The Utah Court website and the Utah Office of Recovery Services website provide child support calculators that use the current Utah child support guidelines to accurately calculate child support. You can link to them from this site by clicking on the links in the previous sentence.
BUT a child support calculator is not helpful to you if you don’t know what information to put into the calculator and why!
The Utah forms asks the following questions:
1. What is the mother’s name?
2. What is the father’s name?
You may wonder why this information is needed. The truth is that it is not needed at all. When the calculation is completed, the calculator creates a form that is in the proper format to be submitted to the court. If you are creating the form to go to court, you should put the correct names in. If you are simply trying out various numbers or doing a calculation that is not going to the court right now, go ahead and put in any name or word. Let’s call him Prince Charming and her Snow White.
3. What is the mother’s monthly gross income?
4. What is the father’s monthly gross income?
How to calculate gross income is actually a topic that can be fairly complicated and you should see Utah Code Annotated 78B-12-203. Let’s assume that gross income is fairly straightforward in this situation. The parties have W-2s issued to them in January 2011 with these amounts and in February 2011 they want to figure out what their child support obligations should be. The each have one job and neither of them has any opportunity for bonuses or commissions.
Prince Charming’s gross income per year = $47,129.22
Snow White’s gross income per year = $43,601.86
Taking these numbers and dividing them by 12 gives us each parties monthly gross amounts.
Prince Charming’s monthly gross income is $3,927.44
Snow White’s monthly gross income is $3,633.49
5. How many natural and adopted children are involved in this child support action?
In other words, how many MINOR children do you and the other party have together? They must be under the age of 19 or still in high school. If your child was held back or not graduating when he or she normally would be scheduled to, child support will end at 18 rather than the end of high school. Adopted children that are now legally children of you and the other party count as well as natural born children to you and the other party. Prince Charming and Snow White have 2 children together.
6. What are the amount of pre-existing ordered child support that either the mother or the father were ordered to pay? (Do not include child support ordered for children in Question 5.)
This question is asking whether you or the other party have been previously ordered, by a court or by a State, to pay child support for a child that resulted from some other relationship. If there is an order of child support for another child, and that order existed prior to the one for the children in this relationship, the amount of child support paid by the payer may be reduced because of that prior court order. Neither Prince Charming nor Snow White have any prior orders of child support for any children.
7. What are the amounts of previously ordered alimony that is actually paid by either the mother or the father (Do not enter alimony paid for this action.)
This question is asking whether you or the other party have been previously ordered by a court to pay alimony to some person other than the person with which you have the children for whom you are now calculating child support. If there is an order of alimony that previously existed, it may impact the payer’s amount of child support now. Neither Prince Charming nor Snow White have any prior orders for alimony.
8. For Split Custody only, how many of the children from Question 5 will be in the custody of each parent?
Split custody is ONLY a factor when children will not sleeping at the same house the majority of the time. If Prince Charming will primarily have one child staying at his house to sleep, but the other child will primarily sleep at Snow White’s house, this would be “split custody” and it is fairly rare. Let’s say the children will have the same overnights at the same house so split custody is not an issue here.
9. For Joint Custody only, how many overnights will the children from Question 5 stay with each parent? The values entered must be at least 111 days or more for each parent and must total 365 days.
Joint Custody in Utah is based on “overnights.” Where does the child sleep? If the number of overnights with one of the parents is less than 111, there would be no need to enter anything in response to question 9.
Child support slowly starts to lower if the children spend greater than 110 nights at the child support payer’s house. However, the difference is slight and does not really become significant unless the payer has greater than 131 overnights.
Calculating the number of overnights that each parent has is not a simple matter and our firm has definitely attended court proceedings to discuss exactly how many overnights children really are with which parent. It seems obvious but a calendar should really be kept by each parent to make it easier if there are future disputes.
Standard minimum parent-time for non-custodial parents per Utah Code Annotated 30-3-35 is approximately every other weekend, one evening (not overnight), 1/2 of the holiday (time off from school) and two weeks uninterrupted during the summer (or a vacation).* This comes to about 86 to 90 overnights depending on the school schedule. (Traditional school, not year-round). If Prince Charming were to have this ordered as his parent-time, this would be considered sole physical custody to Snow White. (Legal Custody is a completely different topic and has no impact whatsoever on child support so it is not dealt with here.)
In this case, with sole physical custody, would be $743.00 in child support from Prince Charming to Snow White.
If Prince Charming had the barest minimum of 112 overnights per year, just to get to be a joint physical parent, this would leave him with child support of $736.00- so the difference is not significant from a monetary perspective.
