If you are involved in the litigation of a case in a Family Court in the State of South Carolina, and child custody, visitation and child support are issue, an amount of child support may be calculated pursuant to the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines. The court must determine the gross income of each parent, to calculate child support, pursuant to the Guidelines. Income includes the actual gross income of the parent, if employed to full capacity, or potential income if unemployed or underemployed. South Carolina Child Support Guidelines § 3.1.1, p. 3 (DSS 2006).
Gross income is defined as follows:
"Gross income includes income from any source including salaries, wages, commissions, royalties, bonuses, rents (less allowable business expenses), dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits (but not Supplemental Security Income), worker's compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, Veteran's benefits and alimony, including alimony which a party received as a result of another marriage and alimony which a party receives as a result of the current litigation. Unreported cash income should also be included if it can be identified.
1. The court may also take into account assets available to generate income for child support. For example, the court may determine the reasonable earning potential of any asset at its market value and assess against it the current treasury bill interest rate or some other similar appropriate method of computing income.
2. In addition to determining potential earnings, the court should impute income to any non income producing assets of either parent, if significant, other than a primary residence or personal property. Examples of such assets are vacation homes (if not maintained as rental property) and idle land. The current rate determined by the court is the rate at which income should be imputed to such non performing assets."
South Carolina Child Support Guidelines § 3.1.2, p. 3 (DSS 2006)
Determining the income of the parties is one of many challenges involved in litigation in the South Carolina Family Courts; and such a task can be daunting, especially if a parent is failing to disclose potential income, or is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed. The attorneys at Hall & Hall Attorneys at Law can assist you in all aspects of Family Court Litigation, including but not limited to Divorce, Child Custody, Visitation, and Child Support, Adoption, and Separate Support and Maintenance. Please contact our law office located in West Columbia, Lexington County, South Carolina, to learn how we can help you.