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Child Support Modifications for Job Loss

Families in Utah often have an arrangement where one parent is required to pay child support to the other parent. This is typically the case when one parent has significantly higher income than the other or if one parent is the primary caregiver. I’ve seen this many times as a family law attorney. However, there are times when the parent making payments struggles to do so, perhaps due to an illness or job loss. One state is working to break the cycle by assisting certain parents with finding a job, in order to help them provide for their children rather than send them to prison for unpaid child support.

Child Support Modifications for Job Loss

The program was started recently by a judge who serves in domestic court cases. It seeks to offer education and career training for those who might otherwise be arrested for their debt. For now, it will be temporary and only an option for certain parents until data is available on the program’s effectiveness. The judge who implemented it said she realized that some parents who struggle to make their payments do so due to circumstances that are often beyond their control. She felt that jailing the parents overloaded the court system, left kids with inadequate care and failed to solve the problem overall.
Specific companies that have partnered with the program will offer jobs and education to the parents in need. One woman recounted her own story, saying she had applied for numerous positions at various companies but failed to get an interview. She is hopeful that this program will help her provide for her daughter who currently lives with her ex-husband.

This program is not available in all areas, but it serves as a reminder that, if a Utah parent is having difficulty making child support payments, he or she may be able to request a modification to his or her support agreement. The family court will review the specific case and make a recommendation based on the personal circumstances of everyone involved. Doing so could allow a parent to better care for the child they love so much.


Divorce is a long and strenuous process and signing that finalized divorce paper can feel like a giant weight has been lifted. For some, however, that signature does not mark the end of the uphill battle. Some couples have much more complicated situations that include spousal support, child custody, and child support. After a divorce is finalized these can be modified over and over again. If you are stuck in a modification struggle you will need the help of a Salt Lake City divorce modification attorney to help you obtain your desired outcome.


You can modify child custody and visitation schedules until the child’s eighteenth birthday and if both parents can agree to it then this is a fairly simple process. The court will typically grant the modification in circumstances where both parents agree unless the modification put the child’s safety at risk. The best case scenario would be the parents agree on a modification and the court follows suit. On the other hand, things can get messy if one parent does not agree to the modification. This requires the parent requesting the modification to present evidence that a material change has occurred such as a parent moving away for a job. The next step would be for the court to determine if the modification would benefit the child and how much of the visitation or custody agreement needs to adjust.


Child support modifications require specific circumstances and can be complex cases to change. Child support is intended to ensure the child has all of their material needs met like food, clothing and school supplies. Reducing child support impacts the child greatly since the money they depend on each month for their needs is being called into question. Therefore, the court has guidelines for child support modifications. Some of these include a three-year gap since the judgment was entered, financial circumstances are changing permanently and there has been a 10 percent change in how much it will impact the payments. Salt Lake City courts will also be modified if there has been a 15 percent change in income or child expenses.


Spousal support is simpler because it merely needs a material and substantial change in financial circumstances. The only time this rule of thumb does not apply is if the change was foreseeable like retirement. Spousal support can be a temporary payment for a certain amount of years if outlined in the original arrangement.

Free Consultation with Child Support Lawyer

If you need child support changed because of job loss, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506