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Can The Court Deviate From The Utah Child Support Calculator If Both Parents Agree?

In Utah, the child support order can deviate from the child support calculator if it is an upward adjustment (if they agree, or of the Court find some really extraordinary circumstance that would justify the upward deviation). If the parties desire a downward deviation in which the child support obligor would pay less in child support than the amount dictated by the Utah Child Support Guidelines, an extremely good reason must be provided to the court. These reasons should be determined based on the individual facts of the case, which are very “fact-sensitive” and rare.

My Ex-Spouse Is Now Remarried To A High-Income Earner. Can That Change The Child Support Amount?

The incomes of step-parents can be included initially or at the modification stage. They are not required to be included, but the Utah Child Support Calculator has an option to calculate a stepparent’s earnings. However, if the stepparent has children along with other child support obligations, that would lessen the impact of the stepparent’s financial contribution. So, a stepparent’s income can be included in the calculation, but so can that stepparent’s obligation to other children.

Once A Child Turns 18, Is Support Lowered Automatically?

If a child turns 18 and graduates from high school, that child drops off of the child support calculation automatically. The child support amount for any remaining children would remain in place. No petition or motion to modify child support is necessary. It is automatic. However, if the child has turned 18, and is on-track to graduate from high school, child support must be paid through the date of the child’s normal and regularly expected date of graduation from high school.

Can We Put Something Into The Child Support Plan To Pay For College In The Future?

If the parties agree, they can put in place a plan to help pay for college. To do so, the parties would have to establish an upward deviation from child support and it would be separate. The child support obligor cannot dictate how the child support is spent or whether it is to be used for a college savings plan.

Do I Have A Right To Know How Child Support Is Being Spent?

The parent paying the child support does not have a right to know how the child support is being applied. The court will assume that the child support obligee is using the child support for the best interest of the child. The court will not get into a debate or inquiry about the best use of child support funds.

Is There Anything A Parent Can Do If They Suspect The Child Support Is Not Being Put Toward The Child?

Unless the child’s needs are being neglected to the point that a change in custody should be contemplated, there really isn’t anything a parent can do if they suspect the child support is not being put toward the child. Short of petitioning the court for a change in custody due to neglect that could have been avoided if the child support had been properly applied, the court will not evaluate how the custodial parent spends the child support.

For more information on Child Support In Utah, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (801) 616-3301 today.

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*Child Welfare Law Specialist Nat’l Assoc. of Counsel for Children