Solution For Custody And Child Support

Solution For Custody And Child Support

If you’re separated or getting a divorce from your kid’s other parent, you probably have a ton of questions about custody and child support. In an ideal world, these are things you wouldn’t have to think about. But in the real world, parents split up, and rarely is it possible to simply go your separate ways. Lots of issues have to be addressed when you have kids in common, starting with where your child lives and how their expenses are paid. Custody doesn’t just cover where children go to bed at night and wake up in the morning.

There are two aspects of custody — physical custody and legal custody. Kids live with the parent who has physical custody and have “visitation” with the other parent (that is, unless both parents have shared physical custody), while legal custody is the right to make important decisions (about education, health care, religion, international travel, etc.) relating to a child. An order may be made for sole or joint custody and joint custody doesn’t necessarily mean a 50/50 split.

Shared legal custody means both parents have an equal say in major decisions affecting the child. “It’s not uncommon for parents to disagree; therefore it makes sense to have a way to resolve disputes without having to go to court, which can be expensive and not provide a quick solution When making any decision that affects a child, the court’s paramount consideration is the best interests of that child. When it comes to physical custody, this means the court is focused on who will provide a better home environment for the child, taking into account all relevant factors, such as comfort, safety and proximity to school and friends. Regarding legal custody, the court looks for who can be trusted to make the best decisions for the child. This means it’s crucial that parents realize they’re constantly being evaluated by the judge even when dealing with other issues, such as spousal support. “It’s extremely important not to be petty, emotional or overly adversarial” towards the other parent in any context. When determining what’s in the best interests of a child, certain factors shouldn’t be relevant, such as the gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability or financial status of the parent. “Many people think the courts favor mothers over fathers in custody determinations simply on the basis of their gender or because of the outdated ‘tender years doctrine.”

“The truth is that mothers often take on the primary caretaker role because of traditional gender expectations within the nuclear family. However, this is changing, and you will likely begin to see more and more fathers taking on a stronger caretaking role, especially after a divorce.” It can be really hard just to talk to someone who’s treated you badly or broken your heart — let alone cooperate, compromise, and co-parent with them. But you have to take the high road for your kid’s sake, as well as to present yourself in the best possible light to the courts. “Courts will also look to the relationship between the parents to determine who will be a better choice as the primary custodian. “If there is evidence of a parent’s intentional alienation from the other parent, refusal to communicate, interference with the other parent’s timeshare, or even a basic failure to cooperate, the courts can award custody to the other parent even if the alienating parent has been the primary caregiver.” Before you even set foot in a lawyer’s office, think about the type of custodial schedule you think will work best for your family. “Custody is a fact-specific determination, so be prepared to discuss many types of details with your lawyer.” “For example, does one parent work overnights or leave for work too early in the mornings to have weekday overnights? Does one parent travel frequently for work so that there will need to be make-up time provisions?” It sounds obvious, but it’s important to remember that child support is not about two dueling parents, mediator and divorce coach at Divorce Harmony. “Child support shouldn’t make the party giving or receiving it feels like they can use it for revenge or any other negative means; it should be looked at solely through the lens of what is necessary to help with the upkeep of the child. Also, the court will prioritize child support over spousal support. “Courts are more concerned with protecting children than compensating one parent”. “Children are seen as the vulnerable, innocent victims of a divorce; accordingly, the court will decide child support first and make that a priority over spousal support.”

