How is Child Support Determined in South Carolina?
Child support is determined based on how much both parents earn, the number of children both parents need to support, and how much time each parent spends caring for the children. Other expenses, like health care costs, childcare costs, and other needs the child might have, might also be factored into child support amounts.
If a parent pays alimony to the child’s custodial parent, this may also be factored in when courts determine child support payments. Child support calculators and guidelines can give parents a good estimate of how much the child support amounts might be. However, ultimately, it is up to a judge to evaluate each family’s situation and arrive at a child support amount that is fair and that is in the best interests of the children.
One situation where a parent’s earnings or stated earnings may not reflect the final child support order is a situation where one parent is voluntarily not working, voluntarily quitting a job to get a lower child support order, or is working below his or her earning capacity.
The Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC is a divorce law firm in Greenville, South Carolina that may be able to evaluate your situation and estimate the amount of child support your children might be entitled to receive. Our lawyers can review the situation and help you understand whether voluntary impoverishment might play a role in your child support and child custody case.
Our lawyers can fight to help you get the amount of child support your children need and deserve. Contact us today to get started on your case.
What is Voluntary Impoverishment?
Voluntary impoverishment is a situation in which a child’s non-custodial parent who may be responsible for paying child support decides to:
- Quit working
- Chooses to work in a field below his or her earning capacity
- Or fails to work in order to avoid paying child support
How to Prove Voluntary Impoverishment
Parents cannot just decide to not work, or make decisions regarding taking a lower-paying job just to avoid child support payments. If you believe your child’s non-custodial parent quit a job, has taken a lower-paying job, or isn’t working to avoid child support, you may still be able to get a child support order that reflects this parent’s true earning capacity.
Courts may review the parent’s:
- Past work record
- Past jobs
- Reasons for his or her leaving the current position
- Or attempts to find new work
If the courts decide that the parent is voluntarily not working, the child support order may reflect the parent’s earning capacity rather than what the parent is currently earning.
Special Considerations When Determining Voluntary Impoverishment
However, there are situations where a parent may lose a job legitimately, or where earning capacity in a field changes due to differences in the industry or economic changes. Ultimately, both parents have the ability to present their case to the judge and the judge will need to make a decision about what is in the best interests of the children.
Another situation where the courts may make special considerations is where a parent takes part-time work, or work with lesser pay that allows the parent to care more for the child or be more involved in the child’s life.
Sometimes a parent might reduce his or her workload so he or she can:
- Pick up the child from school
- Drop the child off at school
- Or care for the child after school
This caretaking also has an added value that the courts may be able to consider when determining child support amounts.
Proving voluntary impoverishment can be challenging, but if a parent is trying to “game” the child support system, you may have rights under the law. Both parents have a responsibility to care for their children and to provide their children with adequate support.
Courts can review each parent’s situation to arrive at a child support amount that is fair and supportive of the children. The Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys is a divorce law firm in Greenville, South Carolina that may be able to assist you with your child support and child custody case.
Need Help With Child Support?
Is your child’s non-custodial parent failing to pay child support? Do you have questions about how much your children might be entitled to receive for child support? The Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC is a divorce law firm in Greenville, South Carolina that may be able to help you and your family as you navigate this challenging time.
The child support settlement amount you reach during your divorce can be challenging to change. When both parents reach an agreement that is fair and reflects both parents’ earning capacity, children are properly supported and the child support amounts in the divorce settlement are more likely to stand the test of time. That said, sometimes parents’ circumstances change. If this is the case, you may be entitled to seek a modification of child support.