Aiken Child Support Lawyer

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During a divorce, one of the primary responsibilities of a parent is to provide financial support for their child or children. Divorce settlements can be challenging, particularly when children are in the picture. That’s because it often necessitates ongoing communication and extensive discussions between both parties regarding the well-being and care of the children.

Even so, it is advisable to pay special attention to the delicate needs of your young ones and yourself. Child support tends to be a touchy subject as the amount to be paid differs and is unique to each situation. Usually, the court rules in favor of the children in order to make sure both parties meet their financial obligation to the young ones involved.

Child support is a vital aspect of providing financial support to children. Whether you are to pay or receive the funds, a reliable lawyer will be instrumental in navigating the legal intricacies. They will also help you understand your rights and responsibilities.

At Johnson, Johnson, Whittle, Lancer, and Staggs, we have decades of family law experience, so you can rely on us to solve your issues quickly and amicably. Call us at [PHONE] to get started.

Table of Contents

What is the Legal Basis for Child Support?

Both parents, regardless of marital status, have a legal obligation to financially support their children. This obligation extends beyond basic necessities like food and shelter, encompassing expenses related to healthcare, education, and other essential needs of the child.

What Do Child Support Laws Include?

South Carolina, like most states, implements child support guidelines to determine the appropriate level of financial support for a child. These guidelines are established by statute and administered by the South Carolina Family Court. Here’s a breakdown of how child support is calculated in South Carolina and the factors that determine it:

  • Income Shares Model: South Carolina employs the “income shares model” to calculate child support. This model considers the combined gross income of both parents (before taxes and deductions) and assigns a specific percentage to each parent based on the number of children involved.
  • Child Support Obligation Table: The South Carolina Family Court utilizes a Child Support Obligation Table that outlines the presumed support obligation based on the combined monthly gross income (CMGI) of both parents and the number of children. This table serves as a starting point for calculating child support, but it’s important to note that it doesn’t account for all factors.
  • Special Needs of the Child: If a child has special needs requiring additional medical care, therapy, or educational resources, these expenses are often factored into the calculation.

What is the Child Support Process?

The child support system in South Carolina provides a structured process to establish, modify, and enforce child support obligations:

1. Filing for Child Support

The first step in the child support process is initiating a case. This typically involves filing an application or petition with the appropriate court or agency. The exact procedure may vary depending on jurisdiction, but generally, it requires specific documents and information such as:

  • Personal information for both parents and the child, including full names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers.
  • Proof of paternity, if applicable.
  • Financial documents like tax returns, pay stubs, and bank statements to determine income.
  • Any relevant custody or visitation agreements

2. Modification and Adjustment of Child Support Orders

Life circumstances can change. If there’s a significant shift in income for either parent, changes in childcare costs, or alterations in custody arrangements, modifications to the child support order might be necessary.

To request a modification, you’ll typically need to file a petition with the court. The court will then consider the changes in circumstances and adjust the order accordingly. In some cases, both parents may reach an agreement on modifications outside of court.

3. Enforcing Child Support Orders

Unfortunately, child support payments aren’t always consistent. Thankfully, there are mechanisms in place to enforce court orders. The child support agency can take various actions, including:

  • Withholding a portion of the paying parent’s paycheck to ensure child support payments are met.
  • Placing a legal claim on the non-paying parent’s assets to secure payment.
  • Suspending the non-paying parent’s driver’s license until they become current on payments.
  • Reporting delinquent payments to credit bureaus, thus impacting the non-paying parent’s credit score.

What Are Some Special Considerations in Child Support?

(i) Shared Custody

In shared custody arrangements, child support calculations often reflect the percentage of time each parent spends with the child. The parent with primary custody may receive support from the other parent.

(ii) Unemployment or Income Changes

Changes in income can impact child support obligations. If a parent becomes unemployed or experiences a significant income reduction, they may be able to request a modification of the order. However, courts generally consider a parent’s potential earning capacity when making such decisions.

(iii) Cross-Jurisdictional Issues

When parents live in different states or countries, child support becomes even more complex. The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) establishes a system for enforcing child support orders across state lines. International child support cases involve treaties and require specialized legal assistance.

How Does Government Assistance Affect Child Support?

Many low-income families with children rely on both child support payments and government assistance programs in order to make ends meet. However, the interaction between these two sources of financial aid can be complicated.

Receiving child support can sometimes impact a family’s eligibility for government benefits like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). In some cases, child support payments are directed towards reimbursing the state for past assistance provided.

For those looking to establish, modify, or enforce child support orders, state child support enforcement agencies play an imperative role. These agencies can help navigate the legal process, locate non-custodial parents, and ensure timely payments are made.

By utilizing these resources, families can secure the financial support their children deserve, regardless of their participation in government assistance programs.

What is the Role of a Child Support Attorney?

While child support enforcement agencies can offer valuable assistance, complex cases often benefit from legal representation. An experienced child support attorney can help with:

1. Navigating Complexities

The right lawyer can guide you through the intricacies of child support laws and procedures, ensuring a fair and accurate calculation.

2. Proving Hidden Income

If you suspect the other parent is underreporting income, your attorney can help gather evidence to ensure a more accurate support amount.

3. Self-Employed Parents

Calculating child support for self-employed parents can be challenging. Your attorney will understand how to navigate income fluctuations and establish a fair support order.

4. Interstate and International Cases

Attorneys experienced in interstate or international child support can navigate the legal complexities of these cases, ensuring your child receives the financial support they deserve.

Hire the Best Child Support Lawyer in Aiken, SC!

Navigating the complexities of child support can be challenging, but with the right knowledge and legal representation, parents can ensure that their children receive the financial support they need to thrive.

By understanding the legal basis for child support, the guidelines, the child support process, special considerations, government assistance interactions, and the role of a child support attorney, you can advocate effectively for your children’s financial stability and well-being.

If you are facing child support issues, do not hesitate to seek legal counsel and take proactive steps to protect your children’s future. The team at JJWLS has the necessary experience and resources to calculate what you should expect to pay or receive for child support.

Our dedicated team will guide you through every step in regard to child custody and child support. Call us today at [PHONE] to get started.