If Prince Charming slightly altered the parent-time as found in Utah Code Annotated 30-3-35, and made that “evening visit” into an overnight, that comes to about 136 overnights per year. His child support would drop to $594.00.
IF the parties found a way to equally divide the year of overnights (183/182), Prince Charming’s child support obligation would be $42.00.
10. Which parent is the Plaintiff for the support action?
This question asks which parent will be receiving the child support.
11. Does the mother and the mother’s current spouse have any natural or adopted children together in the mother’s present home that are not part of this child support action? If so, how many?
12. Does the father and the father’s current spouse have any natural or adopted children together in the father’s present home that are not part of this child support action? If so, how many?
Depending on who is paying whom, this could lessen the payer’s child support amount.
photo credit: kenteegardin
My ex-wife is remarried. Her husband has a good paying job. When we got divorced she was not working. We have 4 children. When my oldest son turns 18 i understand the amount of child support will be reduced. When calculating the new amount for child support, does my ex wifes spouses income come into play at all or is she still considered unemployed?
Unfortunately, I cannot give legal advice in a public forum. Also, we would want a lot more information to make sure our advice is accurate. However, I can direct you to the definition of income for child support purposes according to Utah law. I have pasted it below for your convenience.
78B-12-203. Determination of gross income — Imputed income.
(1) As used in the guidelines, “gross income” includes prospective income from any source, including earned and nonearned income sources which may include salaries, wages, commissions, royalties, bonuses, rents, gifts from anyone, prizes, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, alimony from previous marriages, annuities, capital gains, Social Security benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment compensation, income replacement disability insurance benefits, and payments from “nonmeans-tested” government programs.
(2) Income from earned income sources is limited to the equivalent of one full-time 40-hour job. If and only if during the time prior to the original support order, the parent normally and consistently worked more than 40 hours at the parent’s job, the court may consider this extra time as a pattern in calculating the parent’s ability to provide child support.
(3) Notwithstanding Subsection (1), specifically excluded from gross income are:
(a) cash assistance provided under Title 35A, Chapter 3, Part 3, Family Employment Program;
(b) benefits received under a housing subsidy program, the Job Training Partnership Act, Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicaid, SNAP benefits, or General Assistance; and
(c) other similar means-tested welfare benefits received by a parent.
(4) (a) Gross income from self-employment or operation of a business shall be calculated by subtracting necessary expenses required for self-employment or business operation from gross receipts. The income and expenses from self-employment or operation of a business shall be reviewed to determine an appropriate level of gross income available to the parent to satisfy a child support award. Only those expenses necessary to allow the business to operate at a reasonable level may be deducted from gross receipts.
(b) Gross income determined under this subsection may differ from the amount of business income determined for tax purposes.
(5) (a) When possible, gross income should first be computed on an annual basis and then recalculated to determine the average gross monthly income.
(b) Each parent shall provide verification of current income. Each parent shall provide year-to-date pay stubs or employer statements and complete copies of tax returns from at least the most recent year unless the court finds the verification is not reasonably available. Verification of income from records maintained by the Department of Workforce Services may be substituted for pay stubs, employer statements, and income tax returns.
(c) Historical and current earnings shall be used to determine whether an underemployment or overemployment situation exists.
(6) Gross income includes income imputed to the parent under Subsection (7).
(7) (a) Income may not be imputed to a parent unless the parent stipulates to the amount imputed, the parent defaults, or, in contested cases, a hearing is held and the judge in a judicial proceeding or the presiding officer in an administrative proceeding enters findings of fact as to the evidentiary basis for the imputation.
(b) If income is imputed to a parent, the income shall be based upon employment potential and probable earnings as derived from employment opportunities, work history, occupation qualifications, and prevailing earnings for persons of similar backgrounds in the community, or the median earning for persons in the same occupation in the same geographical area as found in the statistics maintained by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
(c) If a parent has no recent work history or a parent’s occupation is unknown, income shall be imputed at least at the federal minimum wage for a 40-hour work week. To impute a greater income, the judge in a judicial proceeding or the presiding officer in an administrative proceeding shall enter specific findings of fact as to the evidentiary basis for the imputation.
(d) Income may not be imputed if any of the following conditions exist and the condition is not of a temporary nature:
(i) the reasonable costs of child care for the parents’ minor children approach or equal the amount of income the custodial parent can earn;
(ii) a parent is physically or mentally unable to earn minimum wage;
(iii) a parent is engaged in career or occupational training to establish basic job skills; or
(iv) unusual emotional or physical needs of a child require the custodial parent’s presence in the home.
(8) (a) Gross income may not include the earnings of a minor child who is the subject of a child support award nor benefits to a minor child in the child’s own right such as Supplemental Security Income.
