There are a number of stressful steps that go into completely the divorce ‘cycle’ so to speak. One of those, of course, is obtaining the court order for the dissolution of the marriage. This order generally lays out the terms and conditions regarding visitation and custody. These are key elements to being able to file for child support in the state of South Carolina. If you have a child and want to file for child support, but have not been married, then your path is a little simpler. You simply have to prove paternity with the father. In either case, the South Carolina Department of Social Services are all set up to walk you through the steps.
Getting Started on Child Support in South Carolina
Child support is determined by a very complicated and complex mathematical formula that takes into account the gross incomes of both parents, the situation, the child’s situation and lifestyle, and the potential of the parents to provide. Other factors such as the age of the child, how many children are in the household, paternity, medical and other expenses are considered, too. A quick child support calculator is available to give you a ballpark figure so that you can have an idea of what you will be paying or receiving.
The forms that you will need to fill out can be found here: http://www.state.sc.us/dss/csed/forms.htm#apps If you are the custodial parent ( the child lives with you a majority of the time) then you will download the custodial parent form. There are forms for the non-custodial parent to fill out as well. They are also available in Spanish. They also have child support worksheets that will help you in completing your financial affidavit.
If you are applying for child support and you have not been married, then you must have a paternity form filled out. This is a form that the other parent signs stating that they acknowledge the child as theirs. Be aware that in a majority of these cases, the non-custodial parent may contest the paternity, in which case the offices can help you in getting a DNA test to establish paternity. Even if the person resides outside of the state of South Carolina, a database and interstate agencies exist to track this person down and ask for compliance. Failure to comply carries with it a whole range of very unpleasant consequences.
As a general rule, if everything goes smoothly the child support payments may be received in less than 3 months. If you are in dire need, now, then you do have the opportunity to contact the Child Support Services offices and request a temporary assistance.
What if the Non-Custodial Parent Won’t Pay Child Support
This would be a very large mistake on the part of the non-custodial parent as the state of South Carolina takes a very hard look at those who do not take the responsibility for their child seriously. Many NCP (noncustodial parents) believe, in error, that they can declare bankruptcy, voluntarily quit their jobs, or leave the state to avoid paying child support. This only prolongs the inevitable as the state will issue a warrant, place withholding on the wages, can revoke or suspend drivers license, and a whole range of other punitive actions. If the NCP believes that the amount is unjust or unreasonable there are options in place to allow for a reconsideration of the amounts by modifying the orders.