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Do I Have to Pay Child Support if I'm Unemployed in South Carolina?


In South Carolina, noncustodial parents have to pay child support until their children turn 18 and have finished high school, or until the end of the school year that their children have their 19th birthday. It’s important to note that child support does not end automatically. The paying parent must file a motion to terminate their child support obligation.

When noncustodial parents lose their job because of a disability, an accident, illness, or for any other reason, they are in the habit of assuming they don’t have to pay child support because they don’t have any income coming in.

“Is that how it works?” No! In South Carolina and all other states, noncustodial parents have to financially support their children. This obligation does not stop because a parent becomes physically or mentally ill, disabled, incarcerated or unemployed.

Can My Benefits Be Garnished?

When people stop working, that doesn’t stop their bills from rolling in. They still have to pay their rent or mortgage, their utilities, their car payment, and so on. In light of that, it’s common for people who can’t work to be on unemployment, workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability (SSD), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The question is, can your benefits be garnished for child support?

Under the law, workers’ compensation benefits, SSD, and unemployment benefits can all be garnished for child support. However, SSI benefits cannot be touched (garnished) unless the recipient decides to voluntarily pay their child support with their SSI benefits.

“Child support may be increased or decreased when there is a substantial change of circumstances. These might be situations like losing your job, making substantially less, a child now lives with you, a child is now emancipated, or you have a medical condition, injury or disability. If you have a substantial change, act quickly. Child Support can only be modified from the time you file the action forward,” according to the South Carolina Bar.

To request a modification to your child support order, contact Masella Law Firm, P.A. immediately. The sooner you get started, the better.

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