Family Court

What Does It Take To Be A Deadbeat Parent In South Carolina?

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What is a “Deadbeat Parent”? This is commonly known to be a parent who does not pay her or his child support, that was ordered by the Courts to the Custodial Parent.

In many cases Courts use a formula bases on how many overnights are given for visitation and a parents financial standings. Even if unemployed a parent could be held to what is called imputed wages which a Family Court Judge could base on past employment history or minimum wage standards for that time. In short if an individual at one point in his career held a job earning $60,000 a year, but now only earns $24,000 a year the Judge could base it on the higher earnings. This is what does happen in many Family Court cases.

The South Carolina guidelines establish a basic child support obligation average between $793 to $1628. This range applies to parents of one to six children, according to Indigo Family Law Firm.

In many cases it’s not that these parents refuse to pay child support but that they are simply unable to pay the ordered amounts.

In South Carolina the incaceration rate of parents who owe child support is staggering. Family Courts are supose to take into consideration your ability to pay, but in reality many simply do not. This is due to the fact that South Carolina as many other states receive financial incentives from the Federal Government for these high child support orders, through what is called Social Security Act Title IV-D.

Title IV-D pays on average $3.00 for every $1.00 ordered for Child Support to the State, these incentives are taken from Social Security. On the South Carolina Legislative website you can find this statement:

 Funds of $800,000 collected under the Child Support Enforcement Program (Title IV-D) which are state funds shall be remitted to the State Treasurer and credited to the General Fund of the State. All state funds above $800,000 shall be retained by the department to fund Self-Sufficiency and Family Preservation and Support initiatives.

Title IV-D incentives reach in to these high numbers for States and are generally used for whatever the state chooses.

Little Known Facts Of Deadbeat parents:

Most Deadbeat parents, are literally unable to pay the amounts ordered by Family Court Judges. Many of these parents have been forced to take on multiple jobs in order to pay and even then come up short.

Some parents are even forced to sell their entire belongings to pay these amounts of child support, forcing them to become homeless.

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Even if incarceration for already not being able to pay the ordered amounts, have to continue paying while incarcerated. The Child support is not suspended while incarcerated, thereby causing these parents to fall more behind.

The current child support system is designed to benefit the State, not the children in many of these cases. Often the Family Courts use child support to punish a parent who is fighting for their child/children and challenging the Courts decision.

In some cases these parents are forced to seek illegal means of earning money to pay the ordered amounts.

Questions Not Asked By The State

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What can State Legislators do to aid these parents? Are Judges more concerned with financials than a child’s emotional or mental support? Could the State create programs to aid these parents? Would making Shared Parenting (50/50 Custody) be more beneficial, instead of high amounts of Child Support?

To answer the first question, State Legislators could seek to change the laws pertaining to child support. Many Grassroots organizations suggest States refusing Title IV-D incentives would force states to re-evaluate how family courts are run on bases of finances.

Question two is found in the fact that Family Courts or Domestic Relations Courts (which is the actual name) are courts of equity. This means they concentrate solely on finances and property.

South Carolina could create programs to aid these parents with education or job placements. Some states have created these programs not only to benefit these parents in this matter, but benefit in general. The New York Post ran just such an article.

Again many Grassroots organizations are pushing for Shared Parenting which benefits children emotionally and mentally by maintaining a loving relationship with both parents. This does not mean one would not be ordered to pay any child support but the amounts would be significantly more reasonable, as both parents are supporting the child/children in more ways than financial.


What does it take to be considered a “Deadbeat Parent”, challenging the system … Today thousands of adult children are speaking out against the Family Court system and allowing their voices to be heard. Stating they didn’t want money! They wanted their Parent!

So before you call someone a “Deadbeat Parent” get the facts and do your homework.

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