Child Support Modification Lawyer in Greenville, SC

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Child support orders are not written in stone. After the ink dries and the parents go their separate ways, changes can render the original order unsuitable for various reasons. In situations like these, it may be time to request a modification. Asking the judge to modify the existing child support order requires more than simply disliking its terms. A seasoned Greenville, SC child support lawyer can explain the criteria that must be met before the judge will change the order. Attorney Angela Frazier can advocate for you regardless of whether you are seeking or opposing a modification.

Can Child Support Orders Be Modified in South Carolina?

Courts have continuing jurisdiction over child support matters because the amount of support required directly impacts the child’s best interests. For that reason, and with some limitations based on jurisdiction, courts can modify their child support orders. Either party can ask for a modification, meaning either an increase or a decrease in the amount of child support. The parents may agree to a modification and have the court approve it, or they can take the issue before the judge to ask for a new order.

Modifications are usually permanent (unless and until a future modification becomes necessary) but not always. An example of a temporary modification is when the parent who receives support becomes injured and the paying parent assumes custody of the child. In this case, the paying parent’s child support obligation may be temporarily suspended.

What Standards Are Followed to Modify Child Support in South Carolina?

Courts prefer stability in the child’s life, which extends to the general preference to leave orders alone. This means that not just any minor change in a parent or child’s financial situation will be enough to modify the order. To ask for a modification, a parent must prove that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the earlier order was entered. Possible examples include:

  • A parent loses his or her job through no fault of their own
  • A parent experiences a significant pay increase or decrease
  • The child is diagnosed with a serious disease that requires substantial medical care
  • The child becomes emancipated
  • The child turns 18 and graduates from high school
  • The child begins living with the paying parent instead of the recipient parent

If the change in circumstances was foreseen at the time the original order was written, it might not support a modification. An attorney can review the order to determine whether this is the case.

How to Request a Modification of Child Support

If the child support order was part of a larger divorce decree or child custody and support case, then you need to petition the South Carolina family courts. A petition will set forth the changed circumstances that justify the request to modify. In some cases, parents can reach an agreement on changing child support, but the judge must still approve the agreement. If the parties cannot agree on the change, a hearing will be held to consider the petition.

If the Department of Social Services (DSS) ordered the support, then you will need to contact DSS to modify it. Parents can request a review of DSS child support orders every three years.

Can You Modify Child Support Retroactively?

When a parent files a petition to modify child support and the court approves it, the new order can be backdated only to the date the petition was filed. For this reason, if changed circumstances have arisen in your case, you should not wait to seek a modification. This is especially important for paying parents who suddenly find themselves unable to make payments. Failure to pay may otherwise subject that parent to contempt proceedings.

Will South Carolina Modify a Child Support Order From Another State?

As a general rule, South Carolina courts can only modify South Carolina child support orders. If your order was entered in another state, you will likely have to pursue a modification in that state’s courts. However, if both parents have left the original state and now reside in South Carolina, there is a process that can be undertaken to register the order here.

Why You Need a Family Law Attorney to Modify Child Support in South Carolina

Hiring a lawyer for child support modification is the best way to prepare and file your petition to modify, serve it on the other parent, and acquire the evidence needed to support the petition in court. On the other hand, if you are the parent who opposes a modification request, your lawyer can help you contest it before the judge. It may be possible to reach an agreement privately with the other parent, and your lawyer can help you negotiate the terms and have the court approve them as a new order.

If you have an out-of-state child support order, we can review it and explain whether it can be registered in South Carolina. If so, our firm can assist with the process.

Contact a Child Support Attorney in South Carolina Today

Angela Frazier can serve as your lawyer for child support modification in Greenville. Do you have questions about child support modifications? Are you either seeking to modify an order or objecting to a petition to do so? Get in touch with Elliott Frazier — Family, Personal Injury, & Car Accident Attorneys, LLC. We’re ready to get to work for you today.

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