What is a child support modification, and can I get one in SC?
The amount of child support is determined by a number of factors, including the parents’ incomes, the number of children in the home, and more – what happens when those factors change?
Below, we will answer some common questions about child support modification in SC, including:
Child support is calculated based on the SC Child Support Guidelines, which take into consideration a number of factors including:
The gross income of each parent (and how to calculate gross income),
Income from self-employment or business operations,
The potential income for each parent if they are voluntarily unemployed or underemployed,
Monthly alimony paid by either spouse,
Monthly alimony or child support paid pursuant to previous court orders,
Other children in the home (natural or adopted children, but not stepchildren),
A self-support reserve for low-income parents (currently $748.00 per month that must be reserved for the parent’s self-support),
Health insurance – the Court should require coverage by one or both parents, whoever can provide the most comprehensive coverage at the most reasonable cost,
Childcare costs, and
Shared parenting arrangements.
These factors can change over time, however, and SC law allows for a child support modification – lowering or increasing the amount of child support – when one side can show that there has been a change in circumstances.
SC Code Section 63-17-310 gives the family court the authority to enforce child support orders and to modify child support orders when there is a showing of a change in circumstances:
The family court has the authority to enforce the provisions of any decree, judgment, or order regarding child support of a court of this State, including cases with jurisdiction based on the revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act, provided that personal jurisdiction has been properly established. This authority includes the right to modify any such decree, judgment, or order for child support as the court considers necessary upon a showing of changed circumstances.
A modification of child support is only effective as to child support owed after the date of filing and service of the modification action, however.
If you delay in requesting a child support modification based on a decrease in income, for example, if you have become unemployed, you will still owe back child support for the time period before you filed the modification action.
So, what is a change in circumstances that would justify a child support modification?
The most common reason for a modification request is a change in income, including:
Other changes in circumstances that could justify modifying child support payments include:
A child support modification can result in lowering the amount of child support paid or it can result in an increase in child support.
For example, a father who has just adopted two children and whose income has decreased due to a layoff at work can petition the court for a reduction in the amount of child support paid. Or a mother who has just been promoted to a six-figure job may be required to pay additional child support to the father who has custody of their children.
Below are general answers to some common questions that we hear about child support modifications in Myrtle Beach, SC. If you have questions about child support, however, you should contact a child support modification attorney who can review your situation and provide answers based on your unique circumstances.
Your attorney can file a child support modification request on your behalf in the family court. The action must be filed in the appropriate county, served on the other parent, and then you will present evidence of your change in circumstances to the family court.
There may be additional motion hearings and some discovery may be necessary, depending on the facts of your case.
Any person can represent themselves in family court, although it is not advised. You may only get one chance to present your evidence, and, if the court rules against you, it will be an uphill battle to attempt to get the decision overturned or to get back into court with a second request.
Child support modification is not automatic – you must file an action in the family court and present evidence of the change in circumstances to a family court judge.
The remarriage of a spouse does not by itself justify a child support modification. If other factors from the Child Support Guidelines change, however, the Court may consider increasing or decreasing the amount of child support paid.
A substantial change in your ex’s salary may be a change in circumstances that justifies a child support modification.
If your child’s other parent is requesting a modification of child support, you will be served with notice of the modification action. You can then:
If you are unable to pay your child support due to a change in circumstances or if you feel that you are entitled to additional child support due to a change in circumstances, call your SC child support lawyer at Axelrod and Associates for a consultation.