The courts usually try to avoid bringing in children for testimony as much as possible. If a judge felt like the testimony of a child was going to be necessary, they most often look to appoint guardian ad litem. A Guardian ad litem is an attorney or other professional who talks with the child and then presents what the child wants to the judge and explains their own view of what’s best for the child. Sometimes if the court’s going to hear testimony from the child, the judge will hold a meeting with the child in the judge’s office. Parents and their attorneys may be permitted to view the interview, and may even be able to submit questions to the judge before or during the interview. These types of interviews are rare, because they can still be traumatizing to children. Ultimately, the court wants to avoid putting children in a situation where they are feeling like they must choose between their parents. Thus, they do what they can to keep children out of the witness seat.
I THINK THIS SHOULD BE A COMPLETELY SEPARATE ARTICLE. A child testifying has no real connection to child support.
What Expenses Does Child Support Cover Or Should It Cover?
Child support covers everything except for extracurricular activities, medical expenses and child care. Every decree will have separate provisions for extracurricular activities, medical bills and child care costs. With primary physical custody, child support is going to cover things like school lunch and school clothes. It’s designed to help cover the cost of housing, food, and other material necessities.
With joint physical custody, the courts will require a joint effort in paying for the child’s extracurricular activities and medical expenses, or any other expenses not covered by child support.
Does The Paying Parent Have Any Say In How The Child Support Is Spent Or Is There Any Proof Required Or Anything Like That?
There is a Utah statute stating a parent paying child support can request information from the receiving parent to know how child support money is being spent. The statute allows a judge to make modifications to the child support amounts if there are issues with how it’s being spent.
How Is Child Support Enforced In Utah? What Happens If The Paying Parent Is Not Making The Payments?
If a parent stops paying child support, the receiving parent can file a motion to enforce payment. The other parent then must come to court and explain why they’re not making the payment. If there’s not a good reason, the court can impose penalties. They may impose fines, jail time, or other judgments for non-paid support. Non-payment of support can result in the suspension of driving privileges as well as the ability to get a hunting or fishing license.
A parent can also work with ORS (Office of Recover Services) to get child support payments enforced. Normally, ORS is very good at collecting child support. However, the enforcement aspect is the more difficult part because there’s no way to fully enforce payments without going back to court. It then becomes an additional expense for people who are not getting child support and may create a frustrating cycle. Since child support is often a critical part of how people provide for their families, if someone stops receiving child support, they may become unable to pay court fees to attempt to enforce their payments.
Most of the time, if you’re going to court to enforce a prior order, the court will require the non-paying parent to reimburse your attorney’s fees, which helps. Plus, once there are child support judgments, they can start to recoup that through tax returns.
There are some additional steps ORS can take for you as well. For example, ORS can start imposing garnishments on their wages, allowing you to collect support through payroll deductions.
What Is The Role Of ORS Regarding Child Support In Utah?
ORS makes sure that child support in Utah gets paid. They do collection work, and they will do modification work on your support order if yours hasn’t been modified in the last 3 years. They will also pull tax returns and W2s to determine whether a child support change is warranted. If the amount of child support debt is significant, meaning around $40,000 or more, then they’ll also involve the attorney general’s office and start pursuing people for criminal non-support. This will quickly encourage people to pay because their only other option is to go to prison.
For more information on Family Law in Utah, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (801) 784 6250 today.
“Sentinel Law Group has some great attorneys. I’ve had clients that I work with in mortgages that have worked with these guys and they do a great job. I found them to be very responsive and helpful with the things that we needed and their clients were well taken care of at this law office. I have recommended them to my clients who are considering divorce.”