Before you start a lawsuit to increase the amount of child support, there certain important factors that must take into consideration.
How is child support determined in Greenville, SC?
In South Carolina, both parents are required to pay child support. This does not mean that both parents pay an amount into a bank account and then it gets paid to the custodial parent. This just means that the costs for the child will be fairly divided between both parents.
The court will look at the income of both parents, how many children there are that needs financial support as well as the amount of time each parent spends with the children. If one of the parents are going to school, if both parents are employed and what the uninsured medical costs are. Both parents must file a sworn financial declaration with the court, this enable the court to set the correct amount of child support.
The following factors are taken into account when the child support amount is determined:
- educational expenses for the child or a spouse;
- the equitable distribution of property;
- any consumer debts;
- if the family has more than six children;
- unreimbursed extraordinary medical or dental expenses of either parent;
- mandatory retirement deductions of either parent;
- support obligations for other dependants;
- unreimbursed extraordinary medical or dental expenses of the child;
- other court-ordered payments;
- any available income of the child;
- a substantial disparity in the income of the parents which makes it impractical for the noncustodial parent to pay the guideline amount;
- the effect of alimony on the circumstances; and
- any agreements between the spouses, if in the best interests of the child.
What happens if I am unemployed?
The main purpose of child support is to ensure that the child is taken care of to the best of both parents’ ability. Both parents’ financial situation is considered. If the custodial parent is unemployed at the time of separation, the court can order the non-custodial parent to pay child support during the separation and divorce.
The amount of child support is not necessarily divided equally between both parents. It is divided fairly. If the one parent earns more than the other, than the child support will be adjusted with that percentage of difference. If one parent earns $1000 per month and the other parent only $500, then the 50% difference will be applied to the child support. Both parents are financially responsible for the children, depending on their financial income. Also remember that if the one spouse already pays child support, it will have an impact on the current claim for financial support as well.
My child wants to take private dance lessons, who will pay for it?
In South Carolina, any extracurricular activities are not taken into account when the child support amount is determined. This means that if the child wants to participate in something like dance class or astronomy club, all extra costs will come down to the parent who gave permission for it. It is possible for both parents to contribute, but it cannot be made a court order. Depending on the relationship between the parents, it is advisable to have a meeting with the lawyers’ present, and discuss the extra costs regarding the specific activity. Extracurricular activities usually involve more than just a monthly fee to participate. Costs regarding transport, special gear or costumes, competitions and shoes must also be considered.
Does child support cover medical insurance?
Having kids is expensive. Even more so when they are sick and need medical attention. Child support payments usually include medical insurance. However, out of pocket or uninsured medical expenses are taken into consideration separately. If one of the parents have medical insurance with their employer, then the court might order that the child be included in that. Otherwise the medical insurance for the kid will be paid for separately, again in a fair manner depending on income.
If both parents have legal custody of the children, then major medical expenses must be discussed with both parties, especially if it is an uninsured procedure. Cosmetic procedures such as dental braces might be deemed important by one parent but not by the other. If the parents cannot afford it, then there will be no treatment. If the expenses include medical treatment for mental disorders such as counselling to help with the impact of divorce, then the court can order for the parents to pay for it.
When do I need to hire a Greenville family law lawyer?
The moment you decide to separate from your spouse, you should contact family law attorney Elliott Frazier of Greenville, South Carolina. Especially if there are minor children involved. According to state law in South Carolina, you and your parent must be separated for at least a year if it is a no-fault divorce. If it is a fault divorce then the process is a lot quicker.
Elliott Frazier is experienced in SC family law and will be able to tell you how to start the process and what the process will entail. Do not let the costs of a lawyer prevent you from hiring one. When you choose an attorney, you should tell them upfront about your financial situation. Most family law lawyers will be willing to work out a payment plan that suits your needs.
Remember that child custody and support cases can get dirty very quickly, and that your spouse might start throwing mud at you. Keeping record of everything as well as incidents that happen during the marriage is very important. When you feel that your spouse is hiding something from you in terms of their financial income, be sure to mention this to your lawyer. There are various remedies that can be used to ensure that your spouse’s financial situation is reflected accurately. It is your lawyer’s job to ensure that you and your children’s rights are protected during the determining of support. The lawyer’s experience in these types of cases are extremely important as they will know exactly what you and the children are entitled to.
Angela Elliot Frazier is a Family Law Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. She graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years now. Angela Frazier believes in helping you through one of the most stressful times of your life. Learn more about her experience by clicking here.