Utah courts recognize a parent’s legal obligation to provide for his or her child. In order to ensure parents fulfill their obligations to their children, the Utah legislature has enacted a series of statutes designed to clarify parents’ legal duties regarding child support. Child support orders typically include a base child support amount as well as provisions that assign responsibility for medical treatment and child care. Child support obligations usually remain in effect until a child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later.
Child Support Calculation
Calculation of child support obligations can, in some instances, be one of the simplest parts of a divorce or other family law action. Child support calculations are based on a group of statutes that use factors such as parents’ income, nights the child spends with each parent, number of children, and other custody factors. These figures are inputted into a child support calculator to assign a child support obligation to one of the parties.
Future Changes for Child Support
However, child support calculation is not always straightforward. For example, one or both of the parties may be in a temporary period of unemployment or underemployment or have had recent changes to their income. Changes in income are very common for individuals involved in family law disputes. In these situations the party requesting child support must work to demonstrate the other parent’s historical earning capacity in order to maximize the child support payment. Because child support is determined by looking at specific numbers, parents’ respective child support obligations can fluctuate as their circumstances change. Whether a parent can modify a child support award depends heavily on the relevant statute and wording of the court order.
Many parents are in the frustrating situation of not receiving child support payments from the other parent. Eric M. Swinyard routinely assists clients with enforcing court orders by filing a motion for an order to show cause. This procedure holds the other party accountable for lack of payment of child support or any other court-ordered obligation. In addition, the Utah Office of Recovery Services (“ORS”) regularly intervenes in ongoing lawsuits or initiates administrative actions to enforce orders containing child support provisions.
Calculating and enforcing child support obligations is a very common issue in family law disputes and usually requires assistance of a knowledgeable attorney.
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