Young children require financial support regardless of whether their parents stay married. If you are a parent going through divorce in Utah, you probably have many concerns about how your child support plan will be decided and enforced. Regardless of your custody situation, Utah child support lawyer Rex Bray can help protect your legal rights and walk you through each and every stage of the support determination and compliance process.
To set up a completely free and confidential legal consultation, call Rex Bray at (801) 708-0913 today.
How is Child Support Calculated?
Utah child support is primarily calculated based on a specific mathematical table contained within Section 78B-12-301 of the State Legislature, known as the “base combined child support obligation table.” The table applies to both parents, and compares monthly combined adjusted gross income against the total number of children.
The table has four basic purposes:
- To establish support orders entered on or after January 1, 2008.
- To modify support orders entered on or after January 1, 2008.
- To modify temporary support orders established on or prior to December 31, 2007 (if the new order was entered on or prior to January 1, 2008).
- To modify final support orders entered on or prior to December 31, 2007 (if the modification was made on or after January 1, 2010).
However, it isn’t only this table which impacts the final determination. Other factors also play a significant role in calculating just how much child support a parent should be ordered to pay. For example, the courts will also consider:
- Medical Expenses — Does the child have a health issue or medical problem which requires additional financial support?
- General Child Care Expenses — Child care expenses can vary greatly depending on factors like the ages and total number of children. As a result, child care expense considerations can be very different from one family to the next.
The Utah Department of Human Services provides a free-to-use child support calculator which prompts users to enter information such as:
- The gross monthly income of the mother and father.
- The total number of children, whether adopted or biological.
- Any alimony payments which are also being made.
- For joint custody cases, how many nights per year the child spends with each parent.
Additionally, there are a few final points to make regarding the parameters and limitations of the base support table:
- The table only goes up to six children. If you have more than six children, additional payment can be ordered. Pursuant to 78B-12-205 (Calculation of Obligations), “The amount ordered may not be less than the amount which would be ordered for up to six children.”
- If you have an incapacitated adult child who needs help with self-care, with some exceptions, anything that the adult child can add to his or her own support may justify reducing the total support ordered.
My Ex Stopped Paying Child Support, What Should I Do?
If a former spouse stops paying court-ordered child support, or simply never complies with a court order to begin with, it can put the recipient parent in an extremely stressful, frustrating, and difficult position, both financially and emotionally speaking. Nonetheless, it is important that you do not make any rash or hasty decisions — because if you do, you could be breaking the law.
For example, many people assume that if their former spouse stops meeting their support obligations, they are free to deny their ex-wife or ex-husband visitation rights in order to force them to comply. While such an action seems fairly logical, denying visitation rights on the basis of child support nonpayment is actually illegal and can lead to harsh penalties. The Utah courts state in no uncertain terms, “All parties must obey court orders. Custodial parents may not withhold parent time, even if child support is not being paid.” (Likewise, “A parent may not withhold child support even if parent time is being denied.”)
If your ex-husband or ex-wife stops paying their child support, the answer is not to deny visitation, but to work with a family law attorney who can help you file a motion to enforce the judgment. This is known as a motion to enforce a domestic order (order to show cause). The exact procedures differ based on which District you live in, so be sure to consult with your lawyer to ensure you take the appropriate steps.
If you need assistance with any of these issues, call Utah child support attorney Rex Bray at (801) 708-0913 right away to arrange for a private case evaluation, free of charge.