Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

When can child support be modified?

Child support can be a flash-point in any relationship involving children. Although it may be a stressful process, part of what does make the child support system work is its flexibility and the ability to support amounts as a parent's situation changes. However, knowing when and how to seek modification of child support can be a confusing matter for many parents.

In Utah, there are two standards applied to changes in child support. The first standard uses a motion to modify child support as its starting document. In order to use a motion to modify support, it must have been three or more years since the existing order was entered. There must also be a 10 percent difference in the ordered amount and the amount required by the guidelines. The difference can't be temporary and the new support amount must be consistent with Utah's guidelines.

If any of the above factors are missing than you must file a petition to modify custody. A petition is filed when the new support amount is not consistent with the guidelines. A petition must also be filed if you are seeking to change a support amount prior to three years passing from the previous order.

In order to modify support before three years have passed there must be a material change. Material changes can be in areas such as custody, income, employment potential, education or work related child care expenses, and even the medical needs of the child. The difference must be equal to or greater than 15 percent of the current order.

As stated before, however, child support is a complex system and these short explanations do not cover all of the shades of gray involved. Seeking an attorney so that one may more fully understand the process can sometimes help put your mind at ease and make a decision that will benefit both parent and child.

Source: Utah Support Act, 78B-12-210, accessed on 8/18/2014

Source: Utah Support Act, 78B-12-210, accessed on 8/18/2014

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