Establishing and maintaining child support can be complicated, stressful, and emotional. Most parents want their children’s needs to be met, but they are also concerned with fairly sharing the costs of those needs between parents. Even after the original child support responsibilities are established through a court order, modification of the agreement may be necessary from time to time as financial and general life situations change.
Legal issues concerning child support can start with the birth of a child, a divorce or separation, or when one or both parents seek to have the court decide child support matters or approve a child support agreement between parents. Child support orders in Utah typically last until a child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later, or they may last longer for adult children with disabilities. There can be years and years of dealing with legal issues related to child support and the Ault Law Firm, P.C. can help you every step of the way.
Child support agreements
Sometimes parents have mutually agreed to child support terms and parameters. An attorney can draft an agreement to set forth the details such as duration of child support, amount of support, when payments will be made, etc. That child support agreement becomes legally binding when and if a judge signs off on the agreement making it a legally enforceable order. If the agreed upon child support amount is different from the Utah child support guidelines (discussed below), a judge will only sign off on the agreement making it legally enforceable if the parties can show good reasons for deviating from the child support guidelines and the judge determines that the child support agreement is in the best interests of the child.
Utah child support guidelines
In Utah, child support guidelines determine a total support obligation for the child, and parents share that support amount according to their income. Sometimes a court will consider earning potential in calculating a parent’s income if that parent is not working or is working for an income that is below his/her earning potential. A noncustodial parent will pay his/her share to the custodial parent. Calculations are different for different types of child custody arrangements. Utah’s child support guidelines are calculated based on three factors:
- Base child support
- Medical care
- Child care expenses
Modification of child support orders
Utah courts will consider a request to change a child support order based on certain circumstances within specific time frames. Courts will modify an order to reflect changes in income, financial situations, custody arrangements, change in legal responsibilities for support of other children, the child’s needs, etc.
Child support issues can be difficult and time consuming, but they can be made easier by calling our Salt Lake City child support attorney, Christopher Ault. He can help establish child support through a divorce or paternity proceeding. He can also help to modify an existing order to lower or raise financial obligations and everything else related to child support and family law.