Child support is a hot topic in family law and child custody cases. Many still believe that fathers are solely responsible for paying child support, so they are confused and curious about a mother’s role in this process.
The truth is, child support laws apply to both parents equally. Gender and marital status are irrelevant.
Child Support Laws in Utah
Utah state law dictates that both parents are equally responsible for providing financial support to their children. This means that women are legally required to pay child support when they are the non-custodial parent. The gender of the parent does not matter when determining child support payments.
How Does Utah Determine Child Support?
Child support is based on the income of both parents, regardless of whether they have custody. The parent with the higher income will be responsible for paying more child support.
Courts can also consider the earning potential of each parent. For this, the court can account for a parent’s:
- Work history
- Potential career advancement
- Health, both mental and physical
Your percentage of child custody also influences your child support payments.
Both Parents Contribute to Child Support
It’s easy to forget that, ultimately, both parents pay child support. One parent makes direct payments to the other, but the custodial parent also spends money directly on the children's needs.
Child support is typically calculated based on each parent's income and the amount of time they spend with the children. The parent who spends less time with the kids usually pays child support to the custodial parent, who is responsible for providing for their day-to-day needs.
The court should calculate your time with the children into your support payments. If you have partial custody, your direct child support payments should be lowered since you are providing for the children part-time.
Mothers Can Face Penalties for Missing Child Support Payments
Child support payments are not optional. Any parent who fails to pay child support can face legal consequences, such as wage garnishments, license suspensions, and even jail time.
Fighting for Custody
By now, it should be clear that custody is one of the most important factors in whether you will pay or receive child support.
Legally, there is no difference between a father and mother. However, many outmoded ideas remain, and judges are not immune to such biases. A father could still have a difficult time convincing a judge that they deserve primary custody.
Here are some tips for fathers who want to make a strong case for child custody:
Hire a Good Attorney
A knowledgeable attorney can help guide you through the legal process and ensure that your rights as a father are protected. Nelson, Taylor & Associates, PLLC has helped many fathers protect their parental rights.
Maintain a Strong Relationship with the Child
Continue to spend quality time with your child and keep your bond strong. This will help show the court that you have a meaningful relationship with the child and invest in their well-being.
Stay Involved in Your Child's Life
Attend school events, doctor's appointments, and other important activities. Remember, you want to prove that you are actively involved in your child's life, committed to their upbringing.
Maintain a Stable Home Environment
This includes providing a safe and comfortable living space, as well as meeting their basic needs such as food, clothing, and healthcare.
Remain Willing to Cooperate with the Other Parent
When possible, work together to create a parenting plan that is in the best interests of the child. Put the child’s needs first, and you can help prove your fitness as a custodial parent.
Women are, indeed, required to pay child support in Utah if they are the non-custodial parent. Even if they have majority custody, they contribute to child support directly through their income.
Our firm can help you work toward a fair, reasonable child support agreement that benefits everyone and puts your child’s needs first. If you need assistance with support, custody, or any other family law concern, call us today at (801) 901-7046 or contact us online.