child support

Do You Pay Child Support with 50/50 Custody in Utah?

In Utah, child support decisions can vary based on factors such as custody arrangements and income levels. In 50/50 custody arrangements (joint custody), where both parents share equal parenting time (or the child spends at least 111 overnights in each parent's home a year), the specifics of the custody order may influence child support calculations.

However, the prevailing considerations when calculating a parent's child support obligation are not isolated to where a child lives. The courts will consider:

  • The parents' gross incomes
  • The number of children involved
  • The number of overnights each child spends at each parent's home
  • Child care expenses
  • Medical care expenses

With this information, the courts will use a table to determine the base child support requirement (low-income families will receive child support decisions based on a separate table). The courts may deviate from these guidelines when appropriate, such as when there are additional expenses for the child/children.

The total support amount is then divided between the parents proportionally to their incomes.

Impact of Custody Order on Child Support

In cases of 50/50 custody, where both parents have equal time with the child, child support orders are generally still issued. This is because child support addresses the expenses of raising a child, which extend beyond the home the child lives in. So, even though physical custody is evenly split, the parent with the higher income may still be required to pay child support to the other parent. 

Utah courts may consider the following aspects when determining child support in 50/50 custody cases:

  • Income disparities: If the incomes of the two parents are significantly different, the higher-earning parent may still be obligated to provide financial support.
  • Child's best interests: The court will always prioritize the child's best interests when making child support decisions.
  • Expenses: Additional expenses related to the child's well-being, such as healthcare or education, may also influence child support amounts.

Changes in Child Support When Custody Orders Change

When a custody order is modified, the child support arrangement is often reviewed as well. However, specific criteria must be met for adjusting child support based on a new custody arrangement. If the current child support order has been in effect for less than three years, any proposed new support amount must differ by at least 15% from the existing order (if it has been more than three years, it needs to differ by at least 10%), as per Utah guidelines.

Additionally, a substantial change in circumstances must warrant this modification. Such changes can include a significant alteration in custody. It is worth noting that these changes must be permanent and not temporary to be considered for a child support modification.

The courts strive to ensure that adjustments to child support reflect the child's best interests while accommodating each parent's evolving circumstances.

Consulting a Family Law Attorney

Dealing with child support issues in cases of 50/50 custody can be complex. Seeking guidance from an experienced family law attorney like ours at Nelson, Taylor & Associates, PLLC can help you better understand your rights and obligations regarding child support.

Additionally, your attorney can guide you in related matters, including:

  • Child custody modifications
  • Child support modifications
  • Child support enforcement

Understanding how custody orders impact child support decisions is crucial for parents navigating the complexities of family law in Utah. If you require legal assistance or have further questions regarding child support and custody arrangements in Utah, contact our law firm today for informed guidance from seasoned family law attorneys.

Remember, when it comes to child support and custody matters, having the right legal support can make all the difference when seeking a resolution that preserves the best interests of your family. Contact us online to schedule a consultation.