Child support in Utah is based on a set of court guidelines. Courts use these guidelines to decide how much money each parent must pay in order to provide for the child’s needs after a separation or divorce. In some cases, courts can alter the guidelines-based amount a parent is required to pay if there is substantial evidence showing that doing so is necessary. This post will look at some of the factors that may alter a guidelines-based child support determination, but no part of this post should be read as legal advice.
The basics of the guidelines
Like other jurisdictions, Utah has established guidelines for the determination of child support in family law cases. They are based on quantitative factors, such as the amount of money each parent makes and the number of kids the parents share. However, in some cases, these guidelines may be insufficient to meet the requirements of a child or family.
Deviating from child support guidelines
As mentioned, courts can alter child support based on state guidelines when there is substantial evidence to support doing so. The following qualitative factors may be evaluated to determine if it is reasonable to change the child support amount established by Utah guidelines:
- The ages of the parents and the parents’ abilities to earn money;
- The needs of the parents and the child or children;
- The standard of living the family enjoyed; and
- The wealth of the parents.
For example, the standard guidelines may suggest that a parent receive a certain amount of child support. However, if the child has special or unique needs that incur costs above what the guidelines-based support would cover, then there may be substantial evidence to support deviating from the guidelines.
Child support is important, and courts do their best to get it right when such matters come up. However, individuals are the best advocates for their children’s needs. When they require support, they can turn to trusted family law attorneys for assistance and counsel.