How is Child Support Determined?

child-supoprtChild support is a fairly easy calculation. In Utah, child support is determined by a chart of income for the parents and how many overnights each parent has the child at his or her home. If one of the parents does not work, their income will be considered as minimum wage. Utah’s child support statute can be found here: 78B-12-212.

Income Changes

When a parent’s income goes up or down within one to three years, a court can modify child support. But it depends upon how much the income varies and how quickly it varies from the time the divorce decree is entered. It is always best practice to have parents to agree to exchange W-2s each year, and/or when income changes, to provide a copy of each other’s most recent paystub and to modify child support under the chart (child support guidelines) when that occurs. By doing this child support can always be changed without court intervention and on an ongoing basis.

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Uniform Family Support Act

There is also a federal statute known as the Uniform Family Support Act (UIFSA). If the parents live in different States, a party may decide to file an original child support case directly in the State of the other party and proceed under that State’s laws. Under UIFSA, once there is a child support order in place, a State may not permit a party to proceed with a second child support case; rather, the second State Court must enforce the existing child support order.

One of the important provisions of UIFSA is that if a parent submits to the jurisdiction of an out of State Court to challenge child support, he or she does not consent to the Court’s jurisdiction regarding custody. The Court which originally made the child support determination retains exclusive jurisdiction as long as one of the parties or child resides in the State.