If you are unmarried and are now facing child support issues, having an experienced attorney as your guide can be the best step you can take toward making sure that you are able to effectively pursue the resolution you need.
Turn to the Law Office of David Pedrazas, PLLC, for the skill and experience you need with your child support case for unmarried couples.
A growing number of parents are choosing to forego marriage when they start a family. For those parents, a separation can be the beginning of a process where many questions that would normally be answered in a divorce are answered, including:
In addition to these issues, paternity may need to be settled as well if the father’s name is not on the birth certificate or there has not been a genetic test yet.
All of these issues can be rolled into a paternity or parentage action where child custody and visitation are established along with paternity and the determination of appropriate child support levels.
Experienced Family Law Representation Dedicated To Protecting Your Rights And Best Interests
At the Law Office of David Pedrazas, PLLC, attorney David Pedrazas has more than 20 years of experience helping people overcome challenging family law situations such as child-related issues for unmarried couples. Having handled more than 1,000 divorce and other family law cases, David has the skill and experience you need to effectively resolve your child support issues.
Under Utah law, both parents are required to support their children financially. This applies to unmarried parents as well as married couples. Child support is the routine payment ordered by the family court, for financial support of a parent’s minor child(ren). It is meant to protect children from the financial consequences of their parents separating or divorcing. Utah typically requires child support from the noncustodial parent. In cases in which neither parent has custody, and the child is living with a relative, for example, the state requires both parents to pay child support.
Your family law attorney can help you through the complex process of determining child support in the Utah court system, to ensure that you will be paying or receiving the appropriate amount under the law. Here are answers to frequently asked questions about child support in cases in the state of Utah involving unmarried parents:
FAQ: Utah Child Support for Unmarried Couples
Establishing paternity can serve to clarify a parent’s responsibility under the law to provide financial support, legally entitle a child to be added to either parent’s medical insurance plan, and confirm other rights and duties of parents and benefits for the child.
For more in-depth information about paternity, custody, visitation, and other issues regarding rights and responsibilities of unmarried parents in matters of Utah child support law, visit the Utah Courts website, or consult with your Utah child support lawyer.
Child support payments are calculated in an amount sufficient to provide a child with shelter, food, education, childcare, and other necessities. It also is meant to provide nonessentials to maintain the kind of lifestyle to which the children were accustomed during the time their parents were married.
In the family courts of Utah, there is a standard formula for calculating the amount of child support to be paid. Use the Child Support Worksheet and the Utah child support calculator, to help better understand the process. The amount to be paid varies based on custody arrangements, among other factors.
Under Utah law, parents have a legal responsibility to provide financial support for their children. A parent’s legal obligation to pay child support continues until the minor becomes emancipated, gets married, or turns 18 years of age, or completes high school, whichever of the latter two occurs latest.
In certain circumstances, the family court may order a parent to keep paying child support after the child becomes age 18, for example, if a child is disabled and continues to be a dependent. Child support discontinues if the court removes the child of age 18 or older from disability status.
College expenses are viewed as a form of child support, according to Utah law, and are subject to enforcement, and to potential modification, and/or termination. For example, if a child lives at school, child support may be reduced. There is not a standard formula for precisely calculating child support for college expenses. The amount is determined by a judge, based on the particulars of each case. In Utah, college tuition, books, travel, medical costs, and other school-related expenses can be included in orders for child support.
Judges may also consider the parents’ finances as well as other resources available to students, like scholarships and/or grants. Child support for college expenses is still paid directly to the custodial parent, not to the student.
Being required to pay for a child’s college expenses through a child support order means a non-custodial parent can be legally obliged to continue child support payments even after a child becomes age 18, although the usual age of emancipation for non-students is 18.
Child support is intended to be used for a child’s needs, but it can also be used to cover more than the basic necessities. There are many types of expenses involved in raising a child. There are no specifications in Utah law identifying which costs can be covered by child support funds. The parent receiving child support may use the money received in whatever way she or he decides is in the child’s interest if the child’s essential needs are being met.
Extracurricular activities, child care, transportation, education-related expenses, such as tuition, school supplies, even college expenses can be covered using child support. Whatever needs a child has can be paid for using money received for child support.
The custodial parent is legally required to prioritize the children’s best interests, to provide them with a healthy and happy life. This includes providing housing, clothing, food, education, and many other essentials for a stable life. It’s understood that custodial parents may pamper their children occasionally. However, overall, child support should be used to benefit the child. Parents who misuse money received for child support may be charged with a crime of child abuse or neglect.
It may be possible to obtain a child support modification if a parent has been financially irresponsible. An investigation may become necessary, to prove negligence or abuse. To pursue this course, you will need to work with David Pedrazas is reputedly the best child support lawyer Utah has to offer. If the court finds that there has been a significant change in circumstances and that the child’s best interests would be served by a modification of support, the judge may order it.
Child support payments are paid directly to the custodial parent or other people who have custody of the child. Support payments are issued by the timeline established by the court — weekly, monthly, etc. Consult with your family law attorney for advice on how to pay, or collect your child support payments.
The court order for child support payments can be modified later if circumstances for either of the parents have significantly changed. The Office of Recovery Services/Child Support Services (ORS/CSS) will review the case, and decide whether or not it is appropriate to modify the amount.
Child support modifications are not usually allowed more frequently than every three years from the original order or from the last modification date. To estimate what the modified child support amount could be if approved, use the Utah Courts’ pre-review packet to help calculate.
Some potentially acceptable reasons for a family court judge to modify an existing child support order include these, among others:
- Job loss, temporary financial difficulties resulting in a significant decrease in the noncustodial parent’s income (normally at least 10%).
- Significant increase in the child’s medical, educational, or other expenses.
- Either parent experiencing financial hardship because of illness or disability.
Obtaining a child support modification in Utah is a complex matter that is difficult to complete successfully without an experienced Utah child support modification lawyer to help you navigate the legal system. See Utah Code, Section 78B-12-210(8) for more information on the relevant statutes.
Generally speaking, child support obligations cannot be discharged under Chapter 7 bankruptcy. So, a parent cannot escape responsibility for child support through bankruptcy. Further, bankruptcy does not serve as a hold or stay on any legal action to determine paternity or to establish the obligation to pay child support or to modify a current child support order. Even under Chapter 13, child support is viewed as a top priority debt that cannot be eliminated through the discharge of bankruptcy.
Attorney David Pedrazas, Salt Lake City, UT
David Pedrazas has been helping people obtain favorable resolutions of Utah child support issues and other family law matters for over 20 years. He works to ensure that everything possible under the law is done to achieve a favorable outcome for you and your family. David has been named as a top Salt Lake City divorce attorney by both the American Academy of Trial Attorneys and the National Academy of Family Law Association.
For more details about Utah child support for unmarried couples, or to set an appointment, contact the Law Office of David Pedrazas PLLC, Salt Lake City, Utah.