Interviewer: What happens if one party refuses to pay child support? What are some of the remedies there?
Michael Anderson: There are a couple of different remedies. One is, you can do the same thing that we do on alimony or spousal support which is we go to court on an order to show cause, and we can get a judgment to get garnish wages, cease property and sell it, things like that. There’s also the office of recovery services in the state of Utah, also known as ORS. ORS will, at a very minimal charge – like $4 or $5 per paycheck – garnish the other party’s paycheck and they will go after that child support for you.
The ORS Works With Other State Agencies and Can Locate the Non Paying Spouse If He / She Moves to Another State
Interviewer: So the remedies are pretty strong and fast?
Michael Anderson: Yeah and ORS works with all the other state agencies, so if a spouse moves to another state they can usually track them down. The important thing they have on your spouse are like their date of birth, their social security number, and their employer if you’ve got it. So ORS or an attorney can recover those funds for you.
Litigation for Custody of a Child is a Complex Process in Utah
Interviewer: Is there a typical that the courts will order if there’s a custody dispute? Or what are some of the factors that inter-play custody?
Michael Anderson: Custody can become very complex. If the court is actually going to determine custody and the court will automatically give one or the other what’s called a sole physical custody, meaning they’re in charge most of the time and the other party gets a standard visitation rights – which is every other weekend and one night a week for a period of four hours, and then a couple of weeks during the summer and the alternate holidays. That statute is Utah code 30-3-35, that’s where the standard visitation schedule is. But if you want to do some type of joint custody, or you want to really do well in your case rather than just have mom and dad testify and some family members. We recommend strongly that you get what’s called a custody evaluator.
A Custody Evaluator is a Licensed Social Worker or a Child Psychologist, that Basically Compiles a Report
A custody evaluator is a licensed social worker or a child psychologist, that basically do a report. They will investigate, meaning they will meet with mom, they will meet with dad, they will meet with the children if the children are 4, or 5, 6 years old or older, and they will make a report of the findings, and they are in a sense an expert witness. And they will recommend to the court based on their social work, their child psychology degree, and their experience, what they think an adequate and appropriate custody arrangement should be. And most of the time, the courts will follow those. I mean it’s very rare that the court won’t follow a custody evaluator’s recommendation. But without that – if the parties don’t do it – the court literally will just say it’s an ‘either/or’. Either mom will get the kids or dad will, and then the other side gets visitation.
A Parent Cannot Explicitly Prohibit Another Parent From Having Contact With A Child
Interviewer: What if you have one party that say, ‘I never want them to see the kids ever’ is that just a fantasy?
Michael Anderson: That’s extremely difficult to do because, for example, even if dad’s a bad guy and you don’t like him, he’s still dad. And so the court’s willing unless he’s on drugs or an alcoholic, or committed some crime, or something of that nature, or he’s going to endanger the children; the court’s going to let him have minimum standard visitation. Now if it’s been several years since, for example, dad has been involved in the life of the child, the court will usually order what’s called a re-unification which means slowly joining the kids up with dad again. Now if there is some fear of harm; if there’s past drug abuse or problems like that, courts will require them to go through supervised parenting time and also pass several drug tests and receive counseling, and prove that they’ve followed any counselor’s recommendations prior to seeing their kids again.
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