If you have a child and you don’t live with your child, chances are you will pay child support. If you get divorced and have kids or have a paternity case, in Utah you’ll surely pay child support.
If you do pay child support, how should you pay child support? What I mean is, in what form should you pay child support? There are a couple options, a one non-option. First, the non-option.
Non-option: Do not, do not, and do not pay child support in cash! If you even think of paying child support with cash, slap yourself. You can’t trust the other parent to tell the truth about you paying child support. I can’t tell you how many time.
s my client has paid child support in cash for years, and the other parent says he/she has never received a dime. Since it’s your burden to prove you paid child support, and since paying in cash makes proving payment almost impossible, you will end up paying child support twice. So, again, don’t pay in cash.
Option 1: Pay child support through Utah Office of Recovery Services (ORS). ORS is a clearing house for child support payments. You pay child support to ORS, then ORS logs the payment and sends the payment to your ex. The beauty of this system is ORS’s accounting. ORS keeps meticulous detail of each payment, and its accounting is accepted by Utah courts as accurate.
We recommend that every client goes through ORS because it simplifies everything and removes the risk of not being able to prove payment.
Option 2: Pay with check or money order. Some people, for whatever reason, simply don’t want to work with ORS. If you are one of these people, you can still pay your child support and keep yourself safe: pay with a check or money order. If you choose this route, keep copies of every check you write or every money order you send. Keep a copy of every envelope in which you send the check or money order. Also, keep a copy of every bank statement, highlighting where your child support check was cashed. I know this sound like overkill, but you’ll be thankful when your ex says you have paid child support for five years.
After reading Option 2, you should understand why we recommend everyone pay through ORS. In any case, Rule #1 for paying Utah child support is: keep record of every payment. Oh, and don’t pay cash.
What Is The Function Of The Office Of Recovery Services Child Support Program?
The Office of Recovery Services (ORS), is an agency located within the Utah Department of Human Services. Within ORS, Child Support Services (CSS), is responsible for collecting child and medical support. Services include locating parents, establishing paternity, establishing and modifying child support orders, and enforcing child support orders and medical insurance obligations. ORS/CSS can also collect spousal support (alimony) if a dollar amount is ordered with child support in the divorce decree.
What Authority Does Ors/Css Have To Collect Child Support?
ORS/CSS is a federally funded state agency, which means that many of the actions taken by ORS/CSS are regulated and/or mandated by federal and state law. It is every parent`s legal responsibility to support his/her child, whether or not the child`s parents live together.
When child support is not being paid, ORS/CSS often becomes involved. A case is opened at ORS/CSS whenever a custodial parent or relative begins receiving public assistance, or when a custodial parent or relative requests ORS/CSS to collect child support. Noncustodial parents may also apply for services. ORS/CSS does not legally represent either parent. Rather, ORS/CSS` role is to collect on behalf of the children.
Can I Also Use A Private Agency To Collect My Child Support?
ORS/CSS will not automatically close your case when you contract with a private agent but you will be required to provide ORS/CSS with the name and address of the private agent. It is also essential that you and the agent keep ORS/CSS informed of action taken on your behalf.
ORS/CSS is also unable to forward payments it collects to a private agent or attorney, even if you ask for a change in payee.
Does Child Support Have To Come Out Of My Paycheck?
Yes, unless your support order was issued or modified before October 13, 1990 and you always paid your support on time. Income withholding is an easy way to meet your child support obligation because your employer withholds the appropriate amount from your paycheck and sends it directly to ORS/CSS. You do not have to worry about going to the bank, writing a check, finding a stamp, etc. The majority of Utah employers withhold child support from many employees` paychecks each pay period. Paying through income withholding is no longer indicative of a delinquency. It is simply viewed as a no fuss way to meet your monthly obligation.
OFFICE OF RECOVERY SERVICES AND COLLECTION OF CHILD SUPPORT
The Office of Recovery Services (ORS) will assist a recipient spouse to collect child support from the obligor. In fact, any time a court enters an order for child support, the order must include a provision for income withholding (or, in other words, wage garnishment) that allows for the collection of child support from the obligor by ORS. Income withholding by ORS of the payor’s wages will typically apply, even if the payor is not behind on his or her support obligation, unless good reason exists for the court not to apply income withholding.
ORS also has the authority to issue administrative orders regarding child support. ORS has authority to pursue court action with respect to withholding, revoking, or suspending driver’s licenses, and professional and recreational licenses of parties who owe past due support. There are certain procedural safeguards and specific requirement for when ORS may seek suspension of an individual’s driver’s license for prolonged failure to pay child support. Payment in full of any delinquency or good faith payment arrangements based on employment and financial ability will tend to avoid this drastic remedy. Terms of reinstatement of a suspended license are also provided by law.