This means non-custodial parents may not have a lot left for spousal support if they have a large child support obligation. You can’t change child support arrangements easily when the court makes an order for child support; it remains in place until the circumstances of either party change materially. So you should avoid the temptation to agree to something that’s less than ideal simply to bring court proceedings to an end. “That may provide the temporary pleasure of ending litigation sooner, but you won’t be able to change the arrangement unless something significant happens, such as one of the parents getting a new job, moving, getting remarried, etc. Child support laws and models vary from state to state, but it’s always based on the expense of raising a child, including basics such as food, clothing and shelter. “Sometimes, child support is a set amount of money that is paid each month, and then other expenses are paid directly on top of that, such as childcare and medical insurance.” The duration of child support also varies. Some states require child support until the child turns age 18; others, such as Utah, go as far as age 21. You don’t have to endure months (or years) of court proceedings to do what’s best for your kids. There are many alternatives for resolving parenting issues outside of court. “These days, more and more parents are choosing to sit down with a mediator to determine a parenting plan that works best for their family and to settle the matters of support. “In making decisions together in a cooperative fashion, parents set up a new paradigm of cooperative compromise and communication, which helps them to co-parent beyond the divorce or separation.” Whatever your circumstances are, one thing is clear: The less conflict during court proceedings (and in your life in general), the better. And that’s not just for your own sake and sanity: “Any opportunity to reduce or avoid conflict should be explored by parents because in the end, it is the level of conflict between their parents that is a predictor of problems for children later in life.” “Any steps that can be taken to avoid that conflict is truly what is in the best interests of the children.”

Divorce can be complicated and emotional, especially when children are involved. Every family is different when it comes to determining where the children should live and how their time is best split between parents. Nevertheless, courts typically require one parent to pay child support so that the parent with primary custody isn’t solely responsible for maintaining the children’s standard of living. Calculating each spouse’s share of the financial responsibility can be challenging, especially since the rules for determining child support are relatively fluid. Each state has its own guidelines that help its courts decide how child support is to be paid in a divorce. Courts can deviate from these guidelines when appropriate, and parents usually have the flexibility to come up with their own arrangements if the court agrees. Like any issue in divorce, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for determining who will bear the brunt of financially supporting the children. Still, if you’re going through a divorce and have minor children, the following considerations may help frame the conversation.

• Child support is always modifiable: Child support calculations are often based on each parent’s income, the number of children, and the percentage of time each parent spends with the children. Courts may also consider spousal support as well as who pays for childcare, health insurance, education, and school expenses. No matter the formula, the focus of the calculation is on the need for support. Importantly, the court’s decision can be altered as circumstances change. For example, one parent may lose their job, become disabled, receive a meaningful inheritance or substantially increase their income. When necessary, divorced parents can return to court to modify their child support arrangement.

• Child support takes precedence over spousal support: In many cases, the spouse collecting spousal support also collects child support. However, it’s important to remember that child support usually takes precedence over spousal support. If, down the road, a court determines that child support payments can be reduced, spousal support will often also be reduced—this is one reason why one parent cannot unilaterally modify the agreed-upon arrangement.

• Child support payments have no positive or negative tax consequences: As a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, child support payments are considered outside the tax system for both the recipient and payer. Under the current tax code, the recipient is not taxed on child support collected, nor can the payer deduct the payments from his or her taxes.

On the other hand, a split-custody arrangement may have tax implications for one or both parents. Specifically, a child can only be claimed as a dependent by one parent, meaning only one parent can take the exemption on their taxes. Typically, the parent who has physical custody of the child for the largest portion of the year takes the exemption. However, the exemption can be traded back and forth between each parent from year-to-year by filing an additional form. Divorced parents can also divide the exemptions if they have multiple children. For either parent to claim the exemption, the child must live with one of the parents for more than half the year. Since dividing and trading exemptions can be thorny, it’s usually best to work with a tax professional for a reasonable solution for both parties. Child support can be a hot-button issue in a divorce. No matter the arrangement, it’s entirely possible for both parents to feel disadvantaged. Still, many issues can be worked through so long as the children’s best interests are the focus. If you’re preparing to go through a divorce or are already in the midst of one, it can be helpful to discuss the situation with your wealth advisor or another trusted financial professional to prepare for the complexities associated with paying or collecting child support.

Modifying Custody, Visitation and Child Support

It is not uncommon for circumstances to change once a divorce decree has been granted. What was once a workable solution to custody, visitation rights and child support, can sometimes no longer serve the parents or children involved. Is there anything that can be done about a divorce decree that is outdated? Can the terms of a divorce decree regarding children be changed?

What Terms Can be Modified?

• Custody (conservatorship)
• Terms of visitation
• Child support
A request to modify custody, visitation or child support must be filed in the court which last entered an order regarding the children. Check with the court that entered the decree to see what procedures or forms may be required for modification. Generally, any person who is affected by the court order can request a modification.

