Basics of Child Support
In Utah there are two kinds of physical custody: joint physical custody and sole physical custody. Child support is calculated differently depending on which type of physical custody you are awarded. There is a joint physical custody child support worksheet to calculate child support and there is a sole physical custody child support worksheet to calculate child support. Which child support worksheet is used determines what child support is intended to cover.
Before discussing what child is intended to cover, there are some things that are dealt with separate from child support in Utah. These three things are 1) health insurance premiums for the child, 2) out-of-pocket medical expenses for the child, and 3) work-related daycare expenses for the child. Each of these expenses are separate from the child support amount and parents are usually ordered to equally share these three expenses.
What Child Support Covers
When child support is calculated using the joint physical custody worksheet, then it is expected that both parents will contribute to extra-curricular expenses, school fees, school lunch, and clothing. How much those contributions are and how they are split between the parents is usually described in detail in the court order. Often parents will equally share agreed upon extra-curricular expenses and necessary school fees. Usually, each parent provides the child with clothing for his or her home and provides the child with school lunch or lunch money on the days the child attends school during his or her parent-time.
When child support is calculated using the sole physical custody worksheet, then it’s expected that the custodial parent will be responsible for the extra-curricular expenses, school fees, and school lunch. The child support paid by the non-custodial parent is intended to help cover these expenses.
What if I’m Owed Child Support?
If you are a parent who is owed child support, you have options to help you collect child support. You can always try to work out an arrangement with the other parent. You can also take legal action if the other parent refuses to make payments.
The Utah Department of Health and Human Services Office of Recovery Services (ORS)can help you collect on unpaid child support (arrears), as well as set up monthly income withholding to collect the new amount due each month.
What if I Can’t Afford Child Support?
If you are a parent struggling to make child support payments, options are available to you. You can ask the court or ORS to recalculate child support based if there has been a major change to your ability to earn. If you are a parent who is owed child support, don't be afraid to seek out the help you need. And if you are a parent who is struggling to make payments, know that there is help available..