Locating Absent Parents and Available Enforcement Remedies

Before a case can be scheduled for an Administrative or Judicial Hearing by one of our Regional Offices, the case is referred to the Central Parent Locate Service (CPLS).

How does CPLS work?

  • CPLS collects and verifies the information to be used in securing and enforcing child support orders.
  • The staff examines the numerous sources available to it
  • Compares the information found to that provided on the case referral or application
  • Then determines the precise identity and location of the NCP.
  • CPLS locates over 1,000 NCP's every month, directly aiding the regional legal offices in establishing more paternities and obtaining more support orders.
  • CPLS is a resource that can be called upon by the regional legal offices in cases where the enforcement of a child support order proves difficult.
    Other state child support agencies may also use the resources available to CPLS for quick locate requests. Such requests are handled through established, secure protocols.

For further information regarding the Parent Locate Service, you may contact us at:
Child Support Services Division
Central Parent Locate Service
PO Box 1469
Columbia, SC 29202-1469
Phone: 1.800.768.5858 FREE
Fax: (803)898-9262


Available Enforcement Remedies

Unfortunately, some non-custodial parents do not live up to their financial responsibilities to their children and do not pay child support. State and Federal laws have given the Family Court and the Child Support Services Division (CSSD) a number of methods to enforce a child support order. Bear in mind that these enforcement remedies are available in CSSD cases only and are used only when appropriate and necessary.

The Central Parent Locate Service (CPLS) and its resources may be used to obtain a current address for a non-paying noncustodial parent.

Income Withholding

Income withholding is the deduction of a child support payment from a parent’s income. If a non-custodial parent changes employers, the non-custodial parent must notify the appropriate clerk of court so that income withholding can be initiated by the new employer.

Rule to Show Cause Hearing

  • When a non-custodial parent does not make child support payments as ordered by the court, the judge will require that he/she appear before the court and explain why payments are not being made as ordered.
  • If the non-custodial parent cannot provide a valid reason for not making the child support payments as ordered, the judge may order one of the enforcement remedies listed on this page.
  • The judge has the ability to fine the non-custodial parent up to $1,500 and/or sentence the non-custodial parent to up to a year in jail for failure to pay child support.
  • If the non-custodial parent can provide a valid reason for not making the child support payments as ordered, the judge and the CSSD staff will advise the non-custodial parent of the alternatives available in his/her case.
  • If the non-custodial parent fails to appear for the Rule to Show Cause Hearing, the judge will issue a bench warrant for the arrest of the non-custodial parent. 

License Revocation

If the non-custodial parent accumulates an arrearage of at least $500 and has not made a payment within 60 days, licenses issued by the State of South Carolina are subject to being suspended or revoked.

The following type of licenses can be suspended:

  • Driver's
  • Occupational
  • Professional
  • Business Commercial

Once a license has been suspended or revoked, the non-custodial parent cannot have the license reinstated until they have reached an agreement with the CSSD to pay the arrearage

The non-custodial parent is notified 45 days before any license is suspended or revoked.

During this 45 day period, the non-custodial parent may contact the CSSD and enter into an agreement to pay the arrearage and prevent the license from being suspended or revoked.


Income Tax Refund Offset

If a noncustodial parent owing child support is due a tax refund, if the case meets certain criteria, the refund may be intercepted and applied to the noncustodial parent's past-due child support


Federal Tax Refund Offset

When is a non-custodial parent subject to having his/her Federal Income Tax Refund intercepted?

  • When the custodial parent receives Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the non-custodial parent owes at least $150 in arrears and is three months delinquent in a case
  • When the custodial parent does NOT receive TANF and the non-custodial parent owes at least $500 in arrears and is three months delinquent in a case
  • If a non-custodial parent files a joint return and certain conditions are met, the non-custodial parent's spouse may be eligible to receive their portion of the refund by completing IRS Form 8379 - Injured Spouse Claim and Allocation

State Income Tax Refund Offset

When is a non-custodial parent subject to having his/her Federal Income Tax Refund intercepted?

  • When the non-custodial parent has an arrearage of $100 and a delinquency of three months

Unemployment Insurance Benefits Intercept

Any unemployment benefits received by the non-custodial parent are subject to being intercepted to pay child support.

Financial Institution Account Lien

If a non-custodial parent owes at least $1,000 in arrearages, a lien may be placed on certain accounts held by the delinquent parent with financial institutions including:

  • Banks
  • Savings & loans
  • State and Federal Credit unions
  • Benefit associations
  • Insurance companies
  • Safe deposit companies
  • Money market mutual funds.

The following types of accounts are subject to child support related liens:

  • Demand deposit accounts
  • Checking accounts
  • Saving accounts
  • Time deposit accounts
  • Money market mutual fund accounts.

Insurance Lien

If a non-custodial parent owes at least $1,000 in arrearages, a lien may be placed on certain insurance claims, settlements, awards, and payments that the delinquent parent is entitled to receive.

The following types of claims are subject to child support related liens:

  • Life insuranceWorkers' compensation
  • Auto bodily harm liability
  • General liability
  • Errors and omissions liability
  • Directors and officers liability.

Passport Denial

All non-custodial parents referred for Federal Income Tax Refund Offset (above) with an arrearage of at least $2,500 are automatically referred to the US Department of State for passport denial.

The non-custodial parent cannot obtain or renew a passport until the arrearage is settled.

Administrative Lien

Any asset held by the non-custodial parent, real or personal, is subject to seizure if the non-custodial parent accumulates an arrearage of at least $1,000. This could apply to assets such as bank accounts, land and automobiles.


Administrative Offset

All or part of any payment to the non-custodial parent from the Federal government is subject to being intercepted for paying child support arrearages. The eligibility criteria are the same as Federal Income Tax Refund Offset (above).


*There are a few benefits that are excluded by statute from liens or offset.