What are the Reasons (Grounds) that a Court will Modify Custody of a Child?
The grounds for a change of custody are complex and should be discussed with an attorney. Some of the factors the court considers are changes in circumstances of the parties of the child, an emergency concerning the child, if the proposed change would be positive improvement for the child, and if a change would be in the best interest of the child. If a Motion to Modify is filed, a child 12 years or older may file an affidavit with the court naming the parent with whom the child wishes to live. However, this choice is not binding on the court because the court must also consider technical grounds and the best interest of the child. If the person having custody of the child is under the last court order voluntarily leaves the child in the possession of another person for a period of more than 6 months and the court finds that this arrangement is in the best interest of the child, the court may modify custody upon the filing of the proper motion with the court.

How can I Modify Visitation with my Child?

The court must consider some of the following and may consider all of the following:

• A material and substantial change of circumstances since the last visitation order

• The last visitation order is unworkable

• The people with custody move outside of state or moved without giving proper notice to the person with visitation rights before the move.

• A person with visitation rights repeatedly failed to exercise visitation with the child.

States and counties vary as to the procedures to be followed for modification. The court that entered the decree for the divorce or child custody should be consulted as to their procedures and forms. While it is possible for individuals to do the paperwork and court appearances for their own modifications, be aware that courts have strict requirements for completion of the forms and time limits for filing the modification requests that may be difficult for an individual to comply with. If the modification is important, consulting an attorney could save future problems.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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Child Support

Child support is mandatory in any divorce involving minor children. Petitioners with minor children must include an order for child support, even if the other parent is unemployed or cannot be found.

Child Support in Divorce

Most state laws have guidelines to determine child support payments. The payment amount is based on each parent’s income and the amount of time he or she spends with the children. The guidelines also provide for add-on amounts for the following expenses:

  • Child care
  • Health care and health insurance
  • Special educational or other needs
  • Travel-related visitation

Parents can increase or decrease the guideline amount if the following conditions are met:

  1. Both parents acknowledge they are fully informed of their rights under state law and the amount of child support is mutually agreed on,
  2. Both parents declare the agreed upon amount is in the children’s best interests and will adequately meet their needs, and
  3. For welfare recipients, the right to support has not been assigned to the county, and neither parent has a public assistance application pending.

Keep in mind that the judges presiding over divorces are the ultimate authority on child support decisions. They can deviate from the guidelines as they see fit.

Child support orders can be modified at any time. Special circumstances or income changes are just two reasons to revisit child support payments. The parties can agree in writing to the changed amount or can file a motion with the court. After the divorce is finalized, you should consult an attorney to change the amount.

Any order for child support payments typically includes an order for the assignment of wages. Child support payments usually begin when the judgment dissolving the marriage will be signed by the court, even though the parties will not legally be divorced until after the waiting period. If the judgment is delayed, you can file an application with the court to rush the payment of child support. You should seek an attorney if this is the case.

If a parent does not pay child support or is significantly late, he or she can be sued for contempt of court, have wages or tax refunds attached, or have his or her driver’s license blocked. These actions should be handled by an experienced attorney.

Tax Implications of a Divorce

Divorce can be challenging, particularly when it comes to tax time. Which spouse owes taxes? What forms and returns need to be filed? When do I need to file? How do I file? What is the best tax planning strategy for my divorce?

Tax Filing Status

A taxpayer will be considered unmarried at the end of a tax year if his/her spouse is legally separated from the taxpayer under divorce decree or separate maintenance contract at the close of the tax year.

A married taxpayer will be considered unmarried and eligible for head of household status if the taxpayer’s spouse was not a member of the household for the last six months of the year and the household is the home of a dependent child.

Liability on Joint Return

You may request relief from liability for tax, plus related penalties and interests for which you believe that your spouse (or former spouse) should be liable.

Innocent Spouse Relief is available if you: (1) filed a joint return and (2) are no longer married to (or are legally separated from) the spouse with whom the joint return was filed.

Dependency Exemptions 

In general, the dependency exemption for children of divorced taxpayers will go to the parent who has custody of the child for the greater part of the calendar year.

