Child Support Attorney
Child Support in Utah
When two parents separate or divorce in Utah, they are both legally required to provide financial support for their child/children. Child support in Utah is determined according to a set child support formula. The formula takes various factors into account, including custody arrangements, the number of children involved, and the income of each parent. Based on these and additional factors, the child support formula determines who will pay child support and how much will be paid.
While the court generally presumes that the amount set forth by the child support formula is appropriate, certain circumstances may lead to the court ordering a higher or lower payment amount. Additionally, changing circumstances may cause the receiving or paying parent to request a modification. If you need help with a child support issue, contact Ruesch & Reeve Law Firm. Our Hurricane Utah child support lawyers have many years of experience and are prepared to assist you.
FACTORS USED TO DETERMINE CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS
The Utah child support formula (also known as a “fee schedule”) uses several factors to determine how much the paying parent will need to provide to the receiving parent for the purpose of child-related expenses.
These factors include:
- The adjusted gross income of both parents
- The child custody arrangement; whether one parent has sole custody or if there is a joint or split custody arrangement
- The ability of either parent to pay, as well as both parent’s relative income and wealth
- Both parents’ education level/ability to obtain gainful employment
- Whether the child has special needs or extraneous circumstances that may lead to special financial considerations
- The established standard of living of both parents, as well as the standard of living the child, is accustomed to
- The age of both parents
- Whether either parent has financial obligations to other family members, including other children from previous marriages/relationships
Establishing child support may be part of a case for divorce, separate maintenance, temporary separation, annulment, parentage, or child welfare. Depending on the type of case, a support order may be entered by a district court or a juvenile court. The Utah Office of Recovery Services (ORS) may issue administrative orders concerning child support outside of court.
Child Support Required
Parents have a legal duty to support their minor children. Unless a minor is emancipated, child support continues until the child is 18 or has completed high school, whichever is later. Child support is for the use and benefit of the child. In some cases, the court may order child support to continue after age 18 for a disabled child who remains a dependent.
Utah Code 78B-12-105(1).
Income and Overnights
Child support is calculated using the gross monthly income of both parents and the number of overnights the child spends in each household.
When You Can Ask to Change Child Support
You can only change the amount of child support if the difference between the currently ordered child support amount and the proposed child support amount is at least 10%.
The change cannot be temporary. Temporary means that the change is expected to last less than one year.
There are two ways to ask the court to change child support – a Motion to Adjust and a Petition to Modify. A motion is simpler and usually faster, but can only be used in limited circumstances. Usually, you must file a petition. The documents and procedures are different. Be sure to use the correct forms in the Forms section below.
Motion to Adjust Child Support
A child support order can be adjusted by motion if it has been three or more years since the order was entered and:
- there is a difference of 10% or more between the support amount as ordered and the support amount as required under the guidelines; and
- the difference is not temporary; and
- the proposed child support amount is consistent with the guidelines.
If it has been three or more years since the order was entered:
- there must be a difference of 10% or more between the support amount currently ordered and the proposed support amount as required under the guidelines.
- the proposed child support amount does not have to be consistent with the guidelines in order to file the petition.
The change cannot be temporary.
If it has been less than three years since the order was entered, there must be at least a 15% difference between the support amount currently ordered and the proposed support amount required under the guidelines. You must also show that there has been a material change:
- in custody; or
- in the relative wealth or assets of the parties; or
- of 30% or more in the income of a parent; or
- in the employment potential and ability of a parent to earn; or
- in the medical needs of the child; or
- in the legal responsibilities of a parent for the support of others; or
- in the availability or cost of health care coverage; or
- in work-related or education-related child care expenses of the payor or the payee of child support; or
- due to the emancipation of a child.
The change cannot be temporary.
A child support order can also be modified by petition at any time if:
- a child reaches age 18 or is otherwise emancipated
- there is a material change in the availability, coverage, or reasonableness of the cost of health care insurance
- there is a material change in work-related or education-related childcare expenses
- there should be a change in the child tax exemption award.
Let Our Dedicated Team Represent Your Family
Our family law attorneys in Southern Utah offer a useful, responsive, and dedicated technique for the resolution of divorce proceedings, modification proceedings, and paternity actions. Our family law attorneys also are able to handle simple family law cases with a very cost-conscious approach whenever necessary or desirable. Additionally, our family lawyers regularly negotiate and prepare prenuptial arrangements to secure business interests, inheritances, and other assets in case of divorce or the death of a spouse.
Our family law attorneys strive to be creative in their strategy to resolve a situation and offer our clients the legal framework that is best suited to fix their disputes. Many times our clients are able to quickly and fairly resolve a family law dispute through negotiation or mediation, which is generally substantially less expensive than aggressively pursuing litigation and can oftentimes produce the same result. When a client agrees to pursue mediation we direct them throughout the mediation process and apply technique and skill in the manner most likely to help them amicably resolve their disputes. However, when such efforts fall short and litigation cannot be prevented, the experience and capability of each of our family law lawyers to handle the most advanced litigation issues allow us to effectively protect our client’s rights, assets, and income.