Child Support Income

What counts as income for child support cases in Utah?

It should come as no surprise that Utah state guidelines require both parents to be financially responsible for supporting their children. However the amount that is owed depends on the a variety of factors. For example, the number of children, the custody arrangements, and the income of either parent are all calculated when determining what a parent will have to pay for child support. Computation of child support involves a three-step process. First, the court will determine the income and expenses of both parties involved. Secondly, the state determines the income of the parent who is legally obligated to pay child support, known as the oblige, and the needs of the children involved. In the third and final step, the court will determine an appropriate amount of support based on those needs and the ability of the obligatory to pay. This sometimes creates a situation where the parent receiving child support will sometimes get more child support from a spouse, than another parent with the same amount of children. This is because payment is based on the income received by the parent paying child support.

So what counts as income?

The definitions of income and expenses vary on a state to state basis. This also applies to what guidelines are followed. Most states will determine a specific definition of income for the parent who has control over his or her income stream. Income from self-employment, rent, royalties, proprietorship of a business, or joint ownership of a business or closely held corporation, includes gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce specific income. Below is a list of some of the items that may count as gross income during a child support case in Utah:

  • Salaries, including wages, tips, commissions, bonuses, profit sharing, deferred compensation, and severance pay.
  • Income from contractual agreements, pensions, annuities, social security, capital gains, trust or real estate.
  • Income from investments and interest, veterans, G.I., National Guard or reserve benefits.
  • Income from insurance benefits, workers compensation, unemployment, strike pay, or disability insurance benefits.
  • Salaries, including wages, tips, commissions, bonuses, profit sharing, deferred compensation, and severance pay.
  • Prizes, gifts, grants, lottery or gambling winnings.
  • Income from a spouse that directly reduces expenses of the paying parent.
  • Alimony that is received from an addition person other than the paying parent.

Non-money items

Income can also include many non-money items or “perks” such as free housing, using a company vehicle, or any type of reimbursed expenses. That being said, child support guidelines will use whatever form of income they can get, and consider all possible financial sources available. Certain states are in discussion as to whether or not to include “unrealized income” some of these include: IRA’s, gains from un-exercised stock options, retained earnings from a corporations or partnership, income from a trust, or any capital gains.

All things considered, if either party feels that the guidelines determined are unfair, or should be increased or decreased for any reason you can talk with the courts and ask for an adjustment. They will review all information and make a decision based on that information. Usually if there is a substantial change of income for either party the amount will then be readjusted. If you would like more information, or would like to determine what your child support payments could be based on your income please review the following link: child support calculator.
Your first step in opening a case, or finding out any specific information is to contact the Utah Department of Human Services Office of Recovery Services (ORS) they can help with establishing paternity, locating an absent parent, and enforce support orders.