Alimony and Spousal Support 

In general, alimony and separate maintenance payments are income to the recipient and are deductible by the payer. Different rules apply to alimony that went into effect prior to 1985.

If you have specific questions about the tax implications of a divorce, you should speak to a licensed tax expert.

Free Consultation with Child Support Lawyer

If you have a question about child support or if you need to collect back child support, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 49 reviews

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Imputed Income for Child Support in Utah

The law is clear that parents have an ongoing obligation to financially support their minor children. Although most parents have no problem with this duty of support, some parents resist what they consider to be excessive child support orders and may intentionally reduce income to lower their support payments.

Imputed Income for Child Support in Utah

The law has specific rules for situations where paying parents reduce their earnings without good cause. In Utah, the courts may add back into the child support calculation the income that the paying parent claims to have lost. This concept is known as “imputing income.”

This article addresses how Utah courts impute income when the paying parent is falsely lowering her or his earnings. If you have questions after reading this article, you should contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.

Establishing a Child Support Order

Utah law states specifically that children are entitled to share in the current incomes of both parents. State law uses a formula to determine how much child support should be paid by one parent to the other parent. For more detailed information about the child support law in Utah.

The Meaning of Imputed Income

If a judge rules that the parent who is responsible for paying child support (the paying parent) has intentionally lowered his or her earnings, the court can attribute additional income toward the paying parent in order to establish a fair child support order – one that will provide sufficient financial support to the child. This is called “imputing income.”

Courts won’t impute income when there is good cause for a reduction in support. However, when judges find that a parent has voluntarily reduced income, then the paying parent will likely be ordered to pay support based on his or her earning capacity.

Voluntary Unemployment

Some parents may think their child support payment is too high or feel that they should not have to pay any child support at all. They may try to find ways to avoid their obligation to their children. Some paying parents may decide to quit a job, refuse to find replacement work, and then ask the court to reduce their child support payment. In Utah, if a court determines that the paying parent lost a job deliberately, he or she will be considered voluntarily unemployed, and the judge will not reduce the child support order.

Voluntary Underemployment

The term “underemployment” means that the paying parent has intentionally taken a lower paying job or hides income to lessen the child support order. In other words, the paying parent is working below his or her full earning potential.

A paying parent may be underemployed when he or she is no longer working in an occupation for which she or he has been trained and is working at a lower paying job. For example, a registered nurse may decide to leave a lucrative hospital job and take a minimum wage job in a daycare. The court could rule that the nurse is underemployed and should be earning more money.

The paying parent doesn’t necessarily have to be deliberate in trying to lose or lower income. Utah law holds that if the paying parent’s loss of earnings is due to neglect, income can be imputed.

A court could also find a paying parent to be underemployed if the paying parent defers taking sales commissions or bonuses. For example, right before a scheduled child support hearing, the paying parent defers taking a year-end bonus by asking his or her employer to pay the bonus at a later time. The intention is to keep the bonus hidden, so it’s not used to calculate child support. If it’s proven that this was the paying parent’s ploy, the judge may impute or add the bonus back into the calculation.

How Courts Calculate Imputed Income

In child support cases, Utah law requires that both parents provide their most recent income tax returns and written proof of their current and past earnings. The judge has this information available for reference to see what the paying parent was earning in the past and base child support on that amount, rather than the artificially reduced amount of income.

When the paying parent has no significant work history or fails to provide his or her income history, the judge may refer to the most recently published Utah Occupational Employment Wage Survey. The judge will draw on this information to establish what the paying parent’s imputed income should be.

Utah law has special statutes that focus on business owners who may try to use the business to hide income. If the business owner is lending the business money to minimize his or her earnings, the loan interest should be at the going market rate. Otherwise, the loan amount could be counted as income for child support calculation purposes.

When Imputing Income is not Allowed

There are some cases where courts are prohibited from imputing income. If the paying parent becomes physically or mentally disabled or has had employment losses due to Hurricanes Katrina or Rita, the court cannot find that the paying parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed.

In addition if one parent is caring for the parties’ child who is under five years of age, the court will not attribute income to that parent.

