What Happens If The Other Parent Fails To Pay Child Support?

If the child support obligor fails to pay child support, an Order to Show Cause (OSC) may be filed. That is a particular type of motion asking the court to enforce the child support order. One party files a motion asking the court to order the child support obligor to appear before the court at a certain date and time to “show cause” as to why they should not be held in contempt of court and sanctioned for failure to comply with the court’s child support order. Once the court signs the order, the moving party must ensure that the motion and order are served on the other side. At the order to show cause hearing, the moving party may request an order of contempt and sanctions. Sanctions may include a judgment against the other side for past due support, attorney’s fees, incarceration, loss of driver’s license, community service, fines, and more.

The purpose of an order to show cause is to bring the other party into compliance, not to punish them. If sanctions are required to motivate the other side to comply, then so be it. Generally, one who prevails on a motion to show cause is entitled to their attorney’s fees.

What Are The Most Common Issues That Your Firm Handles When It Comes To Child Support?

The most common issues we handle include establishing the correct child support amount and enforcing child support orders. With respect to establishing the correct child support amount, the main issues litigated are the parties’ gross monthly incomes and the number of overnights each party is entitled to receive. Regarding enforcement, the most common issues involve requesting or defending against a motion for order to show cause.

How Long Does Child Support Last?

Generally, child support lasts until the child turns 18 years old and has graduated from high school, if the child is attending high school. Child support may continue to be paid even after the child has turned 18, if the child is still in high school. If the child has dropped out of school, child support will terminate once the child turns 18.

Additional Information On Child Support In Utah

The definition of income for child support purposes is basically income derived from any source. Salaries, commissions, bonuses, severance packages, most government benefits, interest, unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation benefits, disability benefits, sick pay, and nearly every other type of income is included. Very little is outside the definition of income under the child support statute.

Child support orders, even from other states, may be enforced in Utah. In order to do that, one must register the foreign child support order in Utah and then they may file an order to show cause against the party living in Utah, even though the child support order arises from a different state.

If a party voluntarily diminishes their income, they may continue to be imputed the same income amount. For example, if a stockbroker decides to become an artist and he is not a very good one, the court will likely determine that he is still capable of earning the same amount as he did when he was a stockbroker, and that the children should not be punished because he chose to change occupations. Another example would be if the party commits a crime and ends up incarcerated. A court may determine that the party intentionally engaged in conduct likely to result in reduced income and therefore continue to impute the higher income amount to the incarcerated party.

Determining a party’s income can be particularly tricky if that party’s income comes from a self-owned and operated business. Very often, an attorney’s involvement is necessary to determine a party’s income when business ownership is an issue.

If a custodial parent is interfering with the visitation of the non-custodial parent, the non-custodial parent may not cease paying child support. Their remedy is to file an order to show cause to enforce their parenting time, not to cease paying child support. The reverse is also true; if a parent ceases paying child support, the custodial parent may not cease allowing visitation.

For more information on Failure To Pay Child Support In Utah, an initial consultation is your next best step. Contact Us online or call us to arrange a consultation at (801) 616-3301 today.

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