South Carolina Wage Garnishment: South Carolina Child Support Garnishment

South Carolina wage garnishment involves obligations by both the noncustodial parent and that parent’s employer. Once the legal paperwork to withhold is served on the noncustodial parent's employer, the employer must withhold from the noncustodial parent's wages a specified amount of current support, following very specific wage garnishment rules.  The employer must honor the wage assignment as long as the noncustodial parent remains employed. If the employer fails to follow South Carolina wage garnishment law, the employer will be subject to fines and other penalties for noncompliance.

South Carolina Child Support Collection

An order for support in South Carolina means a decree, judgment, or order of any court or agency of competent jurisdiction that provides for the support of a child, and/or maintenance of a past or current spouse. This order may provide for any current or past support owed. This order is binding on the noncustodial parent, regardless of whether it is modified, until its expiration. A noncustodial parent who is subject to an order in another state may obtain voluntary income withholding by filing a request with their local South Carolina court. The court will then issue a withholding order, and payments will be made to the court.

Who Withholds the Money 

An employer, or administrator of income, is bound by the support order once served (an administrator of income includes an administrator of a pension fund, third-party sick pay insurance, or workers’ compensation insurance).This means that they must withhold money from the employee's paycheck for child support until the order is satisfied. South Carolina uses the term payor for the employer, and means any payor of income to an employee. While payor is given a broad definition, the South Carolina Employment Security Commission is not a payor for child support collection purposes.  An administrator, like a payor, must enforce a support order once served.

When is Money Withheld 

Once the employer is served with an order for support, they must immediately begin withholding in the next pay period and send the payments to the court. If the order of support only states a monthly amount due, the employer does not have to adjust the employee’s pay periods; they should instead deduct the correct amount from each pay period so as to equal the monthly amount due. The following is a conversion chart: 

One monthly period equals:

  • 4.33 weekly periods
  • 2 semimonthly periods
  • 2.17 biweekly periods
  • 0.5 bimonthly periods
  • 0.333 quarterly periods
  • 0.167 semiannual periods

Out-of-State Orders 

If the employer receives a child support withholding order from another state, the employer must honor the other state’s withholding order. South Carolina follows the guidelines of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), which requires South Carolina employers to honor any out-of-state orders. The employer should follow the issuing state’s laws when determining the duration of the order, the amount to withhold, and where to send the order. On the other hand, when determining the employee’s disposable earnings, the withholding limits, when to begin and remit withholding, how to allocate orders when there are not enough disposable earnings available, acceptable administrative fees, and the process to follow upon termination of the employee, the employer should follow the laws of the employee’s work state.