Free Consultation with a Child Support Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about child support or if you need to collect back child support, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 49 reviews

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Child Support by Agreement

Child Support by Agreement

Payment of child support can come about in one of three main ways:

  • Agreed upon in informal negotiations between the parents (usually with attorneys)
  • Resolved through use of out-of-court alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceedings
  • Decided when a child support order is entered by a court.

The following overview focuses on resolution of child support payment through use of the first two methods mentioned above: agreement between the parents through informal settlement negotiation and use of ADR processes such as mediation and collaborative family law. Note: Even if your child support situation is resolved outside of court, in most states you will need court approval of your agreement to ensure that it complies with the Utah State guidelines on child support. You should call us to discuss this to make sure your child support agreement is enforceable in court.

Child Support through Informal Negotiations

If parents are willing to work together informally to resolve all issues related to child support (including payment amount, frequency of payments, and duration) they can negotiate an agreement with or without the assistance of attorneys. In some cases, the parties in a child support dispute may prefer to have their positions negotiated by an attorney, or the parties may negotiate themselves, and can consult their attorneys prior to finalizing any agreement. The specific settlement negotiation process will vary in most cases, but the ideal end result of successful settlement talks in a child support case is a written agreement. This written agreement may be referred to as a “settlement agreement,” and in some child support cases (such as those that are part of a divorce) the agreement on child support may be a part of a larger “divorce agreement” or “dissolution agreement.” (more on finalizing this agreement below.)

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Child Support

For parents who need to resolve a child support matter, another option is alternative dispute resolution (ADR) — including processes such as mediation and collaborative law. ADR may prove to be a beneficial tool in resolving child support issues, depending on factors such as the degree to which the parents are in dispute on key issues related to child support and their willingness to work together to resolve those issues.

Child Support in Mediation

ADR processes tend to be less adversarial and more casual than the traditional court setting, and may facilitate early settlement.

With mediation and collaborative family law, parents in a child support dispute (along with their attorneys) have an opportunity to play an active role in resolving key decisions related to child support, instead of having a third party (judge or jury) make those decisions. Rarely used in family law cases, arbitration is a more structured ADR option, in which a neutral third-party makes decisions after hearing each side’s evidence and arguments. The arbitrator’s decision in a child support is not necessarily final, and the parties may still be able to resolve key issues before a court at a later date.

Finalizing the Child Support Agreement

Whether the parties resolve a child support dispute out-of-court through informal negotiation or ADR, the ideal result is a written document which finalizes what was agreed upon. This agreement is usually shown to a judge for final approval, to ensure that what the parents have agreed to also complies with state guidelines on child support. An informal court hearing may follow, during which the judge will ask some basic factual questions to make sure that each party understands the terms of the agreement.

As long as the judge is satisfied that the child support agreement was fairly negotiated, and that the terms do not contradict state guidelines, the agreement will almost always receive court approval. In most states, the agreement then becomes a binding court order or “decree,” and the parents or other parties to the agreement must adhere to it or face legal consequences. For example, if a child support settlement agreement has been converted into a court order, and the agreement is violated by a father who repeatedly fails to make support payments on time, the mother can go to court to enforce her rights to child support payments under the order, and the father will face additional fines or even jail time if he fails to meet his child support obligations under the order.

Free Consultation with a Utah Child Support Lawyer

If you have a question about child support or if you need to collect back child support, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will aggressively fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 49 reviews

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Establishing Legal Paternity in Utah for Child Support

Because I am a lawyer in Utah, I’m often asked about issues with child custody and child support. When it comes to child support in Utah, both parents are responsible for ensuring their child has sufficient funds. It becomes a more complicated matter if legal paternity is not established, even if the biological father is known.

Establishing Legal Paternity in Utah for Child Support

Despite being the biological father, without official paternal establishment, a man does not have the legal rights or responsibilities of being a father. These include custody, visitation and child support. In order to establish the rights of the father, there is a formal application process for legal paternity. This typically requires submitting some paperwork and might also include a DNA paternity test, depending on the support of the mother.