(b) Social Security benefits received by a child due to the earnings of a parent shall be credited as child support to the parent upon whose earning record it is based, by crediting the amount against the potential obligation of that parent. Other unearned income of a child may be considered as income to a parent depending upon the circumstances of each case.
Amended by Chapter 41, 2012 General Session
Thank you for maintaining such an informative blog about family law. My Las Vegas family law firm is ready and able to assist anyone you know who requires family legal services in Las Vegas of Henderson. In some cases, you may find that it is in your client’s best interest to move to Las Vegas to get divorced. If you are interested in exchanging links on our blogs, please e-mail me.
My daughter and son in law are getting divorced. They agreed that a mediator is the way to proceed. But since then things may have gotten more intense. My daughter met with the mediator today. She was told to file online and then both of them should come back and meet with her. Does that make sense?
We appreciate all comments. If you have specific legal questions please feel free to email me directly: email@example.com
We try to contact everyone who leaves a comment asking for legal advice so that we can offer them a consult as we are not permitted to give advice specific to a person’s specific case as a posting on a blog. However, we DO very much want to help you so call us, email me, or send a contact form so that we can help you!
Rebecca Long Okura
I am currently trying to get child support. The attorney general as recently enforced it and my ex has been to court. I have received some money, but not as much as I should. He owes back support too. ORS is involved and trying to garnish but part of his income (I think) is under the table. My question is….is child support calculated on my income and my ex’s income, and can it be calculated on my new spouses income as well? My ex has tried to say it needs to be re evaluated b/c of my new circumstances. Is my new spouses subject to our child support amounts? Also can medical insurance premiums be required to be paid or partially paid for coverage of the child?
My child support case was put into effect 18 years ago. My child, who graduates higgh school in june, wants to civilly sue for back child support. ORS in california may or may not help. The divorce and support order was granted in utah and the dead beat father is hiding in texas. Any suggestions?
how do I collect from a remarried mom who lives in Utah, myself and kids live in another state, custody was awarded by original state after DSS removed the kids from mom . How do I go about collecting child support now, and back child support, especially when two states are involved and maybe the original state
I have total custody and mom has supervised visits. I work and her spouse works I do not know if she is employed
@scott and @john: Thank you for asking us for help. We want to help you and tried to email you to set up a consultation. We are not permitted to give legal advice on this site and without doing a check to make sure that the other party has not received advice from us. Our consultations are at least a half hour long- often longer and are only $25.00. Please call our office- we can help. 801-746-6000.
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I had the opportunity to visit with Kelli the other day for a consultation, she was so much help and really listened to my situation, giving me great insight into what my best course of action would be and fully explaining the laws and my rights. She is a wonderful lawyer who clearly wants to help her clients as fully as possible, she didn’t talk down to me as some other lawyers I have looked into were apt to do, which I greatly appriciated. I would recommend her to anyone needing a family law attorney.
have joint legal/phsyical custody with 50/50 time split as outlined in divorce decree….been that way for over 10 years now.
Daughter is almost 16 and this past year mom decided to become a stay at home mom so daughter wanted to spend more time over there and ex used this time to manipulate situation and make daughter feel obligated to stay over there on a more permanent basis, mostly to babysit for her two kids from current marriage, and daughter doesn’t want to upset her mom….it’s not a pretty site.
Anyhow, I don’t want to go against daughters wishes or create a huge legal battle but ex is clearly in violation of divorce decree in this matter.
Ex-wife now qualifies for more child support because she quit her job and has two additional kids and a husband that makes next to nothing. Can she claim 254 days on joint custody child support worksheet(daughter is with her many more days than this but shouldn’t be per divorce decree). Or, can she only claim 183 days as outlined in divorce decree??
Want to do what is best for daughter but I am paying most expenses already, have much more stable home (ex moved 6 times in past 8 years), I buy nearly all clothing, pay all schooling expenses, health care, etc. Am happy to do all I can for my daughter but this feels like extortion.
Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
If a child turns 18 years of age, lives with their mother but has dropped out of high school, am I required to still pay child support?
@Veronica: The issue of back child support is a little murky if you try to go back very far and it very much depends on whether there has been any past court order or if The Office of Recovery Services has been involved. A good place to start is with the Office of Recovery Services ANY time a person has a question regarding child support. Thank you for checking in with our blog!
@clawkacont: If you would like some help doing the calculations based on real earnings, please contact our firm for a consultation and we can run numbers for you after we do a conflict check. Thanks!
” His child support would drop to $594.00.”
How much is real?
what about back child support are there any rules? are there any cases where its court ordered to one parent to pay child support to the other when he hasnt payed any child support in thepast?