In South Carolina, it is important that parents pay their child support obligations and that they do so in a timely manner. Certainly, legitimate emergencies can arise that may result in someone falling behind, such as medical emergencies / hospitalizations, loss of a job due to no fault of your own, etc., and our firm has assisted many individuals in those cases over the years.
However, in far too many cases, the failure to pay is the result of nothing more than a poor decision by the payor. Excuses that we have heard over the years have ranged from having to pay a cell phone bill to wanting to buy a new car. One of the best was the man who tried to blame his five-figure child support arrearage on his recent “lavish” wedding. The Court was not amused, as was made clear when he was found to be in contempt and sentenced to jail.
Most Family Court have little pity for those who fail to pay child support when they have the ability to do so, and rest assured, they have heard virtually every “excuse” in the book. The fact is that the penalties in South Carolina can be quite harsh when parents fail to meet their legal obligations to provide financial support for their children, and may include the following:
- Income or wage withholding can be required to ensure payment of child support.
- Revocation of your driver's license, hunting license, or even a professional license, such as a medical license, may occur.
- Income tax refunds can be confiscated, as can unemployment benefits and even lottery winnings.
- Child support arrearages can also be reported to the credit bureaus.
- Sanctions for being held in contempt of court can include up to one year in jail, up to 300 hours of community service, a find of up to $1,500, or any combination of these.
All in all, child support debts are no laughing matter. To ensure that you avoid the hassle of South Carolina child support enforcement measures, be sure to stay current with your child support payments every month, even it it means making some sacrifices to your personal comfort to do so. If you are facing a child support issue or contempt action, consult an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options.