Child support is required from the time of separation. If you are separated, and even if a petition has not been filed, you are required to pay child support under the law. Both parents and both parties are responsible for child support. The way it works in Utah is wherever the child resides more, and when we say resides, what we mean is where the child sleeps overnight, that is the party going to receive the child support. Therefore, if the mother has the child or children sixteen days out of the month, then Mom is going to receive the child support amount. If Dad is the one who has the kids more, then he is the one who receives that amount. The amount is calculated based on your gross income.
In Utah, they use a calculator formula. You have to plug in the names of the parties, how many children there are, a few other factors, like gross income. It will spit out a number, and that is the number that we use. If one of the parties is not working, there is going to be at least a minimum wage income imputed to that party. If that party can make more, perhaps they have a professional degree, make a certain amount, or have in the past, then that higher amount can be imputed for child support purposes.
When Is The Best Time For A Parent To File For Child Support?
You should always apply for child support if you know you are going to go through a divorce. The sooner the better. The reason for that is child support will accrue in arrears if they do not do that. The sooner they can get a child support order in place, and start to collect, the better off they will be. If you wait too long, sometimes the court will not let you receive that child support. The longer you wait, the harder it might be.
How Is The Child Support Amount Actually Determined? Can It Be Adjusted?
Yes, it can be adjusted at any time. Primarily, the way it works is that you are going to have to pay based on how much money your gross earnings are calculated. I am going to go through each one of those factors that the child support calculator, or the child support calculations look at in order to give you an idea of what we look for. The first thing that we are going to look at is whether it is a full custody, or a joint custody situation. Join custody, meaning in a year there are 365 days. If one party has a child more than 111 overnights out of those 365, then it is considered a joint custody situation. If one party has the majority of overnights meaning 110 or less for the other spouse. There are two different calculators used, either joint or sole custody calculators. It is based on gross income, and how many children involved in the equation.
It also looks at prior obligations. Are there any other prior support obligations to either the mother, or the father of the child, or children? Once that determines the gross income, the amount of children and any prior obligations, then the calculator will render an amount that needs to be paid. That is really the factors that child support will determine. The parties can look at that calculator, and they can say that they have a joint custody situation and it can be $4 a month. “I am going to waive the child support, so there is not going to be child support for either of us”. The parties can agree on that, or they can look at it and say it is $600. “We both have good jobs, and I do not need $600 a month. We can agree on $500”.
It is fine to do that as long as both parties agree. If the parties do not agree, the courts will always use the calculator system. The only way to adjust it or to do something different is for the parties to agree.
How Can An Attorney Help a Client Retain Their Rational Emotions In A Family Law Case?
Many times, it is letting the clients vent, and help them get out what needs getting out. Their frustrations, their emotions, and then remind them that this is what the court will do. We have seen literally hundreds and hundreds of cases, and we know how judges rule. Some of the court commissioners or judges will do different things. Sometimes it is how the client will come across. Does the judge like them or not? Do they think they are telling the truth or not? So sometimes, it is just a matter of understanding what a court will do, and accepting that.
The reason is that the way that the law was set up. Until we change the law, and you can do that by contacting your Senate representative, or Congress in any of the Government offices, and have them change the law. Until the law is changed, we have to abide by, and follow it. Doing something different, or contrary to what we are going to get is only going to hurt you as the client in the end. We always want to do the best thing for the client, and that is keeping things within the law, and staying grounded and focused on the issues before us.
Additional Information About Child Support In Utah
As part of child support, we do need to provide copies of paycheck stubs, and the minimum the court wants is two. Usually in a divorce case, we need the last six months of paycheck stubs, because we want to average out the income. If you are making overtime that will be taken into consideration. We really base it on gross income regardless of whether you are working two jobs or one. So if you are working, just remember that all of that money will be used to calculate child support. If you want to continue doing what you have been doing, because any drastic changes such as quitting your job, and taking up a job that makes less money can hurt you. The court can say that you are capable of making more, so we are going to impute a higher gross income per month, which will increase your child support.
I should mention a way to reduce child support. When people are complaining that they have to pay too much, the way to remedy that is for that party to have more overnights with the children. This can be re-calculated on a joint custody calculator, rather than a sole custody calculator, because the more overnights you have with your child, the better off you are going to be.
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