Divorce and child support are some of the most confusing areas of law in our country. Not only do these laws vary from one state to another, but also have some of the most unpredictable rules.
Turns out, many divorced parents in the state of Utah believe that remarriage may affect the amount of child support the remarried parent is paying to the custodial parent.
This is the question our Salt Lake City child support attorney here at the Emy A Cordano, Attorney at Law received from one of our readers in Utah: “I am planning to get remarried, but I am worried that my remarriage may affect the amount of child support I am paying to my former spouse. My future wife earns a fair amount of money and since she will be sharing household expenses with me after we get married, does it mean that my former wife has a legal right to increase the amount of child support I am paying? Thanks, Brad.”
Does remarriage affect child support in Utah?
Thank you for your question, Brad. Contrary to the popular belief, remarriage itself does not affect the amount of child support you are paying. Even if your new wife earns millions of dollars per month, her earnings will not be included in child support calculations.
“However, there is an exception,” says our experienced child support attorney in Salt Lake City. “If your future spouse gives or transfers your money (as opposed to sharing household expenses with you) on a regular basis, this will most likely count as a stream of unearned income, which will be included in child support calculations.”
Other than that, child support is determined only based on your own income, not the income of your new wife or husband. Under Utah law, “gross income,” which is the determining factor in child support calculations, includes both earned and non-earned income sources.
Even though you will be sharing household expenses with your new spouse after remarriage, her income will not count as your gross income and will not affect the current amount of child support.
How can child support be modified in Utah?
But it does not mean that the current amount of child support will not be modified under any other circumstances, say our best divorce lawyers in Utah. You or the other parent of your child may increase or in any other way modify child support if he or she can demonstrate proof that there has been a “considerable change of circumstances” since the original order came into effect.
Let’s review some of the most common situations which may qualify as “considerable change of circumstances”:
- The paying parent has experienced a significant increase or decrease in his or her income (more often than not, this increase or decrease must be 10 percent or more);
- The receiving parent has experienced a significant increase or decrease in his or her income;
- Involuntary loss of job by the paying or receiving parent;
- A substantial increase or decrease in the needs of the child;
- One of the parents experiencing financial struggles as a result of an injury, illness, disability, or for any other reason;
- A change in the cost of living.
If you have more questions about child support and ways to modify it, consult with our Salt Lake City child support attorney from the Emy A Cordano, Attorney at Law. Call our offices at 801-804-5152 or complete this contact form to get legal consultation.