The family court has ordered that you are supposed to receive child support from your children’s father. The problem: he is not paying. He ignores your requests for payment.

What Can You Do About It?

One option you have is to file an action in the family court asking the court to find the nonpaying parent in civil contempt. The law in South Carolina says that the family court has general authority to hear and decide cases or proceedings against persons charged with failure to obey an order of the court. The judge may hold in contempt any adult who willfully violates a provision of the order, including the payment of child support.

If a person is found to be in contempt of court for failure to pay child support, the court may incarcerate the person for up to one year, fine the person up to $1,500, or order the person 300 hours of community service. The court can do all three, not just one or the other.

Once someone is found in contempt and sanctioned, the court will often require him to repay the attorney fees of the person who brought the action.

The primary purpose of civil contempt is to require compliance with the court’s order, not so much to punish the person violating the order.

If you are owed child support by court order and your child’s parent is not paying support, you may want to consider bringing a contempt action against him or her. Each case is different, and some are more cut and dried than others. Also, the parent accused of not paying support may have certain defenses available. Zealous representation can help “twist the other side’s arm” to follow the order by bringing a contempt action.

If you would like to speak to the family law attorneys of Holland & Usry, PA, please call us toll-free at 888-230-1841 to set up a consultation to discuss your case.

Related Links:


What does "contempt of court" mean in family law?

Understanding South Carolina’s rules for child support

How to modify a Gaffney child support agreement


John Holland
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John Holland is a Spartanburg Family law attorney, practicing since 2012.
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