Child Support in South Carolina: FAQs and Resources

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Most parents are already familiar with the concept of child support, but many still have plenty of questions on how it actually works. Briefly, child support is payments made by one parent to their co-parent to cover the financial costs of raising the child or children they share. It’s an important legal concept that many separated, divorced, and never-married parents are well familiar with, including parents from South Carolina. 

As with other parenting-related legal concepts, understanding your responsibilities for paying or receiving child support is essential. In this article, you will find some basic resources as well as answers to some of the commonly asked questions regarding child support payments in South Carolina.


South Carolina Child Support FAQs

How does child support work in South Carolina?

South Carolina uses the income shares model in determining child support. Under this model, child support is calculated based on the parents’ combined adjusted monthly gross income which would have been spent on the kids if the family was living in one household. This will be based on the amount of money that was typically spent on the children by their families in the US, adjusted to the cost of living currently in South Carolina.

How much does child support cost in South Carolina?

The child support amount parents either receive or pay will be calculated according to the state’s most current child support schedule, as detailed in the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines, 2014 edition

The amount of child support paid will vary depending on a family’s child custody arrangements. Likewise, the number of children shared and each parent’s monthly income will also influence the total monthly payment. 

Are child support payments tax-deductible or taxable in South Carolina?

The IRS says that, "Child support payments are neither deductible by the payer nor taxable to the recipient. When you calculate your gross income to see if you're required to file a tax return, don't include child support payments received.”

Likewise, on a state level, child support payments are neither taxable nor tax-deductible in South Carolina.

How do I make child support payments in South Carolina?

The State Disbursement Unit (SDU) of South Carolina collects and disburses child support statewide. Payments can be sent to the SDU by mail via check, cashier’s check, or money order. Cash payments can also be made at MoneyGram® locations throughout the state. These payments are received at the SDU in 2 business days, and MoneyGram® charges a $3.99 fee per walk-in payment.

Other payment options include automatic bank withdrawals (ACH) or by telephone through ExpertPaySM. This system includes a one-time registration fee of $2.50 and does not include transaction fees. 

Online payments via credit or debit card can also be made through both ExpertPaySM and MoneyGram®, each with unique timelines for payment submission and fees. Additionally, online payments can also be made through the new South Carolina DSS Child Support Customer Service Portal. Visit the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) page on Information for Parents Paying Child Support to learn more. 

One important matter to note about making child support payments is whether the support order requires income withholding. If required, this would involve funds being pulled directly from your paycheck to be sent to the SDU through your employer. Even if income withholding is not required in your order, it could start if your payments are 30 days or more overdue. 

How do I check on child support payments in South Carolina?

The SC DSS Child Support Customer Service Portal lets parents access important information about their case, including details about child support payments that have been sent or received. 

How can you use child support payments in South Carolina?

Child support payments are intended to cover the daily living expenses of the kids. The payment is meant to ensure that the children maintain the same standard of living that they were accustomed to before the divorce or the separation. 

Payments can be used for shelter, clothing, education, transportation, and ordinary healthcare. In South Carolina, child support payments can also be spent on the kids’ recreation or extracurricular activities, like music, sports, and art lessons.


South Carolina Child Support Resources

South Carolina Child Support Information

The SC DSS Child Support Services Division is a great jump-off point for starting your research on how child support works in the state.

Visit the SC DSS Child Support Services page

SC DSS Child Support Services toll-free number: 1-800 768-5858

South Carolina Child Support Portal

The SC DSS Child Support Customer Service Portal offers a secure way for the parent to access child-support-related information anytime. Via this portal, you can view hearing dates, payment information, case updates, and update your phone number, address, employment details, and email information. 

Visit the SC DSS Child Support Customer Service Portal 

Review SC DSS Child Support FAQs 

Calculating Child Support in South Carolina’s

The South Carolina Child Support website provides the latest updates on the state’s basic child support guidelines and schedule. Likewise, the state has a child support calculator providing an estimate of how much child support may be ordered.

Review the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines, which details how the state determines child support payment amounts.

Visit the SC CSS Child Support calculator 

South Carolina Child Support Laws

For the most accurate information about child support laws in South Carolina, you'll want to review the 1976 South Carolina Code of Laws Title 20 Chapter 7 Subarticle 3: Child Support  

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