CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES

CS 403P Income Overview   

07/94 Revised  01/01/18 Training Completed 01/15/18

UCA 62A-11-103, 78B-12-102, 203, 204, 207, 215;  R527-255, R527-601

 

 

Introduction

 

Utah’s child support guidelines are defined at U.C.A. 78B-12-102(12) as:

 “. . . the directions for the calculation and application of child support in Part 2, Calculation and Adjustment.”  

 

Utah’s guidelines are based on the "Income Shares" model.  They use gross and adjusted incomes of both parents to determine the child support obligation for each parent. 

 

 

Statutory Definitions of “Income” for Guidelines Calculations

 

U.C.A.  78B-12-102 defines temporary as:

“ (22) "Temporary" means a period of time that is projected to be less than 12 months in duration.”

 

U.C.A. 78B-12-203.  Determination of gross income – Imputed income:

(1) As used in the guidelines, “gross income” includes prospective income from any source, including earned and nonearned income sources which may include salaries, wages, commissions, royalties, bonuses, rents, gifts from anyone, prizes, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, alimony from previous marriages, annuities, capital gains, Social Security benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment compensation, income replacement disability insurance benefits, and payments from “nonmeans-tested” government programs.

(2) Income from earned income sources is limited to the equivalent of one full-time 40-hour job.  If and only if during the time before the original support order, the parent normally and consistently worked more than 40 hours at the parent’s job, the court may consider this extra time as a pattern in calculating the parent’s ability to provide child support.

(3) Notwithstanding Subsection (1), specifically excluded from gross income are:

(a) cash assistance provided under Title 35A, Chapter 3, Part 3, Family Employment Program;

(b) benefits received under a housing subsidy program, the Job Training Partnership Act,  Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicaid, SNAP benefits, or General Assistance; and

(c) other similar means-tested welfare benefits received by a parent.

(4)

(a) Gross income from self-employment or operation of a business shall be calculated by subtracting necessary expenses required for self-employment or business operation from gross receipts.  The income and expenses from self-employment or operation of a business shall be reviewed to determine an appropriate level of gross income available to the parent to satisfy a child support award.  Only those expenses necessary to allow the business to operate at a reasonable level may be deducted from gross receipts.

(b) Gross income determined under this Subsection (4) may differ from the amount of business income determined for tax purposes.

(5)

(a) When possible, gross income should first be computed on an annual basis and then recalculated to determine the average gross monthly income.

(b) Each parent shall provide verification of current income.  Each parent shall provide year-to-date pay stubs or employer statements and complete copies of tax returns from at least the most recent year unless the court finds the verification is not reasonably available.  Verification of income from records maintained by the Department of Workforce Services may be substituted for pay stubs, employer statements, and income tax returns.

(c) Historical and current earnings shall be used to determine whether an underemployment or overemployment situation exists.

(6) Incarceration of at least six months may not be treated as voluntary unemployment by the office in establishing or modifying a support order.

(7) Gross income includes income imputed to the parent under Subsection (8).

(8)

(a) Income may not be imputed to a parent unless the parent stipulates to the amount imputed, the parent defaults, or, in contested cases, a hearing is held and the judge in a judicial proceeding or the presiding officer in an administrative proceeding enters findings of fact as to the evidentiary basis for the imputation.

(b) If income is imputed to a parent, the income shall be based upon employment potential and probable earnings considering, to the extent known:

(i) employment opportunities;

(ii) work history;

(iii) occupation qualifications;

(iv) educational attainment;

(v) literacy;

(vi) age;

(vii) health;

(viii) criminal record;

(ix) other employment barriers and background factors; and

(x) prevailing earnings and job availability for persons of similar backgrounds in the community.

(c) If a parent has no recent work history or a parent’s occupation is unknown, that parent may be imputed an income at the federal minimum wage for a 40-hour work week.  To impute a greater or lesser income, the judge in a judicial proceeding or the presiding officer in an administrative proceeding shall enter specific findings of fact as to the evidentiary basis for the imputation.

(d) Income may not be imputed if any of the following conditions exist and the condition is not of a temporary nature:

(i) the reasonable costs of child care for the parents’ minor children approach or equal the amount of income the custodial parent can earn;

(ii) a parent is physically or mentally unable to earn minimum wage;

(iii) a parent is engaged in career or occupational training to establish basic job skills; or

(iv) unusual emotional or physical needs of a child require the custodial parent’s presence in the home.

(9)

(a) Gross income may not include the earnings of a minor child who is the subject of a child support award nor benefits to a minor child in the child’s own right such as Supplemental Security Income.

(b) Social security benefits received by a child due to the earnings of a parent shall be credited as child support to the parent upon whose earning record it is based, by crediting the amount against the potential obligation of that parent.  Other unearned income of a child may be considered as income to a parent depending upon the circumstances of each case.

 

U.C.A. 78B-12-204.  Adjusted gross income:

“(1) As used in this chapter, "adjusted gross income" is the amount calculated by subtracting from gross income alimony previously ordered and paid and child support previously ordered.

(2) The guidelines do not reduce the total child support award by adjusting the gross incomes of the parents for alimony ordered in the pending proceeding. In establishing alimony, the court shall consider that in determining the child support, the guidelines do not provide a deduction from gross income for alimony.”

 

U.C.A. 78B-12-207.  Obligation – Adjusted gross income used:

“Adjusted gross income shall be used in calculating each parent's share of the base combined child support obligation. Only income of the natural or adoptive parents of the child may be used to determine the award under these guidelines.”

 

U.C.A. 78B-12-215.  Child care costs:

“(3) The court may impute a monthly obligation for child care costs when it imputes income to a parent who is providing child care for the minor child of both parties so that the parties are not incurring child care costs for the child. Any monthly obligation imputed under this section shall be applied towards any actual child care costs incurred within the same month for the child.”  (Emphasis added)

 

“R527-601-2.  Documentation of Income:

“When complete documentation of current income as required by Section 78B-12-203 is not available for both parents in an administrative default, participation, or stipulation proceeding, the office shall use the best evidence available to determine the appropriate child support award, in accordance with Section 78B-12-201.”

 

R527-601-3. Definition:

“Best evidence available shall include the following: an affidavit from a cooperating parent concerning the income of a parent who is not cooperating in providing documentation of his/her income; historical records including old tax returns, pay stubs, employer statements, or Department of Workforce Services records; market rate earned by persons with the same occupation as reported by the Department of Workforce Services; or the federal minimum wage.”