Most people who are in the early stages of searching for a divorce lawyer in Charleston, SC do some internet research before they start actually reaching out to attorneys. If those people are also parents, one of the first topics they are likely to do internet research on is the issue of child support.
Unlike with some other divorce-related topics, there is a fair amount of credible information on the web regarding South Carolina child support (we have discussed the topic on this website on a number of occasions, here, here, and here among others).
In addition to the available web resources, a divorce lawyer in Charleston, SC can also give a fairly accurate estimate or range of possibilities when it comes to child support calculations, even as early as an initial consultation. The calculation of child support for most divorcing couples is a fairly straightforward and non-controversial exercise, particularly if both parents are W-2 wage earners, if health insurance costs for the children are fixed and transparent, and if both parents have previously been involved in choosing and paying for work-related child care costs.
Things can get a bit more tricky when one or both of the parties fall outside of this “normal” scenario. One way in which the calculation of child support can get more difficult for the parties is if they are deemed “high income” parents.
What is the threshold for a “high income” child support case?
The South Carolina Child Support Guidelines apply only to cases where the combined gross monthly income of both parents is $30,000.00 per month, or $360,000.00 per year. The income disparity between the parents can be great, or both parents can make substantially the same; if the combined gross monthly income or annual income exceeds those figures, the Support Guidelines no longer apply. This situation would therefore seem to encompass households with two professional parents (perhaps both parents are doctors, lawyers, engineers, or the like) or scenarios in which one parent stays at home while the other earns a substantial living.
How is child support calculated in a “high income” child support case?
The Guidelines and South Carolina case law say that in circumstances such as these, child support shall be determined “on a case-by-case basis.” That is vague guidance, at best. It will be up to both parties in a high income support case to put together convincing evidence regarding the historical cost of raising the parties’ children, projected future costs of raising these children, and any financial need the custodial parent will have in order to continue fulfilling those costs.Given the lack of certainty surrounding cases such as these, and the likely need for crafting a creative legal/financial argument tailored for your specific circumstances, it becomes even more imperative that you consult with a divorce lawyer in Charleston, SC at your earliest opportunity.