Do You Have to Pay Child Support If You Have Equal Custody?
If you are entering divorce proceedings, you may have several questions about the process and its potential outcomes. One of the most common questions Fort Mill family lawyers receive concerns child support payments during joint custody. If you and your former spouse each take equal care of the child, you may wonder if child support is necessary. The short answer is yes – joint custody does not negate child support.
Child Support Payments During Joint Custody
Even if the courts grant you and your ex-spouse equal custody of your child, one of you will owe child support. The only situation in which a court would not require child support would be if you and your spouse earn the exact same income and spend the exact amount of time with your children. However, this scenario is rare and highly unlikely in your case.
The Importance of Child Support Payments
The Child Support Services Act (CSSA) governs child support payments but does not discuss joint custody situations. As a result, the courts have the power to make child support decisions in joint custody arrangements. Most child support systems calculate payment obligation based on two factors.
• The amount of time the children spend with each parent
• The income of each parent
Even if a child spends the same amount of time with each parent, the one with the higher income will need to make child support payments.
It is extremely important to pay child support if the court orders you to do so. Child support payments are necessary for the health and wellness of your children. These payments allow you to provide necessities for your children even when you are not around. In addition, you may face legal consequences if you refuse to make these payments.
How Do South Carolina Courts Determine Child Support Payments?
Under South Carolina law, either parent has the right to request child support. The court can order one or both parents to make child support payments. Usually, the non-custodial parent, or the parent who spends less time with the children, pays child support. The custodial parent must also pay child support, but the court usually assumes the money goes directly to goods and services for the child instead of the other spouse.
Determining child support payments for joint custody situations follows the same formula as sole custody or uneven split custody. South Carolina uses a child support calculator and worksheets to determine child support payments. In the case of joint custody, both parents may have to pay child support based on the following factors.
• The number of children
• The income of both parents
• The amount of time each parent spends with the children
• The various costs the children require, such as medical care, childcare, and education expenses
What Happens if You Do Not Pay Child Support in South Carolina?
If you or your former partner refuse to pay child support payments, you can face serious consequences.
• Federal loan denial
• Seizure of bank accounts and stocks
• Fines up to $1,500
• Seizure of personal injury settlements over $3,000
• Jail time up to one year
• Automatic deductions from paychecks or social welfare benefits
• Revocation of business, occupational, recreational, or professional licenses
• Interception of tax refunds
• Mandatory job training or public service employment
• Revocation of a driver’s license or passport
You can pursue a handful of avenues to collect missing payments. You could file a child support enforcement action in court, which could lead to fines and jail time. You can also seek assistance from the South Carolina Department of Child Support Services to help you enforce the child support order.
If you need assistance disputing a child support payment amount in South Carolina, enlist the services of a Fort Mill child support attorney. A lawyer can help you determine if you are eligible for an adjustment according to state divorce law.