You’ve been divorced for a few years now.
Your ex was ordered to pay you child support, and he’s been paying the same amount every month.
But you heard he got a new job, and you’re pretty sure he makes more money now than he did when you divorced.
He takes more trips. He has a more expensive car. He just seems to be doing better than he was.
Problem is there’s not much of a chance he’ll tell you how much he makes, because if he makes more, he may have to pay more in child support.
What can you do?
You have a few options.
First, if your ex is paying through the Office of Recovery Services (ORS), and it’s been more than three years since the court signed your divorce decree, you can ask that ORS recalculate child support.
(You can ask for recalculation if it’s been less than three years, but ORS may say no.)
To complete its analysis, ORS will ask for you and your ex for current pay stubs, and it will use those numbers to determine if child support should be changed.
Of course, this means if your income has gone up, that will be figured in. But here’s the thing, if you have most of the parent-time with your child, then what you make doesn’t affect what your ex will pay in child support by very much at all.
Second, you could ask your ex for his pay stubs.
If you have a good relationship with your ex, you can always ask for his pay stubs and see if he’ll give them to you. If he will, you can use Utah’s online child support calculator to determine what the new child support amount should be.
When you determine the new number, you can file with the court to change child support. And since your ex gave you his pay stubs willingly, he’ll probably agree to the change, so the court process will be quick and easy.
Third, file with the court to change child support.
This route makes a lot of sense if your ex won’t give you his pay stubs and generally stonewalls you on child support.
Filing to change child support will force him to give you his tax returns and pay stubs (through a process called initial disclosures), so you can see exactly what he makes.
When you receive those documents, you can put the income data in the online child support calculator, and see exactly where the new child support should be.
At that point, it should be pretty clear to everyone what your ex would pay. Coming to an agreement is usually pretty easy at that point.
(Tip: Sometimes, it’s like pulling teeth to get tax returns and pay stubs from exes. One trick we’ve found effective for dealing with this that when you file your documents with the court, say that your ex makes some really high income. You’re pretty sure he doesn’t actually make that much, but you’re not sure, so go for it. When your ex sees a monthly income way above what he actually makes, he will give you whatever documents you want to prove he makes much less than what you said.)
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If you find yourself facing a Utah divorce or paternity situation, please call 801.685.9999 for an in-person consultation, or use our online scheduling tool.