As you may or may not know, Utah law established a specific formula to calculate child support after divorce. But can you actually calculate the amount of child support that will be awarded in your particular case on your own?
Or do you necessarily need help from a Salt Lake City child support attorney to calculate child support in your case? Long story short, you may be able to estimate the amount of child support by using a formula and following specific instructions and guidelines outlined by Utah law, but there is no way to calculate the exact amount of child support on your own without seeking help from an experienced lawyer.
Our experienced child support attorney in Salt Lake City, Emy A. Cordano, says that there is actually an online child support calculator provided by the Utah Office of Recovery Services (ORS) that estimates the amount you or your spouse will owe.
Do note, however, that the ORS calculator can be used for an estimated child support amount. Just because the calculator says you are entitled to receive $10,000 in monthly child support payments does not necessarily mean that you are guaranteed to obtain this amount.
How child support is determined in Utah
As mentioned earlier, the Utah legislature sets strict guidelines to determine the amount of child support. When determining child support, the court will look into all of the following factors:
- The standard of living of each parent;
- The income of each parent;
- The earning capacity of each parent;
- The needs of each parent;
- The needs of the child;
- The age of the child; and
- The support or alimony obligations from prior divorces, if any.
Child support calculated by the parties, not the court
While the vast majority of divorcing couples think that the amount of child support is calculated by the courts, it is not entirely true. “In reality,” explains our child support attorney Salt Lake City, “The parents and their lawyers calculate the amount of child support by applying the statutory formulas and guidelines, and then the court simply verifies that the amount was properly calculated.”
Although it has been more than a decade since Utah lawmakers updated the guidelines for calculating child support the last time (January 1, 2008), the guidelines are very specific and to-the-point. Under Utah law, all judges in Utah are required to follow these guidelines to calculate awards of child support.
The Gross monthly income of each parent is arguably the most critical factor when calculating child support payments in Utah. Your gross income is the amount of money you earn before taxes or other deductions. Gross income is determined by including salaries, bonuses, commissions, and other benefits.
If you have more than one job or work for more than one client, you may not realize that for child support purposes, the income used in calculating child support is limited to one full-time job.
Just because the court has already determined the amount of child support in your case, there may still be a way to convince the court to re-calculate the amount by pointing at the errors or inaccuracies in calculating child support.