Sometimes during a divorce, one spouse might be upset by the divorce or might feel cheated and may threaten to quit his or her job in order to not have to pay child support. The logic behind making such a threat makes sense: If you have no or limited income, you can't afford to provide financial support. However, under South Carolina law, intentionally quitting your job would not help reduce the financial obligation you may owe your spouse for child support.
South Carolina Courts Consider All Kinds of Income in Child Support Determinations
When making a determination as to how much child support one parent should pay to the other, the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines identify what sources of income should be included in the calculation. In particular, the court should consider:
- Income from salary, wages or commissions;
- Income from royalties, rents, bonuses and trusts;
- Income from pensions and severance pay;
- Income from financial investments such as dividends, interest, annuities and capital gains;
- Income from federal agencies such as Social Security, unemployment and Veteran's benefits; and
- Income from alimony, even if the alimony is from a different marriage.
The court may also consider the income earning potential of certain assets owned by the parent. For example, the court could impute income potential on:
- Real property other than the parent's primary residence, i.e., vacation homes that are not being used as rental properties; and
- Idle real estate that is not being utilized for anything could have income generating potential such as mineral rights, logging rights, or water rights, which could be exploited.
Income for child support calculation purposes does not include:
- Income that is derived from other people living in the household with the parent;
- Benefits from public assistance programs, such as food stamps or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families; or
- In-kind income, which means the trading of goods or services instead of paying for those goods or services.
When a Parent Intentionally Loses His or Her Job
In situations in which a parent intentionally is underemployed or unemployed in an attempt to avoid paying child support, the child support determination is to be made based on the parent's potential income if he or she had not changed their employment situation, i.e., the determination is made based on the potential income that would ordinarily be available to the paying parent. This can be done when the court considers the payor parent's employment potential and potential earning capacity based on the parent's work history, skills and occupational qualifications.
Contacting a Charleston Family Law Attorney
Child support is an important part of post-divorce life, because children need to be provided for. If you are having issues with obtaining child support from your spouse or are worried that child support payments are going to be too much for you to bear, you should discuss these issues with an experienced family law attorney. Please contact the experienced Charleston family lawyers at Sarji Law Firm, LLC today. Our team of divorce lawyers has handled numerous divorces and child support cases. Please get in touch with us by calling 843-323-4341.
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