How to Calculate Child Support in South Carolina

In theory, the calculation of child support should be very simple.  South Carolina has worked out a calculation found in the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines that calculates child support based on several factors – mainly the parent’s gross income, whether they are under a previous order to pay child support for another child, if there are other children in the home that will not be covered by this support order, health insurance premiums for the children, work related childcare expenses, and extraordinary medical expenses for the children. In theory, you just plug these numbers in and out pops the parent’s monthly support obligation.

The video shows you the South Carolina Department of Social Services web child support calculator located at:

In practice, what happens is people quit jobs and take lower paying jobs so their child support obligation will be lower.  They claim that the bad economy should allow them to pay less each month.  Perhaps the mother has been a stay-at-home mom during the marriage, but the father believes that she is capable of working and since they are going through the divorce she should go get a job and he is asking that the court impute wages to her.  Many times, one of the parents has worked for cash and he/she does not report all of his/her income so it may be hard to determine upon first glance what his/her income truly is.  To impute wages means that the court will calculate child support as if that parent was earning the amount of income the court believes they are capable of earning.

If you are going through a divorce or child support is an issue in your life, I would encourage you to consult with an attorney.  There are so many intricacies and nuances where people will try to take advantage of a trusting spouse when it comes to child support and having to pay out money every month.  Even if you plan on moving forward without an attorney, I would recommend that you at least consult with an attorney to get an idea of what child support should be if you believe your spouse is capable of earning more than they currently do or if you believe they are going to try to take advantage of you.


  1. Tiffany pruitt says:

    i am putting my babydaddy up for child support he left me and his daughter 2 months ago he havent gave me any money for her at all within those 2 months his gross income is 1600.00 a mth i work my income is 1700.00 my daugther is in day care and i pay 430.00 a mth and he has her on his insurance about 100.00 coming out of his check every 2 weeks. Will I get back pay for her from those 2 mths he havent given me any money and how much would i might get every month? would he have to pay that back pay at the first time we go to court and judge tell him how much he has to pay ? I need help please answer my question

    • Hi Tiffany,

      Thanks for your comment and question. It is possible for a parent to be ordered to pay retroactive child support if they have not adequately financially supported their child prior to the Court order. This is in the discretion of the Family Court Judge and is not always ordered. Also, the chances of this award diminish with time, so you should probably begin the process of discussing your case with a lawyer.

      Attorney-Client Relations Reminder: This site is meant to provide general legal information and not specific legal advice or information for your particular situation. Before relying on any material from this site, you should consult a competent attorney to discuss the specifics of your case.

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