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Utah Court Records

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What is Child Support and When does it Occur in Utah?

Child support refers to the regular funds paid by one parent to another for the upkeep of a child. In Utah, public agencies such as the District Courts, Juvenile Courts, and the Office of Recovery Services (ORS), provide child support services to the public. The courts issue child support orders while the ORS assists families in obtaining and collecting support. Utah’s child support law ensures that children are adequately cared for until they come of age or graduate high school.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the document or person involved

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party websites may vary.

What is Utah Child Support?

Utah’s Child Support Act is indexed as Utah Code 78B–12–101 et seq. According to the definitions outlined in Section 78B–12–102(8), child support means the court-approved periodic payments made by non-custodial parents for the basic needs, care, and uninsured medical expenses of their child(ren). Under this law, child support can be ordered for a child who has not yet attained the legal age of 18 years and is not married, emancipated, self-supported, or in the United States Armed Forces. Also, a Juvenile or District Court can establish support for a ward who is above 18 years and still in high school, or is “incapacitated from earning a living” (disabled) and unable to self-support (dependent).

What Does Child Support Cover in Utah?

Per Utah Code 78B–12–108, child support covers costs necessary for a child’s well-being. Expenses covered by child support payments include food, clothing, medical (dental, health care, and insurance coverage), education, transportation, housing, and after-school activities.

What is the Average Child Support Payment in Utah?

Utah courts calculate child support payments according to the formula outlined in Utah Code Section 78B–12–301. This formula takes into consideration three main factors:

  • The parents’ gross monthly incomes
  • Total overnights, and
  • The number of children

The term, “overnight,” refers to the total number of times that a child stayed overnight with each parent, while gross income, as described by Utah Code 78B–12–203, refers to salaries/wages, bonuses, gifts, alimony from former marriages, severance pay, commissions, and other earned/unearned income sources.

Under this law, the court may impute income (allocate additional income to a parent and therefore, extra support obligation) upon the parent’s request, if the parent defaults, or if the case is contested. The court may also impute a non-working parent’s income if it deems that person capable of earning a particular amount monthly. This calculation is done using work histories, job opportunities, occupational qualifications, health, age, literacy, etc. of the non-working parent. However, if the parent meets any permanent condition outlined in Utah Code 78B–12–203(8)(d), the court will not impute a person’s income in support payments. These conditions are as follows:

  • Mental or physical impairment to earning a minimum wage
  • The parent is enrolled in an occupational or career training program to obtain basic job skills
  • The reasonable expenses/costs of child care are close or equal to the custodial parent’s income
  • The child has unusual physical or emotional needs that require the presence of the custodial parent at home

Depending on the number of children and the combined income of the parents, child support may range from $138 to $13,472. To get an estimation of child support payments, interested persons may use the ORS Child Support Calculator. However, self-represented parents who are involved in custody, divorce, or paternity proceedings will automatically have this amount calculated for them by the Online Court Assistance Program (OCAP).

Under Utah Code 78B–12–210, the court may deviate from the child support worksheet or formula if one or both parents show good cause or if the court finds a legitimate reason, for example, more children than is specified in the worksheet/formula.

How do I apply for Child Support in Utah?

Parents can apply for child support in Utah through the Office of Recovery Services (ORS). The ORS also provides child support services to the following persons:

  • Individuals who receive cash assistance/Medicaid from the Department of Health (DOH) or Department of Workforce Services (DWS)
  • Individuals who have stopped receiving Medicaid or cash assistance but are still receiving child support services
  • Persons with children in state custody who were referred to the ORS

The application for child support can be done online with the ORS Child Support Services Application. Alternatively, parents may print, complete, and sign the Application for Child Support Services form and mail it to the following address:

Office of Recovery Services
Child Support Services
PO Box 45033
Salt Lake City, UT 84145–0033
Phone: (801)536–8500

Instructions on completing the form and relevant documents to be attached are provided as well: on the form for persons who want to mail deliver their applications, and on the first page of the Child Support Services Application portal for online applicants. These documents include copies of birth certificates, death certificates/obituaries, paternity establishment documents, and support orders (paternity, divorce, temporary orders, and any modifications). It is important to complete the application and attach all necessary documents as the ORS does not process incomplete applications. To obtain information on the procedures and timeframes of the ORS after submission, read the Notice of Services manual. Furthermore, individuals may call any ORS Customer Service Unit to receive information about their open cases.

Parents involved in a divorce, annulment, temporary separation, paternity, or similar case may also obtain a support order from the Juvenile or District Court, depending on the court where the case was filed. Such persons may find relevant court forms and worksheets by scrolling to the bottom part of the Utah Judiciary’s Child Support page.

How do I Get Out of Paying Child Support in Utah?

While parents cannot completely get out of paying child support in Utah, it is possible to modify an order through the Office of Recovery Services or by petition to the court. Individuals who file a petition in court may hire a lawyer to pursue the action or file pro se (without a lawyer).

Two types of petitions can be filed with the court: a motion to adjust child support or a petition to modify child support. The motion to adjust should be filed if the conditions described in Utah Code 78B–12–210(8) are met:

  • Three years or more have passed since the order was entered
  • If the difference between the requested versus original support amount is at least 10%
  • If the reason for the motion or petition (difference) is not temporary
  • If the requested modification does not deviate from the statutory guidelines

Also, parents are not required to show a material change in their circumstances when filing a motion to adjust a support order.

If the above requirements are not met, the petition to modify should be filed. However, note that there are specific requirements:

  • An individual may file a petition if:
    • That person’s support order was issued within 3 or more years
    • The difference between the requested and original support order is 10% or higher (however, this difference must not be temporary), and,
    • The requested amount deviates from the original.
  • If the order was issued less than 3 years ago, the applicant must show a substantial change such as emancipation, custody, or others outlined in Utah Code 78B–12–210(9). Also, there must be at least a 15% difference between the appealed and original support amount, and this difference cannot be fleeting.

The court will also modify a petition if:

  • Expenses related to work or education change substantially
  • The child tax exemption amount changes
  • The child turns 18 years or becomes emancipated
  • The availability and coverage of reasonable health insurance changes

The court forms for filing a motion to adjust or petition to modify a support order can be obtained from the Utah Courts website. Comprehensive court procedures are available on the Modifying Child Support page.

What is Back Child Support in Utah?

As stated previously, child support refers to the regular payments made by one parent to the other for the care of a child. This sum may be paid weekly or monthly to the custodial parents. When anyone with a support order misses this payment, it is called back child support or arrears in Utah (UT Admin. Code R527–254–2)

How do I Get Back Child Support Paid in Utah?

In Utah, parents who default on child support payments may be subject to wage garnishments, fines, license suspensions, lottery winnings offsets, tax refunds intercepts, and even jail time. Custodial parents can typically collect back child support through the Office of Recovery Services or by petitioning the court to begin a contempt hearing with a Motion and Declaration for Order to Show Cause. This form is available on the Utah Courts website.

Is there a Utah Statute of Limitation on Child Support?

Yes, the State of Utah has a statute of limitations for back child or past-due child support orders under Utah Code § 78B–5–202(6). According to this law, back child support/arrears may be enforced within 4 years after the youngest child turns age 18, or 8 years from the date that the support order was entered. The 8-year duration applies to every child support order.

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