Utah child support is relatively easy to compute once two things are established: 1) gross monthly income of both parties, and 2) custody/visitation. Determination of custody and visitation has been addressed (click on the links provided for more information on these issues), here we will address gross monthly income and how it is calculated.
Computing Gross Monthly Income for Utah Child Support
Gross income is your income before taxes and deductions. So if you Make $60,000 a year before taxes but actually only take home $45,000, for Utah child support purposes you'd use the $60,000 number. This gross number is generally determined by looking at your recent work history. Typically the court will look back 6 months, but if this results in an inaccurate number then the court can look further back, even multiple years. This might be the case in a scenario where a party has a seasonal job, such as a landscaper, if the court is looking at the months of October through March, that would probably be an inaccurate depiction of your actual yearly income because your busy months are not taken into account. And vice-versa, if the court is only looking at your busy months then your income will look much higher than it actually is.
If you own your own business, gross income is computed by looking at your income after business expenses. This can get a little trickier because some people designate their house or car payment as a "business expense." Your attorney at Pearson Law Firm can help you through these complex Utah divorce issues, call Pearson Law Firm today for a free consultation with an experienced Utah child support attorney, 801-888-0991.
You want to make sure that the court has an accurate amount for your income before calculating Utah child support. Often times the party will dispute the amount of gross income because the amount can affect child support significantly. Your experienced Utah child support attorney at Pearson Law Firm will help you come to a fair and accurate number for your gross income and ensure that the ordered child support is fair.
Generally, Utah child support is based on a full-time job, ie 40 hours a week. However, if a party can prove that the other party has consistently worked more than 40 hours, whether that be overtime or multiple jobs, then the court can take the entire income earned into account when calculating child support. However, if overtime is rare, or a second job was just temporary, generally the courts will only use a calculation based on 40 hour weeks. In addition, if a party starts working extra after child support is ordered, in order to make ends meet or have a little extra money, that fact cannot be used to show an increase in income for Utah child support purposes. If you have questions you can contact Pearson Law Firm for a free consultation with an experienced Utah divorce attorney.
Imputing Income for Utah Child Support
If a party has not been recently employed, or simply refuses to work, then the court can impute income. This is the process wherein the court assigns income to a party. This ensures that a party does not purposely stay unemployed in order to lessen their Utah child support (if that party is the one paying child support) or increase child support (if that is the person receiving child support). The amount of income imputed is going to depend on the party's situation. Lets say the mother has been a stay-at-home mom for the last 15 years, and doesn't have the ability or experience to get a high paying job. In this situation usually the court will impute income at minimum wage, which is $7.25/hr. If a party has the clear ability to make more than minimum wage, then the court can impute income at a higher amount. This might be the case when a party has historically worked and made more than minimum wage, but is temporarily unemployed.
There are certain scenarios where a court will not require a party to work, or will not impute income. This may be the case if a party is physically or mentally unable to work, child care costs are such that a party would actually lose money by working instead of staying home with the children, a party is engaged in vocational training or education in order to get a better job and ultimately become more independent, or any other feasible circumstance.
Once gross income is determined and a custody order is in place, Utah child support is easy to calculate by using the Utah Child Support Calculator, click the link and simply input the requested information and the program will calculate the amount of child support owed.
Your attorney at Pearson Law Firm can help you determine your gross income and whether or not income should be imputed, and for how much. Contact Pearson Law Firm for a free consultation with an experienced Utah divorce attorney/child support attorney, 801-888-0991.
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Pearson Law Firm, PLLC
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