Whether they are infants, toddlers, or teenagers, minor children need financial support from their parents. If you and your spouse are going through a divorce, you will need to determine how your child or children will be cared for until they reach adulthood.
Whether you need experienced legal representation to guide you through a dispute, wish to modify the terms of an existing plan, or need assistance enforcing a court-ordered judgment because a former spouse stopped paying, West Valley City child support lawyer Darwin Overson can help. To arrange for a completely free and confidential legal consultation, call Darwin Overson at (801) 758-2287.
How Are Child Support Calculations Determined in Utah?
There are many factors which go toward the ultimate determination of a Utah child custody arrangement. As the state judiciary explains, there are three key components that play an important role in determining parents’ financial obligations:
- The base child support. This base is calculated using a table in the Utah Code which compares monthly combined adjusted gross income against the number of children you have. A special table is used for parents with low incomes.
- The child’s medical care expenses, such as costs associated with disability or chronic illness. If you have or can reasonably accommodate a health insurance policy, both you and your spouse will share the child’s premium, deductibles, and co-payments equally.
- The child’s general care expenses, such as clothing, food, and school supplies. If you have any childcare expenses related to your work, such as needing to hire daycare during the weekdays, expenses will be shared equally by you and your spouse.
Other factors which will be considered by the courts include:
- Each parent’s income and earnings.
- Whether either parent is paying or receiving alimony (spousal support).
- The degree of custody each parent has over the child or children. For example, if you share joint custody with your spouse, the number of overnight stays per year can affect the end result.
- The total number of children involved in the child support plan, whether biological or adopted.
It should be noted that these are the general guidelines. If there are any special extenuating circumstances, the standard calculation guidelines may not apply.
Can I Change My Child Support Plan?
If you wish to modify an existing plan, you will need to file either a motion or a petition with the help of your family law attorney. Whether you are filing a motion or a petition, you need to be able to meet the following requirements:
- The original support order must have been entered at least three years ago. However, there are several exceptions to this rule, such as instances where a parent’s income or earning power changes dramatically.
- There must a minimum and permanent 10% difference between the original ordered amount and the amount required by Utah’s guidelines.
You should file a motion if the proposed amount fits with Utah’s guidelines. You should file a petition if the proposed amount does not fit Utah’s guidelines. Darwin Overson can help you understand these guidelines in greater detail in order to determine which course of action is most appropriate for your family’s legal and financial situation.
My Former Spouse Isn’t Paying Their Child Support, What Should I Do?
It is always stressful when a former spouse stops paying child support as ordered by the courts, but it is very important that you do not react by withholding parent time. If you withhold parent time in defiance of the court’s custody orders in an attempt to secure support payments, you may find yourself charged with contempt of court, which will only complicate your situation with jail time and costly fines.
If you find yourself in this situation, the better response is to file the appropriate paperwork with the assistance of your family law lawyer. Darwin Overson can help you file a Motion for an Order to Show Cause detailing your former spouse’s failure to pay as directed by the courts. If the court finds that your claim has sufficient grounds to proceed, the judge will schedule a hearing which your former spouse must attend in order to explain their conduct. Because both you and your spouse will have an opportunity to present your side of the story, it is important to have professional representation from an attorney.
If you need assistance with any of these issues, call West Valley City child support attorney Darwin Overson at (801) 758-2287 to set up a free and private case evaluation.