According to Paternity Matters, in Utah, the definition of paternity includes the legal recognition of the father. The state, the child, the mother or the biological father might initiate this process. It is typically done through submitting the Voluntary Declaration of Paternity, which is issued by the Department of Health, Office of Vital Records and Statistics. It is provided free of service at the birth of the child, but can be submitted at any time after the birth for a fee.

For this to be done, both parents must hear a message or watch a movie, read the official legal notice and then sign the document with witnesses. This establishes legal paternity, which also adds the father’s name to the child’s birth certificate. After this document is submitted, the legal father will be responsible for child support, so the mother has the right to file an order.

Paternity establishment typically occurs when a woman is unmarried, since for married women, the paternity is assumed to belong to the husband. If this is not the case, then a Utah Voluntary Declaration of Paternity or some other legal order provides the paternity rights to the biological father rather than the husband. This information is intended to educate only and should not be considered legal advice.


Because couples experience so many different fond memories and difficult times together, no two Utah marriages are the same. And because of that, every divorce is also unique. As it turns out, collaborative divorce may be particularly fitting for one specific demographic of couples across the country since the group is faced with several unique opportunities and challenges during the divorce process.

Since collaborative divorce incorporates several legal and financial resources into the process, relying on the valuable insight of figures like financial advisors and experienced family law attorneys to help divorcing parties come to a mutual agreement on their own, it’s an effective option for couples seeking a divorce after many years of marriage. The number of long-term married couples filing for divorce has increased considerably in recent years, and many of which do so because they feel disconnected from one another after their children leave home. As a result, these couples do not experience many of the issues that contribute to other divorces and divorce disputes.

Despite the fact that older couples in the midst of divorce proceedings may not typically come across such issues as child custody and/or support arrangements, they may encounter concerns over factors like spousal support. Alimony is often considered in cases where one party relied on the financial support of the other, but such arrangements are often temporary. Therefore, it is in the best interest of individuals to think about how their collaborative divorce may affect their financial situation.

Given that so many people are living full and productive lives well into their later years, it’s important that sound legal counsel is obtained to help ensure that those seeking divorce after decades of marriage come to a fair and reasonable agreement.

Free Consultation with Child Support Lawyer

If you have a question about child support or if you need to collect back child support, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will aggressively fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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Child Support Guidelines Reflect Modern Ideals

While many Utah family law guidelines are intended to account for the best interests of the child in a divorce case, many would argue that some policies have reflected and reinforced gender bias through the years. Slowly, however, the law may be catching up with contemporary principles, since there’s evidence to suggest that child support agreements established across the country increasingly have fathers receiving financial support from their exes.

Establishing child support payments is intended to account for the financial needs of children following divorce. As such, the process involves identifying the parent that was physically responsible for the kids the majority of the time during the marriage, while also recognizing the parent that provided for the household financially. Once it’s determined which party was the primary breadwinner prior to divorce, an appropriate support plan can be created. If you need help with this, you should contact us at Ascent Law, LLC.

Now that more mothers across the country are providing for their families financially as well as physically, child custody arrangements everywhere are reflecting the shift in family dynamics. In 2013, a Pew Research study found that single mothers were responsible for heading approximately 25 percent of American households. Beyond that, around 40 percent households were financially supported by mothers. That’s why more mothers than ever before are now responsible for paying child support.

Complementing statistics suggesting that mothers are taking on more financial responsibilities are figures pointing to the fact that more fathers are the primary caregivers in a family. Full or primary custody was awarded to fathers in around 16 percent of cases in 2011, and a large percentage of those cases resulted in the dads being granted child support.

Child Support Guidelines Reflect Modern Ideals

Utah Courts Attempt To Restrict Divorce Coverage

No one can dispute that reality TV has become tremendously popular in recent years. And along with the rise of reality TV has come an increased interest in high-profile news events and coverage. Some argue that courtroom programming is little more than entertainment and spectacle for viewers, while others contend that providing the public with live courtroom coverage is an important educational tool. Now, the Utah judicial system is voicing where it stands on the issue of potentially allowing cameras in family law litigation.

