08 Aug South Carolina Only State without Working Child Support Enforcement System
Almost 30 years ago, the federal government mandated each state to implement a statewide computerized child support enforcement system. South Carolina’s system was supposed to be operating smoothly by 1997. Due to decades of contractor difficulties and a lengthy court battle, the Palmetto State still does not have a working child support enforcement system. This can make it difficult for custodial parents to recover child support from deadbeat parents, and it has cost the state millions of dollars in fines.
South Carolina’s Outdated Child Support System
South Carolina currently has 47 different child support computer systems, a separate program run by the Department of Social Services and the county clerks in each of the state’s 46 counties. It is the only state without a centralized child support enforcement database system. An automated and centralized child support enforcement system would allow DSS to monitor and track down delinquent parents throughout the state of South Carolina and connect to other state systems to locate parents that have moved away.
The state has several methods of enforcing child support orders, including income withholding, tax refund withholding, license suspension, fines, and even jail time. However, because the state has no central database, parents that shirk their child support obligations often go undetected.
To make matters worse, South Carolina has accrued more than $145 million in federal fines for failing to meet its deadline 20 years in a row. The state has spent millions more in project costs to develop and implement the system. Even if all goes according to plan, the new child support enforcement system is expected to cost close to half a billion dollars.
New Child Support System Scheduled to Be Completed in 2019
South Carolina is now on its fourth contractor for the child support system project. The first company quit the project close to the 1997 deadline after its system failed to work. In 2007, Sabre took over the project but was soon bought out by Hewlett-Packard Corporation. HP’s contract was terminated by the state after several delays, and the system they were working on was scrapped completely.
The project’s latest vendor, Xerox Corp., is currently developing a system based on the program currently used in Delaware. The child support enforcement system is projected to be complete by September 2019. The DSS project manager, Jimmy Earley, released a statement saying, “The new system will make non-payment of child support easier to detect and will provide new tools to encourage payment. No computer system, however, can directly impact a person’s ability and willingness to pay child support or the laws in the state regarding child support.”
Need Legal Help? Call a South Carolina Child Support Lawyer.
If you need help enforcing a child support order or need to have your ordered child support obligation modified or reduced, contact Klok Law Firm LLC in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Our experienced family law attorneys can help you get through the messy processes of divorce, child custody, child support, and other family-centered issues. Call us today at (843) 216-8860.