affidavit, which contains the following information:
Their name, address, and contact information
Their total income and earnings, including any pension or government benefits
The number and names of people living within the home
Their total debts and liabilities
Any additional alimony or child support amounts currently being paid
At the hearing, the family court judge handling the case will determine the basic child support obligation, then divide this amount between the parents, based on each one’s earnings. If one of the parents shows no income, earnings may be imputed based on their level of training or skill.
How Is Child Support Calculated?
How the amount of child support is determined is pendent on the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines, which dictate basic amounts depending on the number of children support is being provided for. Added to this amount are the costs for maintaining health insurance, as well as any daycare costs the child requires. The court can deviate from these standard amounts depending on the situation. Factors that may influence a higher award include:
Educational expenses, including attendance at private or parochial schools
Extra needs the child may have in terms of basic medical, dental, or mental health care
If the non-custodial parent has significantly greater resources or assets
If the parties have mutually agreed on higher amounts
Once support is ordered, it can be changed or modified if there are additional assets uncovered or some other significant change in circumstances. If the non-custodial parent refuses to pay, they can be held in contempt of court and will face wage garnishment, as well as fines and penalties, including potential jail time.
Get Help Today
To find out more about how court ordered child support might apply in your situation, contact the Surasky Law Firm, LLC online and request a consultation with our Aiken child support attorneys today.