Following divorce or separation, one parent will be expected to provide payments to the other as a form of child support. The amount of support the parent must pay will depend on several factors, including the parents’ incomes, the child custody arrangement, and the number of children they have together. Keep reading to learn about who is required to pay child support under Utah law and how much.
Who Pays Child Support in Utah?
Under the law, both parents in Utah are required to financially support their child. This support may manifest in different forms for each parent, though. In particular, the custodial parent who spends the most time with the child provides support in their day-to-day expenses caring for the child. As a result, the noncustodial parent is expected to make conventional child support payments on a periodic schedule.
Calculating Child Support Payments
Like many states, Utah implements a set of child support guidelines that determine the child support amount based on both parents’ adjusted gross income. A parent’s gross income includes income from all sources, such as:
- salaries and wages;
- rental property;
- income from a trust;
- military pay;
- alimony received;
- Social Security benefits;
- unemployment compensation; and
- gifts and prizes.
If the court discovers that a parent is willfully unemployed or underemployed to avoid their child support obligation, the court can impute, or assign, an income to them based on their past and current earnings. The exception is if a custodial parent is unemployed to take care of the child.
After determining the gross income, parents may refer to this chart to find out how much they may be expected to pay based on the number of children they must support.
It is possible for parents to challenge the amount reached by the guidelines. Parents may request that the court increase or decrease the support amount, and the court will examine the following factors to make its decision:
- the parents' standards of living and situations;
- the parents' relative wealth and incomes;
- the ability of the paying parent to earn;
- the ability of the receiving parent to earn;
- the ability of an incapacitated adult child to earn, or the child's benefits;
- the needs of both parents and the child;
- the parents' ages; and
- whether either parent supports others.
If either parent experiences a substantial change in circumstances, they may petition for a modification of the support order. Substantial changes might be an increase or decrease of 30% in income or a significant change in custody.
If you have questions about child support negotiations or your obligation to pay, contact the Salt Lake City divorce lawyers at Nelson, Taylor & Associates PLLC for legal assistance. We can help you estimate the amount of support you or the other parent might be expected to pay, as well as petition for an adjustment of the calculated amount.
Schedule an initial consultation with Nelson, Taylor & Associates PLLC to get started.