When a child support court order is initially made, it is established based on the circumstances surrounding the child custody arrangement and the parents’ relative incomes. Further on, however, a child support obligation might no longer make sense in light of changed circumstances. One parent might have received a larger percentage of the child custody, one parent might have landed a better job (or may have lost a job), or either could have had more children who need to be supported.
A substantial change in circumstances often can warrant a modification of an existing child support order in South Carolina. According to Floyd v. Morgan, 375 S.C. 246, 652 S.E.2D 83 (Ct. App. 2007), in South Carolina the courts may modify a child support obligation up or down to reflect the changes. The parent seeking the modification must demonstrate proof of the changed circumstances and the family court will exercise its discretion concerning whether to enter a child support modification.
One of the most commonly cited complaints parents have when it comes to dealing with child support modification issues is that they don’t want to or feel like they are unable to pay a lawyer to handle their legal affairs. This may prompt some parents to take on completing the appropriate legal paperwork and court filing process on their own. In South Carolina, a parent may represent him or herself when it comes to child support modification matters.
Being a Pro Se Litigant
When you decide to handle your own legal matters without the help of an attorney, you are referred to as a “pro se” litigant. Pro se is latin for “on one’s own behalf”, and as a pro se litigant you are representing yourself.
South Carolina’s Self-Represented Litigant Interactive Program
The Judicial Department of the South Carolina Supreme Court has developed an online interactive program for individuals who are interested in representing themselves during child support modification proceedings. The program walks pro se litigants through the process in a step-by-step manner based on whether the litigant is the plaintiff or the defendant. The online site also offers educational materials about what you need to do, how you need to do it, and in what time frame it must be done. Additionally, the site provides pro se litigants with access to the forms that they need to modify a child support obligation.
It’s Never Too Late To Get A Lawyer
If through the course of your pro se activities, you discover that representing yourself is too difficult or time consuming, or you become overwhelmed or confused by the child support modification process, you can always change your mind about consulting with an experienced child support lawyer. A family lawyer can help sort through your case and figure out what you need to do next in order to proceed with the child support modification.
The experienced child support attorneys at McCoy & Stokes, LLC have assisted a number of clients through the child support modification process and we are ready and available to help you too. Contact us today.