The Basics of Calculating Child Support

Child support is one area where a one-size-fits-all legal approach can be a huge disservice to clients, both immediately and in the future. At Nelson Jones, PLLC, we get to know our clients, listen to their concerns and address those concerns with practical, workable solutions.

Generally speaking, child support in Utah is calculated using four different variables:

  • The mother's adjusted gross monthly income
  • The father's adjusted gross monthly income
  • The number of children born to or adopted by the parties
  • The number of overnights the children reside with each parent during the year

Child support, unlike alimony, is determined by using fairly clear-cut rules. However, even with a hard and fast formula, parties frequently disagree when it comes to setting the monthly child support obligation.

Many parents are concerned about paying too much for child support, others worry about receiving too little to adequately provide for the needs of the children following separation. Our lawyers can help you understand how the various child support laws apply to your individual situation and explain how a court is likely to decide the issue.

Enforcing and Modifying Child Support Agreements

Our firm in Sandy has counseled families across the Salt Lake Valley in how to enforce or modify child support agreements.

Available enforcement options vary. Many times, hiring an attorney to contact and negotiate with the other party can result in an agreeable solution. Other times, more drastic measures such as contempt actions are necessary. Whether it's collecting amounts due, or defending against an unreasonable request for child support, we are here to help.

Modification actions are generally intensive and require the preparation and filing of many different documents. For these reasons, we recommend that people utilize the services of an experienced attorney. We understand the process, the elements and how to make a compelling case for modification before a judge. We know which facts to focus on, and we understand how to negotiate and approach modification actions in order to keep costs down.

Deviation from Child Support Guidelines

It is important to remember that the child support guidelines are a presumption and that a court can order child support different from the guidelines in certain narrow circumstances. If the court finds sufficient evidence, it can deviate from the guidelines and enter a child support award more finely tailored to the parties' circumstances. This determination is based on a limited number of statutory factors including:

  • The standard of living and situation of each parent
  • The relative wealth and income of each parent
  • Each parent's ability to earn
  • The ability of an incapacitated adult child to earn, or other benefits received by the adult child or on the adult child's behalf including Supplemental Security Income
  • The ages of each parent
  • The responsibilities of each parent for the support of others

Deviation from the guidelines is rare and the advice and guidance of a competent attorney are highly recommended for those who believe a deviated child support order may be appropriate for them. Schedule a free consultation with Nelson Jones, PLLC, to discuss your unique needs. Call 801-981-8779 or reach out online to get started.