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When can a child support order be modified in a Utah divorce?

Child support can be one of the most hotly contested issues in a divorce action.  Under Utah law, even after a "final" order is entered in a divorce, a child support order can be modified under certain conditions.  Depending on th specific details of your case, Utah courts may require either a "motion" to modify child support or a "petition" to modify child support.  The request to modify the child support order may be made by a parent or legal guardian, or in some cases by the State.  An experienced Utah family law attorney can help you successfully navigate the legal processes involved.

A motion to modify child support may be filed under Utah Code section 78B-12-210(8) if it has been more than three years since the child support order was issued or modified.  In addressing the motion, the court must first make a determination as to whether there is a difference between the payor's ordered child support amount and the amount that would be required under Utah's child support guidelines.  If the difference is 10% or more, the difference is not temporary in nature, and the proposed order does not deviate from the guidelines, then the court may enter a modified child support order reflecting the guideline amount.  Under this section of the code, the moving party does need to show a "substantial change in circumstances."

If less than three years has elapsed since the child support order was entered or modified, then Utah Code section 78B-12-210(9) requires that a petition be filed with the court.  This petition must demonstrate that there has been a substantial change in circumstances.  Utah law considers the following to be substantial changes in circumstances: 1) material changes in custody of the child or children; 2) material changes of 30% or more in the income of a parent; 3) material changes in the wealth or assets of the parties; 4) material changes in the medical needs of the child; 5) material changes in the employment potential and ability of a parent to earn; or 6) material changes in the legal responsibilities of either parent for the support of others.  If a Utah court determines that there has been a substantial change in circumstances, the court must then re-evaluate the support obligations under Utah's child support guidelines.  If the difference between the existing order and the new guideline amount is 15% or more, and that difference is not temporary in nature, then the court should adjust the child support order to the amount provided for in the guidelines.

Finding a Utah Divorce Attorney for Child Support in Salt Lake City

If you are facing a divorce action or a request to modify a child support order, contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.


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