Can You Agree To Reduce Child Support In Utah?

Many people wonder if they can reduce child support obligations by negotiating with the other party. Perhaps one spouse wants to keep the house and offers to accept a lower child support payment if the other spouse agrees.

According to 78B Chapter 12 Section 201 of the Utah State Code, there is a legal minimum child support. You can agree to pay or accept more than the legal minimum, but cannot negotiate to lower child support payments below this minimum.

Check out this helpful video by a Ogden family law attorney for more details.

 

According to the attorney in this information video, the State of Utah enacted this law to protect the money that goes to care of the children.  Alimony and division of property are for the parents, but child support should not be used as a negotiation tool.

A couple tips presented in the video on ways to legally reduce child support costs are:

1. Work with the other party to divide parent time in such a way that overnights are closely distributed for Joint Physical Custody.  If one party is awarded Sole Physical Custody the other party will have to pay quite a bit more in child support.  The parties can agree to Joint Physical Custody with one party having more overnights than the other.  As the parties work together in shifting the amount of overnights each has, the amount of child support payments will also be adjusted.

2. Both parties can agree on income to be used when filing a divorce.  There may be overtime, part time jobs, or bonuses that the courts haven’t taken into consideration as income.  Parties can agree to exclude some of the income to help reduce child support payments.

In summary, child support payments can’t be reduced below the legal minimum just because the parents have agreed to it.  While these tips are meant to help with questions on Utah child support, you should contact a licensed attorney for expert advice on your particular legal issues.

Advice For Hiring A Divorce Attorney

Going through the divorce process can be a very stressful experience.  The right attorney can help answer your questions, provide a solid legal strategy, and give you some peace of mind.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when hiring a divorce attorney.

Does the attorney market themselves as aggressive?

Beware of any lawyer that focuses on aggression as their primary selling point.  While it’s true that you want someone that will advocate for you, an aggressive attorney may cause your divorce to drag on and end up costing you a lot more.

Some inexperienced attorneys use aggression to compensate for their lack of knowledge.  They can try to bury the opposing party with a high volume of unnecessary court filings or take unrealistic stances on various aspects of your case.

Judges have a good sense of what your state laws determine as an equitable distribution, and generally don’t appreciate attorneys that advocate for unreasonable results that have poor legal arguments to support them.

A good divorce attorney is one that focuses on being effective over being aggressive.  That means that they balance advocating for what you really want while also managing your expectations of what is possible.  Good attorneys are generally respected by Judges and other legal professionals in the community more than those who have a reputation as being aggressive.

What is the attorney’s billing policy?

It is important to understand how you will be billed for the work the lawyer will do on your case.  In traditional full-representation cases, a retainer of several thousand dollars is normally required for an attorney to begin working on your case.  After the retainer is depleted, if there is still ongoing litigation your attorney may require you to replenish your retainer or may switch to billing you monthly.

Stay away from any lawyer who offers a flat rate fee.  It is very difficult to predict how much litigation will be involved, how opposing party will react, and how the courts might rule.  A simple divorce may quickly have both sides agreeing and be able to wrap everything up in a matter of hours.  However most divorce cases are unpredictable.

If your attorney is working on a flat rate, it is in their best interest to spend as little time as possible working on your case.  There have been reports of people attending mediation and watching their attorney try multitask and work on other client cases instead of focusing on them.

Does the lawyer work alone or are they part of a law firm?

Many attorneys work on their own and do a good job.  However, there are some advantages of hiring an attorney that works in a law firm that specializes in divorce and family law.

First, they have an infrastructure where secretaries can make copies, and paralegals can draft documents and schedule appointments with the court.  Paralegals are billed out at a lower rate than attorneys, so if your attorney has no employees you are getting billed for tasks that don’t necessarily require an attorney do to them.

Second, legislation and case law can change and a law firm with multiple attorneys share knowledge, results, and opinions with each other.  It is not uncommon for sole practitioners to struggle with keeping up on current issues, especially if they don’t have support staff to help them out and are too busy to participate in a lot of ongoing training.

Ways to Protect Yourself from Adoption Fraud

Adoption is a long and meticulous process. It takes time, money and patience to see your dream of building a family fulfilled. Unfortunately, when couples are not careful, they may end up being scammed by irresponsible individuals or organizations. Your noble intention and willingness to love is not enough for a successful adoption. An understanding of the process and laws will help save you from a lot of heartache and headache.

What is Adoption Fraud?

adoptionAdoption fraud is when a certain party such as the birthmother or even the adoption agency has the intention to mislead the adopting party. 

For example, if the mother does not intend to finish the process, but allows the future parents to go through the process in order to receive some compensation, this is considered as fraud. Most frauds are motivated by money but some do it just for attention sake.

Adoption agencies that are charging too much or not disclosing necessary information to the potential parents is also considered as wrongful adoption.

What are the Red Flags for Adoption Fraud?

Scams can be avoided when prospective parents take the initiative to look for warning signs during the adoption process. When you see any red flags, this should encourage you to conduct thorough research before giving any money to any parties. A red flag is not an absolute indicator of a party deceiving, rather a sign for you to be extra careful and make the necessary steps.

Birthmother

  • If the person hesitates or refuses to coordinate with adoption professionals
  • Does not have prove of pregnancy
  • Not responding to your email or phone calls
  • Rushes you to topics that involve money

Adoption Agency

  • Does not return calls or emails
  • Rushes you to sign the documents without giving you proper explanations of the contract
  • Giving “too good to be true” promises
  • Offering false sense of assurance

What Are the Things You Can Do to Avoid Fraud?

Fortunately, there are things that you can do to avoid being deceived.  For agencies, you can check with the State Licensing to see if there are any complaints made against the adoption agency. Furthermore, Better Business Bureau provides guidelines to help people choose the right adoption agencies.

The Internet is a rich source of information. You can look at online review sites to see their experience with specific adoption agency. Join groups, pages and forums to get the latest updates on adoption frauds.

Interested foster parents are encouraged to hire a lawyer to help manage the adoption process.

Understand the laws surrounding adoption and learn about your rights. Even if you are hiring a lawyer for the process, it helps to learn about the law because it will guide you in the decision making process.

Ask successful adoptive parents about their experience with the adoption process. Take time to listen and note important elements that can hinder the progress. There are many local and online support groups that will young parents in their journey towards building a family.

Adoption fraud is not uncommon. It happens both in local and international settings and in can destroy the dreams of both parents and children. However, when proper measures are taken, this kind of tragedy can be avoided.