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FAQs About Child Support in South Carolina


If you are single,divorced, or seeking a divorce and you or your child’s other parent will be paying child support, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with South Carolina’s child support laws, how they work, and what happens when child support is not paid.

To help you better understand how child support works, we created a list of frequently asked questions and answers. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our firm for assistance.

Q. How long does a non-custodial parent pay child support for?

A. Once a non-custodial parent is ordered to pay child support, he or she must pay it until they petition the court for a dismissal. A non-custodial parent can petition the court for a dismissal when their son or daughter turns 18; however, if the child has not graduated high school yet, or if there is another reason why the child support is still needed, the court may order the non-custodial parent to continue paying beyond the child’s 18th birthday.

Q. What if the non-custodial parent falls behind on child support?

A. Child support divisions across the country can be very aggressive when a parent falls behind on child support payments. There are a number of enforcement tools, including but not limited to contempt of court proceedings, jail, withholding the non-custodial parent's wages, workers’ compensation benefits, or unemployment benefits.

Other enforcement efforts include bank account levies, driver license suspension, tax refund intercept, the suspension of occupational and recreational licenses, credit reporting, and the denial of a U.S. passport among other things.

Q. Can child support be increased or decreased?

A. Every three years, either parent has the right to go back to the family court and request a downward or upward modification.

Q. How does an unmarried father pay child support?

A. If a child is born to unmarried parents, the court has zero power to issue a child support order until paternity has been legally established. The presumed father can voluntarily acknowledge paternity, but if he has any doubts, he can ask the court to order a DNA test. Once paternity is established, the court can issue child support and child custody orders.

Related: Does Child Support Come Out of SSI Benefits?

If you need legal assistance with a child support matter in Columbia, SC, contact Masella Law Firm, P.A. at (803) 938-4952.

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