Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Important points about child support modification in Utah

When Utah parents share a child but are no longer together as a couple, in most cases the noncustodial parent will have to pay child support to the custodial parent. This is for the child's upkeep, medical care, living expenses and more. But with life as unpredictable as it is, there are times when circumstances such as income, employment status and other issues can change making it reasonable to request that there be an accompanying change to the amount that the parent pays or receives. This request can come from either. Having an understanding of important points toward this request is key before moving forward.

According to the law, there can be a request made to review the child support order. The amount can be increased or lowered. When there is an open child support case with the Office of Recovery Services (ORS), the ORS can be asked to conduct a review. This must be in written form. If there is not an open case, an application must be filed before there will be a review. When there is an open case, the ORS will ask for documents that will complete the review request. There must be financial statements, verifications of the income of both parents, and a copy of the Findings of Fact for Judicial orders. Certain cases might require additional information based on individual circumstances.

There will be a support modification if the following factors are in place: the order is a minimum of three years old and the new award for either of the parents is a minimum of 10 percent higher or lower than what the award is currently; the order is less than three years old and proof is given that there was a substantial change in circumstances and that it is not temporary - less than 12 months - and the new award is a minimum of 15 percent higher or lower than what the current award is; or the order does not have a requirement for a parent to have insurance for the child's medical expenses.

There will not be a change to the order if: the youngest child will be 18 within one year; either parent cannot be located; either parent is incarcerated; or there are other issues such as custody or visitation that are in dispute. For parents who are considering seeking a child support modification, knowing when it can and cannot be done is imperative. Speaking to a legal professional can provide guidance and help.

Source:, "Review and Adjustment of Support Amounts Frequently Asked Questions," accessed on Dec. 13, 2016

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