Park City Child Support Lawyers
Representing Parents Across Summit County & Beyond
In any family law case, Utah courts prioritize the best interests of children. Apart from ensuring their physical and emotional well-being in matters of child custody, courts will also look to a child’s parents to ensure they uphold their legal obligations to provide financial support.
Whether you are a parent filing for divorce, or have a stand-alone case involving financial support, working with an experienced lawyer can make all the difference in your legal journey.
At Dodd & Kuendig, we’ve helped numerous parents and families navigate the legal system while protecting their rights and the best interests of their children. We’re available to personally discuss your case during a consultation.
Utah Child Support Cases
Parents have a legal duty to support minor children, and in Utah, that duty persists until a child is 18 or completes high school (whichever is later), or until they are emancipated or parental rights are terminated.
Our legal team has experience helping clients address a range of child support issues, including those involving:
- Divorce (including military divorce)
- Paternity and unmarried parents
- Modifications of child support orders
- Child support enforcement
- Temporary orders
Child Support Calculations in Utah
The Utah Child Support Act (Utah Code 78B-12-105) creates a legal presumption that every child needs the support of their parents and that every mother and father must support their children. That includes financial support established by the Child Support Guidelines for:
- base child support;
- health care; and
- childcare expenses.
How Parent Income Plays a Factor
Under state guidelines, child support payments are calculated using the gross monthly income of both parents, and the number of overnights a child spends with each parent. Parents must provide documentation to verify income used in the support calculator (i.e. pay stubs, tax returns, etc.).
Even if a parent does not work, income may still be assigned to the parent (known as “imputed income”) for what they are capable of earning based on their work history, education, and employment opportunities. If there is no recent work history, or a parent’s occupation is unknown, the court may calculate support using the federal minimum wage. No income is imputed if:
- a parent is disabled and unable to earn income;
- the reasonable costs of childcare approach or equal the income the custodial parent can earn;
- a parent is participating in occupational training to establish basic job skills; or
- a child’s special needs require the custodial parent to remain home.
Overnights & Physical Custody
Physical custody–specifically, the number of overnights a child spends in each parent’s home–will also affect support. Generally, custody is assigned in one of three ways:
- Joint physical custody, where a child spends at least 111 days in each parent’s home
- Sole physical custody, where a child spends more than 225 days in one parent’s home
- Split custody, where there are multiple children and some children live with one parent while some live with the other.
Ensuring accurate parenting and custody information is crucial to calculating an appropriate amount of child support. Our team at Dodd & Kuendig can help parents evaluate their circumstances and ensure your information is complete and accurate.
Modifications of Child Support
Though child support is generally set in accordance with state guidelines, Courts may order a different amount of support if either parent (or both) are able to justify the deviation. Additionally, parents may seek modifications of court-ordered support if there have been significant changes in income or circumstances (i.e. a 10% or 15% difference between current support and requested support).
Reasons for seeking modifications of child support may include:
- Job loss
- Changes to the relative wealth, assets, or income of a parent
- Changes involving a child’s medical needs
- Changes involving the availability or cost of health care insurance
- Serious injury or disability of a paying parent
Parents may seek child support modifications in one of two ways:
- Motion to Adjust Child Support, if at least 3 years have passed since the initial order and there is a 10% or greater difference in the support requested, the difference is not temporary, and the proposed support is consistent with guidelines
- Petition to Modify Child Support, if at least 3 years have passed since the initial order, and there is a 10% or greater difference in support request that is not temporary, and the proposed support is NOT consistent with guidelines. Additionally, a petition may be filed if it has been less than 3 years since the initial order, there is a 15% difference, and there has been a significant material change in income or circumstances.
Determining whether you should file a Motion or a Petition to modify support will depend on the unique facts of your case. Our attorneys at Dodd & Kuendig can help you evaluate your available options.
Child Support Enforcement
When courts order child support, parents are obligated to comply. If a paying parent avoids their duty, custodial parents can enforce court orders through legal means. A custodial parent should not withhold parent-time solely because the other parent has not paid support.
By filing a Motion to Enforce Domestic Order, custodial parents may obtain a judgment for back child support owed. The court may additionally find the non-paying parent in contempt of court, and impose penalties, such as a fine or imprisonment in jail.
Our Proven Child Support Lawyers on Your Side
Dodd & Kuendig has been trusted by clients throughout Park City and the state of Utah, as well as fellow attorneys who refer complex cases to our talented team. If you have questions about a child support matter, including support proceedings that are part of a divorce or another family law case, we encourage you to contact us for a personalized consultation.