ORS will not typically garnish wages for spousal support (alimony) alone. However, it will garnish wages to collect alimony if there is also a concurrent child support order. If the paying spouse maintains health insurance for the benefit of the minor children, he or she is typically entitled to a credit against his or her support obligation for one half of the out-of-pocket cost of the children’s portion of the premium. The parent must provide ORS with the insurance information in order to receive the credit.
If a parent is court ordered to maintain health insurance through his or her employer and fails to do so, ORS may notify the employer to enroll the children in. The ORS may impose an annual fee of $25 to be collected from the recipient spouse’s child support if the custodial parent has never received TANF (temporary aid to needy families) benefits. The maximum amount that may be garnished from an individual’s paycheck from an administrative or judicial judgment for failure to support dependent children is 50% of his or her disposable earnings for the work pay period.
Recipients of public cash financial assistance are required to assign their right to child support to the State of Utah, which may keep the child support collected until the financial assistance benefits paid to the recipient have been recovered. Anyone receiving public cash financial assistance is required to deal in good faith with ORS. Each installment of child support becomes a judgment on the day after it becomes due and ORS may file judgment liens against real estate of the debtor and levy personal property of the debtor that is in possession of third parties.
Utah Code Section 62A-11-327 sets forth the circumstances in which ORS may report past due support to consumer reporting agencies.
ORS will assist a parent in adjusting a child support order that is at least three years old if there is a change of 10% or more between the amount currently ordered and the amount that would be required by the child support guidelines, and the difference is not of a temporary nature. No showing of substantial change of circumstances is necessary if these requirements are met. The change must be in the children’s best interests.
An obligor may also request income withholding. See Utah Code Section 62A-11-414. I have seen parents with a child support obligation prefer to have income withholding for reasons such as accounting and convenience (i.e., not having to worry about cutting a check to the other parent each month and keeping a detailed paper trail or accounting).
An obligor may make arrangements with ORS for electronic funds transfer from his or her account to the obligee, in lieu of income withholding.
ORS will collect child support arrears but only until four years after the youngest child reaches the age of 18, or for eight years after child support arrears have been reduced to a sum certain judgment by a Utah court, whichever is longer. A sum certain judgment may be renewed to extend its duration. The ORS will only collect ongoing cash medical support or child care expenses if there is a specific dollar amount in a court order and neither parent disputes the amount of child care expenses. ORS will attempt to enforce judgments for past due amounts if the parent obtains a judgment from district court.
ORS currently charges a $5.00 processing fee to the application each time a payment is processed and sent by mail. The processing fee, however, will not exceed $10 per month.
It is important to keep in mind that ORS does not represent either parent. They are assisted by attorneys from the state attorney general’s office, who represent the state. Parents seeking specific legal advice should contact a private attorney. In sum, ORS provides comprehensive child support services and has fairly broad powers to issue and enforce child support orders. It should be apparent from this synopsis that the state takes seriously parents’ primary obligations to support their dependent children. My experience has been that almost all parents, even in vigorously contested divorce or custody cases, recognize the need to provide adequately for their children to the best of their abilities.
What if my ex-spouse is receiving public assistance? Why do I have to pay support too?
When children are receiving state assistance, ORS/CSS automatically provides child support services to the family because the amount of grant money the custodial parent receives each month accrues as a debt to the state which you (the non-custodial parent) must repay. In other words, when your children are receiving monthly support in the form of public assistance, the child support you owe for that month must go to the state to offset the debt.
You will be required to repay this money until the debt is satisfied, even if the custodial parent goes off public assistance, and even if you and the custodial parent reconcile. If the child support owed during the times of public assistance exceeds the total grant amount paid to the family, the excess amount will be sent to the custodial parent.
Tips for Keeping Child Support Records
If you’re ordered to pay child support, it’s a very good idea to keep accurate records of every payment that you make. There have been stories of people claiming they were never paid when they actually were, all because money got tight and they needed extra cash. With no evidence on hand, you could end up paying twice, or being accused of being behind on your payments, so records are crucial. These tips can help.
1. Pay with checks, not with cash. It’s often tempting to pay in cash because it’s quick and easy, and your ex may even request it so that the money can be spent right away, but there’s no paper trail. You’re better off to pay with a check.
2. Pay online. There are many different apps you can use to pay with, or you could just use a system like PayPal, that allows you to send money in Utah for free. The system automatically creates a report for each payment and you can put in a note saying what it’s for. The system also records that the payment was accepted.
3. Save email messages. When payments are sent online, you’re likely going to get an email notification about it before the money is transferred out of your bank. Create a special folder and save those emails as extra proof of payment. Planning in advance and using an electronic system may be slightly more work to get set up than paying in cash, but it’s usually faster and easier once everything is in place. If you’re ever accused of not paying and you know you did, be sure you know your rights in Utah.
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