In South Carolina the Department of Social Services, many years ago, came up with a computer analysis for determination of child support. Both parents’ gross incomes are utilized. The number of children is inputted into the program; the cost for daycare, the cost for health insurance coverage, any extraordinary expenses; for example if a child had a certain type of challenge or a certain type of condition that required extraordinary expenditures on behalf of that child.
Based on the computer program and the analysis a number is spit out, and that is the amount that a non-custodial parent will pay to a custodial parent for purposes of supporting children. I have never met a custodial parent who thought he or she was getting enough, and I’ve never met a paying parent that thought he or she was not paying too much. So they must come down pretty close to what is necessary for a child if both sides hate them that much.
Child support can be recalculated every few years. It also can be recalculated if either parent or the child has a substantial change of circumstance. As people’s incomes change, of course the amount that would be necessary to support the children will change as well. The court wants to try to avoid one parent living in a palace and the other parent living in a, you know, a little shanty. So child support is meant to be contributed to utilities, house payments, automobile, groceries; the types of expenses that a person supporting a child would have on a regular monthly basis.
A non-custodial parent or a paying parent does not get to inquire to the custodial parent ‘what you do with the child support I pay to you’. If a parent is determined to be the fit and proper parent to have primary or full custody, then the parent who is paying child support, it is determined that the party paying child support has to just turn it over and it is not up to being questioned as to what the custodial parent does with it. A lot of times we hear clients saying ‘I’ve paid her her child support and she bought tires.’ Well aren’t good tires necessary for the transportation of a child? Absolutely.
Catherine Hendrix is a partner at the Law Offices of Lester & Hendrix where they are committed to solving divorce and separation issues. Families throughout South Carolina can rely on their team of Attorneys for advice and counsel.