Utah Child Support Guidelines

Family law courts in Utah determine how much child support a non-custodial parent (a parent who doesn't live with their minor child) is required to pay by using the state's child support guidelines. These guidelines take into consideration both parents' gross incomes and the number of children that they have together.

The court will follow the child support guidelines unless there is substantial evidence to rebut the guidelines. In order to determine whether or not to deviate from the guidelines the court will consider:

  • The standard of living of the parents
  • The relative wealth and income of the parents
  • The ability of the non-custodial parent to earn
  • The ability of the custodial parent to earn
  • The ability of an incapacitated adult child to earn, or other benefits received by an adult child
  • The needs of the custodial parent, the non-custodial parent, and the child
  • The ages of the parties, and
  • The responsibilities of the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent for the support of others

The following chart outlines the main aspects of Utah's child support guidelines.

Code Section

Utah Code section 78B-12-204 through 205: Child Support Guidelines

What's Gross Income?

Gross income includes perspective income from any source. For example: salaries, wages, commissions, royalties, bonuses, rents, gifts, prizes, dividends, severance pay, interest, alimony from a previous marriage, Social Security benefits, etc.

Gross income doesn't include means-tested welfare benefits that a parent receives.

What's Adjusted Gross Income?

 

Adjusted gross income is calculated by subtracting alimony previously ordered and paid and child support previously ordered from the parent's gross income.

Calculation of Obligations

Each parent's child support obligation is established in proportion to their adjusted gross incomes by following these steps:
  • Step 1: Combine the adjusted gross incomes of the parents
  • Step 2: Look up the base combined child support obligation using this chart
  • Step 3: Take the appropriate figure from the chart and multiply it by each parent's percentage of the combined adjusted gross income

Exceptions

The court won't follow the child support guidelines above if:
  • The parents have joint physical custody or split custody (see section 78B-12-102), or
  • The non-custodial parent's adjusted gross income is $1,050 or less per month

Imputed Income

In Utah, if a parent is unemployed or underemployed the court may impute an income on the parent in order to perform the child support calculations in the chart above. Imputed income is based on employment potential and probable earnings. This figure is calculated from employment opportunities, work history, occupation qualifications, and prevailing earnings for people of similar backgrounds in the community.

If a parent doesn't have recent work history, or if their occupation is unknown, then the court can impute income on the parent at the federal minimum wage for a 40-hour workweek. However, income can't be imputed if any of the following conditions exist (and aren't temporary in nature):

  • The reasonable costs of child care for the parents' minor children equals the amount of income that the custodial parent can earn
  • A parent is physically or mentally unable to earn the minimum wage, or
  • The unusual emotional or physical needs of a child requires the custodial parent to stay home and care for them

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information about Utah's child support guidelines contact a local family law attorney.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

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