State News

South Carolina And The Child Support Piggy Bank

Donald Beatty to run unopposed for S.C. chief justice | Palmetto ...
Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beatty

At the onset of Covid-19 and Gov. Henry McMaster’s Emergency Orders in a surprising turn South Carolina Supreme Court Justice Donald Beatty issued, what many called the right thing to do, an Administrative Order halting any un-executed Bench Warrants on Parents who were behind on Child Support. Justice Beatty issued this Order twice due to the fact that many parents simply didn’t have the funds during this period with the state on the verge of closing.

It was expected that with the continued state of emergency that another such order would be issued, but it was not. Since the last order expired several parents who now owed more money due to losing their employment or not being able to find employment during Covid-19 have been hauled into Family Courts and sentenced for funds they do not have.

This has always been a steady income for states who collect incentive payments from the Federal Government taken from Social Security through Social Security Act Title IV-D for child support payments. But this has now become even more complicated by the creation of the new Child Support Enforcement Agency, which is under DSS (Department of Social Services) control.

DSS now controls the money in Private and DSS child support cases, although private cases are strictly as it says private, between two parties. DSS was only able to hold parents accountable for child support if DSS was involved, but now that has changed. To make it more complex many of the case files transfered from Family Court were incorrect or incomplete, thereby raising more confusion for people.

Also it’s worth mentioning that this new agency only accepts certain payment methods which cost the payee more money. The Court houses no longer accept any payments, unless it’s what called a purge payment to prevent one from going to jail or to get out of jail.

With the South Carolina economy down and the state needing money it would seem that it is relying on the Child Support Piggy Bank to bring income into the infrastructure. SC received $3 for every Dollar that is taken in for Child Support. This means that the State in one case if ordered to pay $125.00 a week could make $1500.00 a month or $19,500.00 a year from Social Security.

South Carolina is ranked #22 in the United States when it comes to high Child Support according to CustodyXChange.com.

As most parents who can not pay their child support (especially now due to Covid-19) are incarcerated it was interesting to know that the child support continues to stack up even while the Court system who ordered the original support now has made it impossible for the parent to even catch up on what money might be owed. But the state still receives its incentives from having the individual incarcerated, and the money that person spends while locked up.

Could the Supreme Court issue another Order halting this process which is continuously argued as illegal, and called a new Debtors Prison system in the United States. It is clear to many who argue these facts that the Child Support System needs to be changed.

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