Child Support

Hands of a family holding a paper cut out of a family.

Both parents are responsible for supporting their children.  In South Carolina, most child support obligations can be calculated using the South Carolina DSS Child Custody Guidelines Worksheet.  In some cases, child support will have to be imputed based on the Guidelines.  Typically, the noncustodial parent will pay their share of the support to the custodial parent.  Remember that support may extend to providing insurance and payment of other needs for your children.  The Charleston lawyers at Bleecker Family Law will work with you and your spouse’s attorney to negotiate the appropriate amount of child support.

The Law

In South Carolina, child support is typically established based on formulas and tables created by the South Carolina Department of Social Services, called the “Child Support Guidelines.” Support is based on a number of factors: the parties’ incomes or earning capacities, the number of children being supported, a parent’s prior support obligation, the number of additional children living in the home, work-related daycare expenses, the cost of health insurance for the children, and/or any extraordinary medical expenses for the children.


Under South Carolina law, unmarried or divorced parents may be required to contribute towards their children’s college expenses. Case law sets out a four-part test in which one must show that the child will benefit from college, that the child has a demonstrated ability to make satisfactory grades, that the child cannot otherwise go to school and the parent has the financial ability to contribute. The child has an obligation to apply for any grants or scholarships which may be available to offset the expenses of college.

There is a shared-custody worksheet that can be used to calculate support if a child is with a parent more than 109 nights a year. The Family Court has discretion as to when the shared-custody guidelines are applied.  It is best for you to discuss your specific needs with experienced child support lawyers at Bleecker Family Law.

If you are under a Court Order to pay child support, it may be modified by the Family Court if you can prove to the Court that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since entry of the Child Support Order.

If you are under a Court Order to pay child support you must continue to pay until you are released from the order. A standard order may require the paying-parent to continue to pay until the minor child turns 18 years old or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later.  However, if your order is silent on when the obligation ends, you may ask the Court to stop your child support payments because your child is emancipated (e.g., your child is 18, is married, is self-supporting, etc.).  Parties may agree to extend child support beyond the age of emancipation.

Child support is typically set based on the South Carolina DSS Child Support Guidelines using the parties’ income information, health insurance information, and work-related daycare expenses. In some cases, there may be reasons to deviate from the Guidelines, so it is important to talk with our experienced lawyers at the Bleecker Family Law about your individual needs.

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