As a general rule, child support needs to be paid regularly and on time once an order is in place. There are some things that can be done to make changes, but all will require the assistance of a family lawyer and formal proceedings in the local courts or a petition to a local administrative body. It is important to stay in touch with your family law attorney during this process, as child support can be one of the most crucial obligations that a parent has, along with serious consequences for delinquent or missed payments.
How and when to modify support payments
For most parents who are obligated to pay support, only something like the child reaching adulthood or a drastic change in custody or other circumstances will significantly change or get rid of a child support order once it is in place.
The state government of South Carolina provides guidelines for the modification of child support. The main reason why a support obligation would be changed are related to updated financial information or a new custody order affecting both parents. In most cases, this would include a change in someone’s job or employment status, as well as sudden financial hardships. The state’s department of social services can make changes to the order through an administrative process without requiring court appearances if both parents can agree on the new order. Child support obligations can also be revisited every three years as a matter of course. All proposals to modify support require formal documentation that follows the state’s guidelines regarding essential things that must be provided to the child such as healthcare, basic living expenses, and education.
Consequences for missed payments
An order for child support that is signed by a judge and formally issued is a serious matter. Consequences for missing payments can include being held in contempt of court, having tax refunds withheld, loss of a driver’s license or license to practice in a profession, garnishment of wages and other sources of income, and negative effects on a person’s credit score. Contempt proceedings can also result in jail time in some cases if the offender is withholding money or hiding crucial information.
This is why it is necessary to schedule a formal hearing or contact the department of social services if there is ever a time when you feel payments should be modified or you have having trouble meeting these obligations. These are the only two entities that have the legal authority to change your support order.
Termination of support payments
As a general rule, either parent can notify the courts once a child has turned 18 to have the support order removed. However, it can remain in place for a short time after their 18th birthday if the child is still in school full time or certain other special circumstances are brought to the court’s attention.
Get more information about child support in your city
There are expert lawyers who handle child support, custody, and other common family law issues in Greenville South Carolina. The Hayes Law Firm, LLC will provide representation to help you succeed in a local child support hearing.