Child Custody and Child Support- Modification

Determining whether a parent is entitled to modify an existing child support order depends on your unique circumstances.

The Family Courts of the State of South Carolina must consider the "best interests of the child" when initially issuing or subsequently modifying an order relating to child custody. For this reason, orders relating to children that address issues including child custody, child support, and visitation, are modifiable in the future, and are continually modifiable until the child reaches the age of emancipation.

There are many factors the court may consider when determining the best interests of the child and these factors are very case specific. In general, in order to modify an existing custody order, the moving party, or plaintiff (the parent wanting the change), must demonstrate that there has been a substantial or material change of circumstances affecting the child's welfare. The plaintiff must also show that it is in the best interests of the child to modify the existing order. A "substantial or material change" in the eyes of a family court judge is an extremely major change and a high burden to prove.

In general, in order to modify an existing child support order, the plaintiff (the parent wanting the increase or decrease in child support) must demonstrate that there has been a substantial change in circumstances or financial ability warranting the increase or decrease. Potential changes in financial ability warranting modification include a substantial increase or decrease in a person's salary or earnings. Once again, substantial means extremely major. The Family Court can also consider changes in the child's needs.

The totality of the circumstances unique to each individual case will be extremely important to the court's ultimate decision.

To discuss how the law applies to the specific facts of your individual case regarding child custody, child support, visitation, or regarding the possibility of modifying an existing order, please contact Anthony Charles, Carl Hiller, or Howard Sheftman at The Finkel Law Firm to set up a consultation.


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