The Utah State Judicial Council ruled last year to not only open state courtrooms to TV cameras but also allow everything from laptops to smart phones. Now, however, that very same council is attempting to restrict the use of video cameras in family law courtrooms across the state. The Council is proposing that the change in policy is intended to protect the rights of litigants, but others argue that discouraging the use of video cameras in divorce cases is counterproductive to encouraging public access and knowledge. The measure that the judicial Council is proposing would force individuals seeking to record family law proceedings to prove to the judge why they should be allowed, whereas judges currently have to justify why court proceedings should not be recorded.

One family law attorney that is especially interested in filming court cases recommended several measures to protect the privacy of litigants, but so far only one of his requests to videotape court proceedings have been granted by the court system.

Free Consultation with Child Support Lawyer

If you have a question about child support or if you need child custody or divorce help, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will aggressively fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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Child Support Lawyer

child support lawyer

Child support саn bе оnе оf the most соntеntiоuѕ parts оf a divоrсе. Whilе it iѕ mеаnt to be fоr thе bеѕt intеrеѕtѕ of thе child, finаnсiаl аnd еmоtiоnаl iѕѕuеѕ often tаkе сеntеr ѕtаgе in child ѕuрроrt. Thе раrtу соllесting child support may wоrrу аbоut lаtе рауmеntѕ, еnfоrсing the support agreement, оr rесеiving еnоugh ѕuрроrt to livе соmfоrtаblу. The party paying сhild ѕuрроrt mау wоrrу about mаking ѕtеаdу payments оr kеерing uр with a rеgulаr visitation ѕсhеdulе. Aраrt frоm those concerns, сhild ѕuрроrt can bе diffiсult tо саlсulаtе and agree оn. Eасh fаmilу ѕituаtiоn rеԛuirеѕ a diffеrеnt ѕеt of considerations, and еасh fаmilу will dеvеlор a unique child ѕuрроrt аnd visitation arrangement.

Abоut Child Support

Thе Utah Department оf Child Suрроrt Sеrviсеѕ dеfinеѕ child support аѕ “the оngоing mоnеtаrу еxреnditurеѕ and рауmеntѕ nесеѕѕаrу tо соvеr a сhild’ѕ living аnd medical еxреnѕеѕ.”

Whеn раrеntѕ divorce, both раrtiеѕ аrе ѕtill rеԛuirеd tо ѕuрроrt thе сhild. If one раrеnt is givеn ѕоlе legal оr рhуѕiсаl сuѕtоdу, tурiсаllу the оthеr раrеnt iѕ rеԛuirеd tо mаkе payments to thе parent whо hаѕ сuѕtоdу. If thе parents hаvе joint custody of thе child, thе child ѕuрроrt аrrаngеmеnt will dереnd оn the раrеntѕ’ earnings аnd thе аmоunt of timе thе сhild spends with еасh раrеnt.

Utаh courts саn take a numbеr оf thingѕ intо соnѕidеrаtiоn whеn dеtеrmining child ѕuрроrt, including:

  • Hеаlth inѕurаnсе
  • Thе сhild’ѕ еduсаtiоnаl аrrаngеmеnt
  • Thе child’s dау саrе аrrаngеmеnt
  • Anу ѕресiаl nееdѕ
  • Thе income and needs of thе раrеnt whо hаѕ сuѕtоdу
  • The ѕuрроrting parent’s finаnсiаl situation аnd аbilitу tо pay
  • Thе сhild’ѕ ѕtаndаrd оf living bеfоrе divorce

Thе court’s No. 1 consideration in сhild support negotiations is thе bеѕt interests оf thе сhild. If аt аll possible, thе соurt will strive tо mаintаin thе сhild’ѕ ѕtаndаrd of living frоm before the divоrсе. In certain ѕituаtiоnѕ, раrеntѕ саn аvоid going tо соurt tо nеgоtiаtе child ѕuрроrt рауmеntѕ. Using a legal аgrееmеnt, knоwn аѕ a “ѕtiрulаtiоn,” thе раrеntѕ саn ѕhоw раtеrnitу аnd establish a сhild ѕuрроrt рауmеnt arrangement. In these саѕеѕ, it can bе bеnеfiсiаl to hаvе thе hеlр of an еxреriеnсеd Utah mеdiаtоr.

