How Is Child Custody And Support Determined?

You and your spouse used to be happy together at a time. You fell in love. You had children together. You truly started building a life together. Unfortunately, it ultimately had to end in divorce. Going through a divorce often isn’t smooth sailing. This can be devastating. It can get very emotional and complex, especially with your kids involved. If you’ve never had a divorce before, never had one with children involved, or hadn’t considered it before, then you may not know how child custody works.  It’s essential to know how it is determined. The state of Utah uses child support guidelines in determining child support. It’s also essential to know situations where these guidelines may not be used fully.

How it’s determined?

When you get into a custody battle with your former spouse it’s important to know that in the state of Utah both parents must financially support the child(ren). This is dependent on the income made by both of the parents, the number of children involved, as well as the final custody agreement. Utah law establishes child support guidelines. The three elements of these guidelines are childcare expenses, base child support, and medical expenses. An example of childcare expenses would be clothes that the child(ren) needs for school. An example of medical expenses would be the costs of taking the child(ren) to the doctor when they are sick. The court determines the total support obligation for the child(ren). This is shared by the parents dependent upon their income. The parent without custody pays child support to the custodial parent.

Factors that deviate against guidelines

Courts typically follow the child support guidelines. The child support guidelines use a chart to determine child support based upon the adjusted gross incomes of the parents. However, each case is individual and has different needs. Courts may take into consideration any of these factors when determining child support. One thing they may take into consideration is the ability of the non-custodial parent to earn an income. Perhaps they are disabled and cannot work, then child support may be adjusted. They also will look at the ability of the custodial parent to earn. Perhaps they are newly unemployed. The court may also take into consideration the ages of the parents. They may take into consideration the responsibilities of the parents in supporting others. For example, non-custodial parents may also need to care for their older parent. The standard of living of the parents is also taken into consideration. If the child has special needs and is an adult, then the court will take into account the incapacitated adult child’s ability to earn or other benefits received. Courts overall look at the needs of the custodial and noncustodial parent and most importantly, the child(ren).

Divorce can be extremely messy. Now you have to bring your children along in this mess. Dealing with this can be very stressful. Courts may not really have the best interest of your children through your eyes. You need someone who has the experience and who will actually listen to your needs and concerns and fight for them. Emy A. Cordano has over 20 years of experience in family law. She’s handled the most complex cases. Make an appointment for a legal consultation through this contact form or call for a case review at (801) 901-8159.

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