When parties who have minor children divorce, Utah courts will enter a child support award. Child support is generally calculated based on both parties’ respective incomes, the number of children involved and the parent time schedule (number of overnights that the children spend with each party). The child support formula is fixed and can be calculated using the Utah Office of Recovery Services child support calculator (link below). The custodial parent, or parent that has the children more often, is usually, but not always, the party that receives child support. Where parties’ incomes are similar and they share equal time with their children, child support may be nominal or nonexistent.
Determining a party’s income for child support purposes can be more complex if a party is self-employed, underemployed or the party’s income is otherwise difficult to determine. Courts may impute income to a party, i.e. treat that party as if they have income that they don’t actually have, if a party refuses to work, is not working at their full earning capacity or cannot work due to incarceration or other circumstances in that party’s control.
In addition to the child support figure determined by the Court, parties are also generally required to share equally in the insurance premium costs for minor children, out-of-pocket medical costs incurred for children and daycare costs incurred for minor children. Parties may also agree or be ordered by the court to share in other types of child-related expenses such as private school tuition or extracurricular activity costs.
Child support generally continues until a child turns eighteen (18) or at the end of the child’s expected year of high school graduation (whichever occurs later). If parties have more than one child, the total child support will change as support for each child terminates once they reach the age of majority. Child support may extend into adulthood if a child is disabled or incapacitated such that support is necessary after the age of majority.