Utah courts require parents to go through a fairly complicated process to find out how much they owe in child support. After going through this process, it’s understandable that a parent would not want to do it again.
However, a lot can change after a child support order is issued. Sometimes circumstances change, and an order that once was appropriate can suddenly become unworkable. After the loss of a job or another serious financial setback, some parents fall behind on their child support payments. The results can be hard for the child, and can lead to serious financial and legal trouble for the parent.
Calculating child support
Under Utah law, every parent has an obligation to pay for the support of their child. If the parent lives with the child full-time, the state presumes the parent is paying for the child’s food, shelter and other needs. If the parent does not live with the child full time, they must pay child support. Note that many parents have joint custody agreements in which the child lives part-time with each parent.
To calculate how much the parent must pay, the court looks at several factors, including the amount of time the parent lives with the child, each parent’s income and other financial resources, and the child’s needs. If any of these factors change, a parent can request a modification to the child support order.
For instance, if one parent loses a job, or significantly raises the amount of time they have custody of the child, they can show the court how circumstances have changed, and request a modification. Utah courts require a change of at least 10% before they will consider a modification.
How a lawyer can help
A lawyer can help a parent with the necessary paperwork for a modification, and show them how to calculate the new amount of child support they should request. If the court demands a hearing, a lawyer can represent the parent at the hearing to protect their rights and interests.