Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
The General Assembly, through Act 195 of 1989, provides that the child support guidelines must be applied by the courts in determining the amount of child support that is expected to be paid toward the support of a dependent child. (Section 43-5-580(b) and 20-7-852(a) of the South Carolina Code of Laws, 1976, as Amended).
In any proceeding for the award of child support, there is a rebuttable presumption that the amount of the award which would result from the application of the child support guidelines is the correct amount of child support to be awarded. A different amount may be awarded IF it can be shown that applying the child support guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate. And, in the event the court orders a child support award that varies significantly from the amount resulting from the application of the guidelines, the court shall make specific, written findings of those facts upon which it bases its conclusion supporting that award. Findings that rebut the guidelines must state the amount of support that would have been required under the guidelines and include a justification of why the order varies from the guidelines.
As referenced in an earlier blog post, the Child Support Calculator is a helpful tool in applying the child support guidelines. Gross income is used in the calculations. And, it is important to note that certain types of “income” are excluded by the guidelines from being considered gross income.
For example, for purposes of calculating gross income regarding child support, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is NOT included in the calculation. In other words, if you receive SSI, that amount is not included in the gross income, which is used in the calculations regarding your child support obligation or entitlement. For further information regarding SSI, check out the following link: http://www.ssa.gov/ssi/
The child support guidelines enumerate several other exclusions from gross income. You can find a full text of the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines at the following link: http://www.state.sc.us/dss/csed/forms/2006guidelines.pdf