How is Child Support Calculated in Utah?

Divorce can be such a traumatic time for a family, especially when children are involved.  In an effort to help lessen this impact, both parents will want to consider what is best for their children and consider ways to help minimize change to the schedule, lifestyle, and habits.  One consideration is child support.  How is this calculated?  Does Utah have a set structure?

Utah’s Code §78B-12-105(1):  Parents have a legal duty to support their minor children. Unless a minor is emancipated.  Child support continues until the child is 18 or has completed high school, whichever is later. Child support is for the use and benefit of the child. In some cases, the court may order child support to continue after age 18 for a disabled child who remains a dependent.
So, how is child support calculated? Child support is calculated using the gross monthly income of both parents and the number of overnights the child spends in each household.  Both parents will need to provide proof of their income in order to accurately establish child support.  This will come in the form of pay stubs and providing copies of income tax returns.
Utah law does establish Child Support Guidelines to calculate a parent’s child support obligation. The guidelines have three components:
  • Base child support
  • Medical care
  • Child care expenses
Utah also has a table that determines the total support obligation for the children, which is shared by the parents according to their incomes. The non-custodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent. Child support is calculated by a formula established by Utah Code §78b-12-301.
The number of nights a child spends with each parent comes into play in determining child support obligations.  According to www.utcourts.gov:
The number of overnights a child spends in each parent’s home will also affect child support. There are three basic possibilities:
  • The child spends at least 111 nights a year in the home of each parent. This is called joint physical custody.
  • The child spends over 225 nights a year in the home of one parent. This is called sole physical custody.
  • There are multiple children and some live with one parent and some live with the other parent. This is called split custody.
There are many other factors and considerations regarding child support payments such as which parent is responsible for the child’s health insurance; which parent is able to claim the child as a dependent on this income tax return; and how child support payments are to be made.
Contact our office today is have an in-depth conversation with one of our legal professionals to help explain your rights and protect them when it comes to child support payments.

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