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SOUTH CAROLINA
FIRST THINGS FIRST Campaign. Integrated Child Support Services
A Division of the South Carolina Department of Social Services

Enforcement Remedies

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Unfortunately, many non-custodial parents do not live up to their financial responsibilities to their children and do not pay their child support. State and Federal laws have given the Family Court and the Integrated Child Support Services Division (ICSSD) of the South Carolina Department of Social Services a number of methods to enforce a child support order. Bear in mind that these enforcement remedies are available in ICSSD cases only. If your case is not an ICSSD case and one of these remedies is appropriate, you must complete an application in order for the ICSSD to assist you. If your case is an ICSSD case and you feel one of these remedies is appropriate, please contact the Regional Office assigned to your case.


Income Withholding

Any child support order established or modified after January 3, 1994 and any child support order established or modified with the assistance of the ICSSD after October 31, 1990 is subject to being enforced through income withholding. 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. In addition, 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 ICSSD 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, any driver's, occupational, professional, business or commercial license issued by the State of South Carolina is subject to being suspended or revoked. 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 ICSSD to pay the arrearage.

The non-custodial parent is notified forty-five (45) days before any license is suspended or revoked. During this forty-five (45) day period, the non-custodial parent may contact the ICSSD and enter into an agreement to pay the arrearage and prevent the license from being suspended or revoked.

Federal Income Tax Refund Offset

If the non-custodial parent is at least $150 in arrears and three months delinquent in a case where the custodial parent receives Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or at least $500 in arrears and three months delinquent in a Non-TANF case, his/her Federal Income Tax Refund is subject to being intercepted to pay child support.

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. The form has eligibility criteria and filing instructions on the first page.

State Income Tax Refund Offset

In any case in which the non-custodial parent has an arrearage of $100 and a delinquency of three months, the non-custodial parent's State Income Tax Refund is subject to being intercepted to pay the child support.

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). The following payments by the Federal government are excluded:

  • benefit payments from the Department of Veteran Affairs
  • payments made by the Department of Education under Title IV of the Higher Education Act
  • Social Security payments
  • Railroad Retirement
  • payments made under Part B of the Black Lung Benefits Act
  • payments made under means-tested programs that, upon request, are exempted by the head of the Federal agency which administers the program
  • any type of payment, upon the written request of the head of the agency which authorizes the payments, if the offset would tend to interfere substantially with, or defeat the purposes of, the payment agency's program
  • payments made under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (except Tax Refund payments)
  • payments made under the tariff laws of the United States
  • Federal salary payments

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, such as banks, savings & loans, State and Federal Credit unions, benefit associations, insurance companies, safe deposit companies, and 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, and 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 insurance, workers' compensation, auto bodily harm liability, general liability, errors and omissions liability, and 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.


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