Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Child support basics in Utah

Parents have a legal duty in Utah to support their minor children under the age of 18 or until the child has completed high school. Required child support obligations are determined by Utah's Child Support Guidelines. There are three components to child support determinations according to Utah's Child Support Guidelines. The three components of child support in Utah include base child support, medical care and child care expenses.

A child support formula is used to determine child support according to a child support table and the incomes of the child's parents. The custodial parent of the child receives child support payments from the non-custodial parent. Parents may be required to share the cost of a health insurance policy and the cost of any medical expenses not covered by the insurance policy. Parents are also required to share equally the child care expenses necessitated by the employment of the parents. There are other important considerations, such as tax exemptions, for parents to also be aware of when addressing child support obligations and concerns.

With good reason demonstrated by one or both of the parents, deviations from child support guidelines may be granted. In addition, either parent can request that child support obligations be modified based on a change in income or other significant change in circumstances. A paying parent who fails to meet child support obligations may face serious consequences such as fines or even the possibility of jail time which is why it is important for parents in Utah to be familiar with how child support obligations are determined and enforced and options available when they experience difficulty receiving or paying child support.

Family law issues such as child support can produce certain complexities and strong emotions for the parties involved. To better meet the needs of families, the family law process provides different options and resources for different situations that parents should be aware of.

Source: Utah Courts, "Child Support," Accessed Feb. 2, 2016

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