How is SC Child Support Determined?


Child support arrangements ensure your children are secure in the new living situation that happens after the divorce. Regardless of the outcome, your children will face a different kind of home. As parents, you are still responsible for their children’s support, even if they are not in your same home. Understanding how child support is determined in South Carolina prepares you for what to expect after custody is decided.

Custody Arrangements

In the case of split, shared, or even sole custody, the judge may rule for either one or both parents to pay child support. While custody arrangements often influence the judge’s decision, it is still the judge’s decision that determines who pays, and how much that individual will pay.

In some cases, where both parents are under the age of eighteen, the judge may rule that the grandparents be required to pay child support. And while both parents might be required to pay, usually non-custodial parents are the ones required to pay. The law assumes custodial parents already contribute regularly to child support, due to the fact that the child or children is/are living with them. Rather than setting a regular amount to be paid, the judge typically trusts that custodial parents pay for their children’s needs out of the daily household budget.

Child Support Considerations

Moving forward, how do you figure out how much in child support you will end up paying? Ultimately, the Family Court Judge decides the amount of child support a parent must pay. However, there are ways to estimate how much you might owe as a parent. There are several, excellent websites that help you estimate potential child support dues with online calculators. However, a number of factors go into estimating child support. These include:

  • Who has custody, and what type? Split custody and shared custody create different living situations, and child support reflects this. The amount of time and/or number of children in each home also plays a role in determining child support.
  • Your monthly gross income.
  • Any monthly alimony.
  • Whether there are other children in the household.
  • Other expenses paid by the parents.

Challenging Child Support Rulings

As a parent, you may challenge the amount of child support decided by the court. Despite the system’s best efforts, sometimes information escapes the process, or for various reason, the outcome of the court’s decision seems unfair to you or your child. In these cases, either parent may challenge the court’s decision concerning the amount of child support required. Factors the court will consider include:

  • Educational fees of the child or parent.
  • Debts.
  • Division of property in the divorce.
  • Alimony.
  • Income of the custodial parent compared to the non-custodial parent.

The courts of South Carolina do their best to create a stable, fair arrangement for all parties in the wake of a divorce. However, the courts often make arrangements and provide for adjustments in the face of oversights or unfair demands. A lawyer can best help you review your finances in such cases to ensure you get the child support your child needs or to prevent the courts from assigning a financial burden you cannot shoulder. The help and tools are available to provide reasonable estimates of child support costs based on the information listed above. While it’s difficult to know how much you might pay in child support before the divorce proceedings are concluded, it’s possible to get them right the first time with the right advisor.


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