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Navigating Child Support Services in South Carolina

Child Support Services in South Carolina: Applying, Establishing Paternity, Calculating Support, Modification, and EnforcementChild support is an essential part of a child’s upbringing and growth. It ensures that children’s basic needs are met and that they have access to education, healthcare, and other essential services.

In South Carolina, the Department of Social Services provides important services to help parents receive or provide support for their children. This article will cover the basics of applying for Child Support Services, establishing paternity, calculating support, modification, and enforcement.

Applying for Child Support Services

The South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) provides Child Support Services to parents and guardians. The first step is to apply for these services online through the DSS customer service portal or visit the nearest local office.

This portal allows applicants to create their account and manage updates, communications, and access to personalized information. After completing the application process, a caseworker will review it and contact the applicant to gather any additional information required.

Once the application is approved, the DSS will begin the process of investigating the whereabouts of the non-custodial parent to establish paternity.

Paternity Establishment

Legal paternity enables the non-custodial parent to officially become a child’s legal parent. Paternity may be established through a signed voluntary acknowledgment of paternity (AOP) form or by a court order.

The South Carolina Responsible Father Registry allows men who may have fathered a child to register and establish their paternity claim. The South Carolina DSS may also conduct genetic tests to determine biological paternity (blood type and/or DNA tests).

These tests can be requested by either parent or ordered by the court. If a father is proven, the judge may enter an order requiring him to pay child support.

Child Support Calculation

The Income Shares Model is used to determine child support payments in South Carolina. This model considers both parents’ gross income, custody arrangement, child care costs, health insurance premiums, and other factors.

The amount of child support is calculated by referring to the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines Schedule. This schedule provides the basic child support obligation based on the parents’ combined income and the number of children in need of support.

Child Support Modification

One can request a child support modification at any time, after obtaining a court order. Changes in circumstances such as disability, job loss or job promotion, cost of living, or substantial change in fees or arrangements may all be sufficient to justify a modification.

To apply for a child support modification in South Carolina, one must first contact the CSS Office or the family court. The applicant is expected to provide evidence of the change and the reason behind it.

A request for modification may be deemed unnecessary in the presence of a consent order. A service fee may apply to those who choose to modify their existing child support order.

Child Support Enforcement

Child Support Enforcement measures are in place to enforce child support payments by the non-custodial parent. This includes the use of income withholding, tax offsets, license revocation, and financial institution liens.

If a non-custodial parent fails to abide by a court order, the custodial parent may seek a rule to show cause hearing.

Other Relevant Information

The South Carolina Center for Fathers and Family program offers education services to fathers while emphasizing responsible fatherhood. The program is designed to offer supportive programs that encourage men to be active participants in their children’s lives.

If paternity is disputed, a free paternity test may be ordered after requesting through the local office in the county that the child support case was opened. If a child reaches the age of emancipation or leaves high school, whichever comes last, the non-custodial parent’s obligation is terminated.

Emancipation also occurs if a child gets married, joins the military, or becomes self-supporting. Passport denial may occur if a parent owes $2,500 or more in child support (or where there is an outstanding warrant for failure to appear or pay child support).

The Department of State may deny, revoke, or limit an individuals passport eligibility. The Rule to Show Cause Hearing is a legal proceeding to compel parents to fulfill their court-ordered support obligation.

At the hearing, the judge will listen to the evidence, and if the judge finds that the non-custodial parent has failed to comply with the ordered amount of support, the court may use enforcement actions such as fines, modifications, and bench warrants.


Child support obligations are critical for the growth and development of a child. South Carolina offers child support services to support the well-being of children, and the process of obtaining child support services can be streamlined through the DSSs customer service portal.

Adult parents can establish paternity, calculate support, and modify orders as needed, while enforcement measures exist for non-compliance. Finally, support is available to fathers through the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Family program.

Child support is a crucial component of children’s well-being in South Carolina. Applying for child support services can be done through the Department of Social Services website or nearest local office.

Establishing paternity and calculating support uses the Income Shares Model that considers the parents’ gross incomes, child care costs, and custody arrangements, among others. Modifications can be requested to adjust payments to levels that make sense for all parties involved.

Enforcement measures such as income withholding orders, license revocation, and financial institution liens can be implemented in cases of non-compliance. Fathers can receive education and support via the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Family program.

Ultimately, parents must pay their court-ordered support obligation, or else they risk repercussions that include passport denial and legal action.

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