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Utah Child Support Guidelines

An Utah Child Support Attorney article about deviations from the Utah child support guidelines amount. Notice I said COURT, not DCFS or ORS.  That is because the DCFS and ORS does not have the ability to issue a child support order for more or less than the statutory child support guidelines amount, unless the parties agree.  In contrast, when the Court makes a child support award, the Court may order a child support amount which is higher or lower than the guidelines amount.  Utah law gives us the situations in which a court may consider raising or lowering child support from the guidelines amount.

Utah Child Support Guidelines

The court may consider any of the following factors in determining whether to grant a deviation pursuant to sections of the Code and Utah law:

(A) Special and unusual needs of the children;

(B) Extraordinary obligations for minor children or obligations for handicapped children who are not stepchildren and who are not offspring from the marriage or relationship that is the basis of the immediate child support determination;

(C) Other court-ordered payments;

(D) Extended parenting time or extraordinary costs associated with parenting time, provided that this division does not authorize and shall not be construed as authorizing any deviation from the schedule and the applicable worksheet, through the line establishing the actual annual obligation, or any escrowing, impoundment, or withholding of child support because of a denial of or interference with a right of parenting time granted by court order;

(E) The obligor obtaining additional employment after a child support order is issued in order to support a second family;

(F) The financial resources and the earning ability of the child;

(G) Disparity in income between parties or households;

(H) Benefits that either parent receives from remarriage or sharing living expenses with another person;

(I) The amount of federal, state, and local taxes actually paid or estimated to be paid by a parent or both of the parents;

(J) Significant in-kind contributions from a parent, including, but not limited to, direct payment for lessons, sports equipment, schooling, or clothing;

(K) The relative financial resources, other assets and resources, and needs of each parent;

(L) The standard of living and circumstances of each parent and the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage continued or had the parents been married;

(M) The physical and emotional condition and needs of the child;

(N) The need and capacity of the child for an education and the educational opportunities that would have been available to the child had the circumstances requiring a court order for support not arisen;

(O) The responsibility of each parent for the support of others;

(P) Any other relevant factor.

Interference with Custody

Interference with custody is a crime in Utah.  The issue comes up when somebody will not return your child to you.  This sometimes occurs with relatives or friends of the family who try to assert their wishes to spend (more) time with a child by simply refusing to return the child to his or her parent.  A parent may allow a person to visit friends or family, but the visit is over when the parent says it is over.

Here is the Utah Code: 76-5-303. Custodial interference.

(1) As used in this section:
(a) “Child” means a person under the age of 18.
(b) “Custody” means court-ordered physical custody entered by a court of competent jurisdiction.
(c) “Visitation” means court-ordered parent-time or visitation entered by a court of competent jurisdiction.
(a) A person who is entitled to custody of a child is guilty of custodial interference if, during a period of time when another person is entitled to visitation of the child, the person takes, entices, conceals, detains, or withholds the child from the person entitled to visitation of the child, with the intent to interfere with the visitation of the child.
(b) A person who is entitled to visitation of a child is guilty of custodial interference if, during a period of time when the person is not entitled to visitation of the child, the person takes, entices, conceals, detains, or withholds the child from a person who is entitled to custody of the child, with the intent to interfere with the custody of the child.
(3) Except as provided in Subsection (4) or (5), custodial interference is a class B misdemeanor.
(4) Except as provided in Subsection (5), the actor described in Subsection (2) is guilty of a class A misdemeanor if the actor:
(a) commits custodial interference; and
(b) has been convicted of custodial interference at least twice in the two-year period immediately preceding the day on which the commission of custodial interference described in Subsection (4)(a) occurs.
(5) Custodial interference is a felony of the third degree if, during the course of the custodial interference, the actor described in Subsection (2) removes, causes the removal, or directs the removal of the child from the state.
(6) In addition to the affirmative defenses described in Section 76-5-305, it is an affirmative defense to the crime of custodial interference that:
(a) the action is consented to by the person whose custody or visitation of the child was interfered with; or
(i) the action is based on a reasonable belief that the action is necessary to protect a child from abuse, including sexual abuse; and
(ii) before engaging in the action, the person reports the person’s intention to engage in the action, and the basis for the belief described in Subsection (6)(b)(i), to the Division of Child and Family Services or law enforcement.
(7) In addition to the other penalties described in this section, a person who is convicted of custodial interference is subject to the driver license suspension provisions of the law.

Things to consider: A child under the age of eighteen, or a mentally or physically handicapped child under the age of twenty-one;Another example of Interference with Custody may arise when a person, rather than directly refusing to return a child, passively refuses to return a child by blaming the child for the failure to return to the parent.

No person shall aid, abet, induce, cause, or encourage a child or a ward of the juvenile court who has been committed to the custody of any person, department, or public or private institution to leave the custody of that person, department, or institution without legal consent.
Often, police are called when there is an interference with custody situation.  If the dispute is between two persons who have court ordered time with the child, the police often insist that “it is a civil matter” and tell you to call your lawyer.  Interference with Custody is a crime in Utah, and there is NOTHING in the statute that says that the law does not apply to parents, grandparents or relatives.  This appears to be simply a matter of preference on the part of the police that the issue be handled in civil court whenever possible.  The police CAN make an arrest if they so desire.

It is sometimes difficult to get the police to prosecute interference with custody, but if they are called to assist and the person doing the interference does not return your child, the police may be willing to do so.

Free Consultation with Child Support Lawyer

If you have a question about child support or if you need to collect back child support, 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