Cаlсulаting Child Suрроrt

Child support tаkеѕ a wide range оf factors intо ассоunt. Utah lаw diсtаtеѕ thаt child support iѕ bаѕеd on each раrеnt’ѕ disposable monthly inсоmе аnd thе amount of time thе сhild spends with еасh parent. Nеt diѕроѕаblе inсоmе includes any аnd аll income ѕоurсеѕ, whеthеr оr nоt thе ѕоurсе iѕ tаxеd undеr fеdеrаl оr state lаw. Fоr the purposes оf сhild ѕuрроrt, inсоmе includes:

  • Wаgеѕ
  • Tips
  • Cоmmiѕѕiоnѕ
  • Bonuses
  • Sеlf-еmрlоуmеnt earnings
  • Unеmрlоуmеnt benefits
  • Diѕаbilitу bеnеfitѕ
  • Workers’ compensation benefits
  • Intеrеѕt
  • Dividends
  • Rental inсоmе
  • Sосiаl Security оr реnѕiоnѕ
  • Anу рауmеntѕ or credits duе, inсluding lоttеrу аnd рrizе winningѕ

The соurt саlсulаtеѕ nеt monthly inсоmе bу subtracting сеrtаin rеԛuirеd рауmеntѕ, such as tаxеѕ, mаndаtоrу union duеѕ, hеаlth premiums, mandatory retirement соntributiоnѕ, соѕtѕ оf raising children frоm another relationship, аnd pre-existing сhild support рауmеntѕ.

During the divorce рrосеѕѕ, the соurt uѕuаllу requires each parent tо fill оut a finаnсiаl ѕtаtеmеnt. Thiѕ statement аllоwѕ thе court to gain a full undеrѕtаnding оf thе раrеntѕ’ financial ѕituаtiоn аnd bеgin tо dеtеrminе child support amounts.

Child Support Modifications

Aѕ livеѕ go оn and situations dеvеlор, еxiѕting сhild ѕuрроrt аrrаngеmеntѕ саn become оutdаtеd. Mеdiсаl еmеrgеnсiеѕ, new living аrrаngеmеntѕ, аnd a сhаngе in financial ѕtаtuѕ can all nесеѕѕitаtе a сhild ѕuрроrt modification.

In оrdеr tо mоdifу a сhild ѕuрроrt оrdеr, you muѕt ѕhоw thе court that circumstances have сhаngеd ѕubѕtаntiаllу ѕinсе the lаѕt оrdеr. Major сhаngеѕ in thе сhild or раrеntѕ’ livеѕ саn bе tеmроrаrу оr реrmаnеnt, lеаding to еithеr a tеmроrаrу оr реrmаnеnt order.

Tеmроrаrу situations thаt саn lead tо child ѕuрроrt mоdifiсаtiоnѕ inсludе:

  • Finаnсiаl hаrdѕhiр оn the part оf thе supporting раrеnt; in other wоrdѕ, the рауеr iѕ tеmроrаrilу unаblе tо рау child ѕuрроrt duе tо illnеѕѕ, jоb lоѕѕ, or аn еmеrgеnсу
  • Finаnсiаl hardship оn the раrt оf the rесеiving раrеnt; in оthеr words, thе receiving parent is unable tо provide for him оr hеrѕеlf аnd the child with thе current ѕuрроrt аmоunt due to illnеѕѕ, jоb lоѕѕ, оr оthеr fасtоrѕ
  • Mеdiсаl emergencies, еithеr for thе сhild, thе rесеiving раrеnt, оr thе ѕuрроrting раrеnt

Permanent situations thаt саn lead tо сhild support mоdifiсаtiоnѕ inсludе:

  • Changes in inсоmе, ѕuсh аѕ a lost jоb, a ѕаlаrу reduction, оr a ѕаlаrу increase
  • Change in сuѕtоdу, ѕuсh as whеn a child decides tо mоvе in with thе оthеr раrеnt оr the custodial раrеnt decides tо move оut оf ѕtаtе
  • Changes tо thе viѕitаtiоn ѕсhеdulе, whiсh саuѕе the child to ѕреnd significantly mоrе time with one parent thаn before.


If you have a question about child support or if you need to collect back child support, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will aggressively fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

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