Child Support Modification in Ogden Utah
There can be many reasons why you need to modify your child support order. You could have suffered a job loss or become disabled which prevents you from working earning the income you were before the injury. Whatever your reasons for requesting a child support modification, there are certain things you need to know before going to court.
What Qualifies for Child Support Modifications?
In Utah, you can only change the amount of your child support if the difference in what you are currently ordered to pay and what the new amount you may be ordered to pay differs by 10 percent. Utah does not allow temporary modifications, requiring that that the change is expected to last at least one year. Keep in mind that a child support modification is considered a post judgement change which means there are certain steps you must follow in order to change the support amount.
How to Modify Support
There are two ways to ask the court to change the amount you are paying in support. A Motion to Adjust can be used if there is a clear difference of 10 percent between the current order and the new order, the difference is not temporary, and the proposed amount is consistent with guidelines. If any one of these criteria does not exist, you must file a Petition to Modify Child Support.
Petition to Modify Child Support
A Petition to Modify also has restrictions. If it has been three years or more since the original order, the 10 percent difference criteria must be met although the proposed support does not have to be consistent with guidelines. The change still may not be temporary. If it has been less than three years, there must be at least a 15 percent difference. You must also show that there has been a material change in one or more of the following areas:
- Availability or cost of health coverage
- Change of 30 percent or more in a parent’s income
- Emancipation of a child
- Employment potential or ability to earn
- Legal responsibility of a parent to support others
- Medical needs of the child or children
- Relative wealth or net assets of one or both parents
- Work or education related childcare expenses
The change cannot be temporary. The modification can be requested to either decrease or increase support payments. However, if you were the petitioner in the initial case, you will remain the petitioner in the modification as well. Documents must be filed in the same court that issued the decree and have papers served on your ex-spouse.
What Happens After the Petition is Filed?
Once the petition is filed, the court issues a Domestic Relations Injunction. This orders you and your ex-spouse not to harass each other, change insurance or beneficiary coverage, transfer property or take an unexpected trip with the minor children while the case is pending. As soon as the petition is filed, the petitioner must abide by the injunction while the respondent must begin abiding by it when they are served the documents.
What If I am the Respondent?
If you are served with a Petition to Modify Support, you have 21 days if you were served in Utah or 30 days if served in another state to answer the petition. Both you and your ex-spouse must provide initial disclosures which include a financial declaration. It is possible the court will order both of you to try to come to an agreement through mediation. If you agree with the petition, you can file a stipulation by checking the “and Stipulation” box on the first page and sign it. Keep in mind both you and your ex-spouse must sign the stipulation. If you come to an agreement after mediation or negotiation, you can complete a new Petition to Modify and write “Amended” on the top of the first page.
Process for Motion to Adjust
The process for the Motion to Adjust is easier than filing a petition, but it still has certain post judgement requirements. Judges in Utah may rule on all types of motions, but commissioners are assigned to hear divorce case motions as well as other family law issues. You will want to contact the court where you filed the motion to find out whether it will be decided by a judge or a commissioner. The important difference is that a commissioner will simply make a recommendation to a judge who then makes the modification an order of the court. If you disagree with the commissioner’s ruling, you can file an Objection to a Commissioner’s Recommendation.
Ogden Child Support Modification Attorneys
Support for minor children can be extremely complicated and you want to be sure you have all your facts before filing motions or petitions. Post judgement decisions require you to adhere to strict guidelines and timelines. If you are considering modifications to your support agreement, contact Kaufman, Nichols & Kaufman to learn what rights you have. You can schedule a no obligation consultation to be sure you are able to request support modification.