In Utah, the amount of child support that one parent must pay is determined by statute, and therefore cannot be negotiated as easily as other issues. You can get a rough estimate of how much child support you will receive/pay by putting some of your information into this Utah child support calculator. To determine child support, the work will look to several factors, such as:
- The parties’ income. Child support is calculated, in part, based on how much each of the parties earns minus any alimony and child support that the parties were already ordered to pay in previous cases.
- What type of physical custody the parties have. Generally speaking, as the number of overnights a parent spends with his/her children increase, his/her child support amount decreases.
- Whether one or both of the parents have other children living with them that they are supporting.
What if one of the parents is unemployed?
Even if a parent is unemployed, or makes very little money in a part time job, the court may decide that this parent is actually capable of making more money. In this case, the court will tell this parent that they will have to pay child support based on a higher amount of income. This is called “imputing” income. The court considers a number of factors when deciding whether to impute income to a parent:
- Parent’s employment potential;
- Parent’s work history;
- Parent’s occupational qualifications and employable skills;
- Earnings of individuals with a similar background in the community;
- Median earnings for a person in the same occupation in the same geographic area; and
- Probable earnings given the market conditions and the parent’s individual circumstances.
If a parent has been unemployed for quite some time, it’s fairly common for a court to impute income to that parent equivalent to 40 hours per week at minimum wage.
Conditions Where the Court Will NOT Impute Income
A court may not impute income to a parent if any of the following conditions exist, and these conditions are not temporary in nature:
- The parent that has the children a majority of the time makes sufficient income to support the children;
- The non-working parent is physically or mentally unable to earn minimum wage;
- The non-working parent is in training to establish basic job skills before seeking employment;
- Unusual emotional or physical needs of a child require the parent’s presence in the home.
Modifying Child Support
Click here for information on modifying child support.