UtahChild Support Laws
Utah Child Support Guide :: Table of Contents
Child support is an ongoing payment by a non-custodial parent to assist with the financial support of their children. Child support payments are often determined during the process of dissolution of a marriage through divorce, though the only requirements for requesting child support payments are establishment of paternity and maternity.
Child support is handled on a state level, and Utah has a set of specific child support guidelines. On this page you can learn about how child support is calculated in Utah, how custody split and extraordinary costs affect child support payments, and more.
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Utah uses the "income share" method for calculating child support payments, which is designed to ensure that both the custodial and non-custodial parents contribute to their child's upkeep.
Utah's child support formula directly accounts for parents who share custody of a child, and support payment amounts are connected to the custody split. Other special situations accounted for under Utah's child support law include childcare costs, extraordinary medical costs and college costs. These costs may be additions to the basic Utah child support order.
The court shall include the following in every decree of divorce:
- an order assigning responsibility for the payment of reasonable and necessary medical and dental expenses of the dependent children including responsibility for health insurance out-of-pocket expenses such as co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles
- if coverage is or becomes available at a reasonable cost, an order requiring the purchase and maintenance of appropriate health, hospital, and dental care insurance for the dependent children
- a designation of which health, hospital, or dental insurance plan is primary and which health, hospital, or dental insurance plan is secondary in accordance with the provisions of Section 30-3-5.4 which will take effect if at any time a dependent child is covered by both parents' health, hospital, or dental insurance plans
- pursuant to Section 15-4-6.5:
- an order specifying which party is responsible for the payment of joint debts, obligations, or liabilities of the parties contracted or incurred during marriage
- an order requiring the parties to notify respective creditors or obligees, regarding the court's division of debts, obligations, or liabilities and regarding the parties' separate, current addresses
- provisions for the enforcement of these orders
- provisions for income withholding in accordance with Title 62A, Chapter 11, Recovery Services
- if either party owns a life insurance policy or an annuity contract, an acknowledgment by the court that the owner:
- has reviewed and updated, where appropriate, the list of beneficiaries
- has affirmed that those listed as beneficiaries are in fact the intended beneficiaries after the divorce becomes final
- understands that if no changes are made to the policy or contract, the beneficiaries currently listed will receive any funds paid by the insurance company under the terms of the policy or contract.
- The court shall consider at least the following factors in determining alimony:
- the financial condition and needs of the recipient spouse
- the recipient's earning capacity or ability to produce income, including the impact of diminished workplace experience resulting from primarily caring for a child of the payor spouse
- the ability of the payor spouse to provide support
- the length of the marriage
- whether the recipient spouse has custody of minor children requiring support
- whether the recipient spouse worked in a business owned or operated by the payor spouse
- whether the recipient spouse directly contributed to any increase in the payor spouse's skill by paying for education received by the payor spouse or enabling the payor spouse to attend school during the marriage.
In determining alimony when a marriage of short duration dissolves, and no children have been conceived or born during the marriage, the court may consider restoring each party to the condition which existed at the time of the marriage.
Child support can be arranged out of court by a mutual support agreement between the parents, or can be decided in Utah family court through a child support order. In Utah, a number of factors are taken into account when determining the amount of child support to be paid in court. Here is an explanation of the two most common methods used to calculate basic child support amounts.
Income Share Method
Under the income share model, the court uses economic tables to estimate the total monthly cost of raising the children. The non-custodial parent pays a percentage of the calculated cost that is based on their proportional share of both parents' combined income.
Example: The non-custodial parent of one child has an income of $2,000 per month, and the custodial parent has an income of $1,000 per month. The court estimates that the cost of raising one child is $1,000 a month. The non-custodial parent's income is 66.6% of the parent's total combined income. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $666 per month in child support, or 66.6% of the total child support obligation.
Percentage Of Income Method
This method of calculating child support is simple - a set percentage of the non-custodial parent's income is paid monthly to the custodial parent to cover basic child support expenses. The percentage paid may stay the same, or vary if the non-custodial parent's income changes.
Example: The non-custodial parent of one child has an income of $2,000 per month. The court orders a flat percentage of 25% of the non-custodial parent's income to be paid in child support to the custodial parent. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $500 per month in child support. If the non-custodial parent's monthly income changes, the dollar amount they pay in child support will change as well.
Utah Child Support FAQ
- How does having shared custody of the child affect child support in Utah?
- How are extraordinary medical costs treated by child support in Utah?
- How are child care costs treated by child support in Utah?
- Does child support cover college education expenses in Utah?
- How is child support enforced in Utah?
- What are child support arrears?
- How are child support payments taxed in Utah?
How does having shared custody of the child affect child support in Utah?
All states have a method of modifying the amount of child support owed in cases where the custody agreement provides for joint or shared custody of a child between both parents.
Utah law accounts for shared custody of a child directly in the child support formula used to calculate payment amounts. This means that, in cases where custody is shared, the amount of child support paid by the paying parent will be reduced according to the amount of time they have custody of the child.
How are extraordinary medical costs treated by child support in Utah?
Utah has specialized guidelines for the sharing of a child's extraordinary medical care costs that are separate from, and in addition to, basic child support payments. Extraordinary medical costs are generally costs generated by things such as illness, hospital visits, or costly procedures such as getting braces.
Utah treats extraordinary medical care costs as a "mandatory deduction" for basic child support. This means that if the non-custodial parent pays child care costs, the portion of the total monthly child care costs attributed to the custodial partner are deducted from the noncustodial partner's monthly child support payment. If the custodial parent pays for child care, the non-custodial parent must pay their share in addition to basic child support.
How are child care costs treated by child support in Utah?
Due to the high costs of child care for a single payment, Utah has specialized guidelines that consider child care costs separately from the general costs of raising a child for the purposes of calculating child support payments.
Utah treats child care costs as a "mandatory deduction" for basic child support. This means that if the non-custodial parent pays child care costs, the portion of the total monthly child care costs attributed to the custodial partner are deducted from the noncustodial partner's monthly child support payment. If the custodial parent pays for child care, the non-custodial parent must pay their share in addition to basic child support.
Does child support cover college education expenses in Utah?
Utah state law does allow courts to order the non-custodial parent to contribute to their child's college education upon graduating high school. Whether post-secondary education support is ordered, and the amount that may be ordered, varies depending on the situation.
How is child support enforced in Utah?
In the state of Utah, child support is enforced by the state child support agency. The state agency handles the location of non-custodial parents, enforcement of support orders, and the handling of unpaid child support arrears.
What are child support arrears?
Child support arrears are the amount of child support that is delinquent, or unpaid, by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. Child support arrears may be collected by the state through wage garnishment, bank levy. withholding of Utah welfare benefits, or other collection methods.
How are child support payments taxed in Utah?
Under IRS guidelines, the recepient of child support does not need to pay federal tax on child support payments, and the payer of child support cannot deduct their child support payments. This differs from the federal taxation of alimony payments, which are treated as taxable income by the receiver and are deductible by the payor. Utah tax law may vary on tax treatment of child support.