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.