Department Of Social Services Logo

Establishing or Modifying a Child Support Order

A child support order is a legal document, filed through the court, which determines how much the other parent will pay and includes additional important aspects, like the payment structure and provisions for the child’s health care coverage. 

The amount of child support that will be paid by the paying parent is established using South Carolina’s Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines take into account the income and obligations of both parents. An estimate of the amount of a court ordered child support obligation can be calculated using the Child Support Calculator.

Most parents are able to come to an agreement on the child support obligation amicably using the child support guidelines; however, for those parents that cannot reach an agreement, family court judges can hear both parents to determine a fair amount of child support.

We know that life changes. When changes to the financial position of either parent occurs, the parent can request a modification of the child support order.


How Can DSS Help?

DSS can help establish or modify child support orders through the court at no cost to you.  For new cases DSS will:

  • Set up the child support case
  • Locate parents if addresses are unknown
  • Schedule an administrative process hearing at the courthouse for both parties to attend
  • Propose a child support obligation using the Child Support Guidelines
  • Prepare the Child Support Order with the Clerk of Court if an agreement can be reached
  • Prepare the case for a judicial hearing if an agreement on the terms of the order cannot be reached.


For existing cases, DSS can: 

  • Upon request by either parent or at scheduled times, request updated financial data from both parties and review the data to determine if the child support obligation should change.
  • If a change is warranted, DSS can make this change administratively if there is agreement between the parents or present the case before the family court judge for final determination.

Click here  for additional resources for establishing or modifying a support order.

Child Welfare Services Transformation

Best Outcomes for Children and Families

Do you have a complaint regarding services being provided to a child by a state agency? Please submit your complaint by phone (1-800-206-1957) or an electronic submission form here with the South Carolina Department of Children's Advocacy.