After your divorce is final, you will have an order from the court that outlines the specifics of the order of visitation and child support. These issues were likely determined as part of your original divorce. You may wonder can modifications be made to a child support order in Greenville, South Carolina. Support and visitation orders are typically in place until a child reaches the age of eighteen. Until that time, changes are only made under certain circumstances.
How is Child Support Calculated in Greenville?
Child support in Greenville, South Carolina, is calculated using a formula. The formula uses your gross income, the money you earn before deductions. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what your “take-home” pay is because it is determined using your paycheck prior to any deductions. From there, factors are considered such as the cost of day-care, the cost of health insurance and the number of children. Both parents are assessed, and a percentage is assigned to both.
Generally, the calculation results in the non-custodial parent as being responsible for child support payments. However, it is important to note that this may not always be the case. The circumstances of each case are different. For instance, if the custodial parent has a high income, he or she could be responsible for paying support.
Modifications to Child Support in Greenville, South Carolina
Changes to a child support order are only made if there has been a substantial change in financial conditions. The court generally considers a substantial change in circumstances to be any amount that is more than a 20% variance from the original order.
You must be able to prove changes to your circumstances. If you have suffered an unforeseen event, you must show how it negatively and substantially impacted your income in order to get consideration for a change to support orders.
Either the custodial or non-custodial parent may file for a modification for either an increase or decrease in support. Before you seek a change, you must make sure that the original court support order was made in South Carolina. Generally, you are only able to file a modification in the state in which the original order was made.
Child Support Modification Process in South Carolina
To begin the modification process, you must complete and submit the required forms with the court. A hearing is set, and both parents must attend. It is necessary to prepare for the hearing so that you have all documentation and information to present to the judge in the case. Before you submit a request for a modification hearing, you need to make sure that you meet the criteria.
A reduction in child support requires that you have one of these circumstances:
- Lost your job through no fault of your own
- Are making substantially less income
- One or more children from the original order now live with you
- You have suffered a medical condition or injury that limits your ability to work
- A child is now over 18 or is younger than 18 but is married or in the military
You must provide detailed proof of the circumstances that could result in a reduction in child support. For example, if you lost your job, you must provide proof that you are currently looking for employment. Evidence may include such things as job application copies, rejection letters, and data from an employment agency.
If you are making substantially less than you were when the support order was made you need to provide evidence such as a pay stub showing your income. Keep in mind that when an original order was based on minimum wage, you will likely need to have some other change in circumstances to be able to obtain a modification. If you have become disabled, you must provide proof that you receive or have applied for disability.
If you want to request an increase in child support, you must show that there is a need for an additional support based on a substantial change in circumstances. Some of the reasons to request an increase include:
- There is an increase in childcare costs
- The child has increased needs
- The person paying the child support has experienced an increase in income
- You lost your job through no fault of your own
- Your income from your job is substantially lower
- You have another child with the non-custodial parent
- A child with the same parent now lives with you
You must provide evidence of the circumstance which causes a need for the increased support. If the costs for child care have increased, you must provide written documentation proving the increase. It can be difficult to prove an income increase of your former spouse; however, a family law attorney in Greenville, S.C. will assist you with this matter.
Consequences for Non-Payment of Child Support
Making late payments or failing to pay child support payments is a violation of a court order. The state has consequences in place if you violate court-ordered child support ranging from garnishing your wages to a deduction from your unemployment or disability benefits. In some cases, the state can seize your property, bank accounts, tax refunds, and settlements. Your driver’s license, passport or business licenses might be revoked or restricted. Past due payments could be reported to the credit agencies thereby lowering your credit score.
These are serious consequences which you could easily avoid if you have a legitimate reason why you are unable to make the ordered payments. It is important to note that a modification to child support only takes effect from the date the court receives paperwork. Therefore, if you suffer circumstances that create an inability to pay the portion that is required you should request a modification in Greenville, South Carolina, as soon as possible.
Meet with a Greenville Family Law Attorney Today
An experienced family law attorney is often helpful for guidance throughout the process of requesting a modification. Your Greenville, South Carolina family lawyer will assist you with the entire procedure and will help ensure that you present the evidence necessary so that a modification will likely be granted. Contact Elliot Frazier Law Firm today to discuss your modification needs.
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.