Ogden Attorneys Helping Establish Child Support
Divorce can be difficult enough but when there are minor children involved, it can be even more stressful. Children may have to move from the family home in order to live with one parent while the other is given visitation. Even if the visitation is liberal, it can be a drastic change in the lives of both parents and children. In addition to visitation issues, Utah requires that parents have a duty to support their minor children until they are 18 years old or have completed high school. If you are and your spouse are divorcing, it is important to understand the laws related to support for your minor children.
How is Support Calculated
In Utah, support is calculated using the gross monthly income of both parents as well as how many overnights the child spends in the household of each parent. As part of the computation, parents are required to provide current income using year-to-date paystubs or employer statements as well as tax returns from the most recent year. If this information is not available, you may be able to provide an Affidavit of Income for use by the court.
What if I am Not Working?
If you are not working, the court may assume that you can earn a certain amount of money each month. This income is based on a 40-hour work week and the amount used will depend on different factors. The court will review past work history and the opportunities you have for employment. If you have no recent income or there is no way to determine an occupation for you, the court may use federal minimum wage in order to compute an income for you for the purposes of support. The court may not impute income for you if the following conditions exist:
- If childcare for the minor children equals or is close to the amount you may earn.
- You are physically or mentally unable to work.
- You are in career or occupational training in order to gain basic job skills; or
- Your children need unusual emotional or physical care that require you to remain in the home.
How Does Custody Factor into Support?
In Utah, the number of overnights a child spends in the home of you and your spouse also factor into child support. You may have joint physical custody where the children spend at least 111 nights each year with both parents and you may have sole physical custody where the children spend more than 225 nights per year with one parent. If there are multiple children and some live most of the time with one parent and the others live most of the time with another, this would be considered split custody. When determining support, the number of overnights the children spend with you will have an impact on child support. For example, if you and your spouse earn equal income and have joint physical custody where the children spend equal overnights with both of you, there may be no support award. However, if the children spend most overnights with you, your spouse may be ordered to pay support. The more overnights the children spend with one parent, the higher the support award may be, depending on income.
How the Court Determines Support
In Utah, support guidelines have three components. These components include base child support, medical care and childcare expenses. When it comes to medical and childcare expenses, the cost of the portion attributed to the minor children is shared equally by both parents. You can also work with your spouse to decide who will claim the children for tax purposes. If you cannot come to an agreement, the court will award the exemption based on the contribution of each child compared to the cost of raising the children.
The State of Utah uses a formula to determine support during divorce proceedings, but it is possible that deviations may be made for good reason. If you are in the process of a divorce and have minor children, you need to discuss support options with a family law attorney who can advise you of your rights. This is true whether you are seeking support or may be required to pay support. We can help guide you through the process of custody and support, helping you get the time you need with your children and making sure support is handled fairly and consistently. Contact our office today to set up a no obligation appointment to discuss your rights under support laws in Utah.
Contact Us for Assistance with Child Support in Ogden
At the Kaufman, Nichols & Kaufman, we understand that child support can be a delicate issue for divorcing parents, and we work diligently to make sure that you and your children are awarded the amount of support that the law requires. Please contact our offices in downtown Ogden, Utah if you have questions regarding support for your children.