In South Carolina and the rest of the country, parents are obligated to financially support their children, even if they were never married. Usually, child support is ordered in a paternity action, a divorce action, or after an unwed father voluntarily acknowledged his paternity.
Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for people to have trouble paying child support. Sometimes, the paying parent was in an accident and became too injured to work. Sometimes, the paying parent losses their job, and can't afford their normal child support obligation. Bad things happen to well-meaning parents who want to support their children.
Can Unemployment Benefits Be Touched?
Suppose a paying father was laid off from his job and he collected unemployment. Can the father ask to have the support taken from his unemployment benefits? Or, if he does nothing, can his unemployment income be garnished to pay child support?
For starters, a paying parent can contact the child support agency on their own and let them know about the unemployment benefits so they could be used to satisfy the child support obligation. The child support agency would welcome his call.
If the father losses his job and goes on unemployment and fails to contact the child support agency, up to 25% of his unemployment benefits can be withheld for child support. So, yes, unemployment benefits can be taken to pay a child support obligation.
If you are the paying parent and you lost your job and you can no longer afford your child support obligation, it's important to ask the court for a downward modification of child support. If you do not ask the court to modify your payments, you will continue being responsible for the full amount and downward modifications are not retroactive.
For help with a child support matter, contact Masella Law Firm, P.A. We understand how stressful and confusing these situations can be and we'd be glad to help you find the best solution as soon as possible.
If you need assistance with a child support matter, contact our Columbia SC divorce attorneys for a personal consultation. We are here to help!