Can I Reduce or Cancel Child Support in Utah?
The Office of Recovery Services (ORS) is an agency located within the Utah Department of Human Services. Within ORS, Child Support Services (CSS) is responsible for collecting child and medical support. They offer a wide range of services designed to help both children and parents dealing with family law-related issues. This includes vital aspects such as locating absent parents, establishing paternity, establishing and modifying child support orders and enforcing child support and medical insurance obligations. It is this office therefore that your child support attorney must work with on your behalf.
Can child support be reduced?
Children require financial support in order to get through life. They simply do not have the resources to pay for their own education, food, clothing, shelter and extracurricular activities. For these obvious reasons, both parents are typically financially responsible for their children. This is the case whether they are seeking a divorce, or were never officially married. Typically the non-custodial parent will need to supply their ex-spouse with monthly child support payments. But what happens if you are the paying parent and need to lower the monthly payment? What happens if lose your job or the child turns 18? These are all common issues that can arise over the course of the child/children’s life.
Utah Code § 78B-12-219 (Adjustment when Child Becomes Emancipated) provides that base child support will be automatically adjusted as soon as the child:
- Turns 18 years old.
- Graduates from high school (“during the child’s normal and expected year of graduation”).
- Gets married.
- Passes away.
- Is legally emancipated.
- Joins any branch of the Armed Forces.
It is important to realize however that just because the child turns 18, that does not mean that the payments will “automatically” stop. The payer needs to have a Utah family law attorney file The Affidavit for Termination of Child Support with the appropriate court. There are only a few reasons why child support can be stopped. Valid reasons include the adult paying the support payments is also willing to relinquish their parental rights. As could be the case should something of like a step-parent adoption case be pursued. The payer can also persuade the court that there are special circumstances that could warrant the cancellation of child support payments. It is important to note that child support payments cannot be avoided because the adult paying them has fallen behind. Furthermore, payment judgments can be enforced as long as they are no older than 4 years after the child has reached the age of majority.
Modifying a child support order
Requests to review child support are handled by the Utah Department of Human Services, Office of Recovery Services/Child Support Services (ORS/CSS). As the Department cautions, support orders will not be modified by ORS/CSS if any of the following statements are true:
- The youngest child is less than one year away from turning 18.
- One of the parents cannot be located.
- One of the parents is incarcerated in jail or prison.
It is possible for divorced parents to adjust the monthly payment amounts rather than a full cancellation. Even if this reduction can be mutually agreed upon some paperwork will need to be filed. In order to help get favorable results, it is highly recommended that you work with a child support lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT. If you live in Utah consider contacting Burton Family Attorneys at (801) 393-1106 to speak with a legal professional or schedule a consultation.
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