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How to Navigate the Utah Child Support System

On behalf of Gregory W. Stevens, Attorney at Law posted in Injuries on Wednesday, October 26, 2016.

Having to demand child support from a former partner is a stressful situation. Although people often expect that the parent of their child will take one's obligations seriously, there are many times that a child support order is necessary.

In Utah, child support matters are handled by the Office of Recovery Services (ORS), an agency that is part of the Utah Department of Human Services. ORS provides services to approximately 130,000 children and handles between 70,000 and 80,000 individual child support cases.

ORS provides a wide variety of child support-related services such as establishing paternity and locating a non-custodial parent in order to enforce a child support order.

Privacy in a Child Support Case

Filing a case with ORS can raise some privacy concerns. The privacy of a parent and child may be a sensitive issue, particularly in cases involving domestic violence or stalking. When ORS takes on a case, it will send the names and social security numbers of parents to the Federal Case Registry, where the information can be accessed by other authorized agencies, including the child support agencies of other states.

There are also situations when ORS will release a parent's address, but you can contest the release of this information.

ORS is Not Your Lawyer

It is important to remember that ORS is not a replacement for an attorney and cannot provide all of the valuable services of an experienced family law attorney. ORS also decides on the actions it will take in your case, including possible civil or criminal actions. Speaking with an attorney gives you a very powerful advocate and can help ensure that the best interests of your child are adequately represented.

Child Support Calculations

Child support is calculated using a specific formula that is provided in the state child support guidelines. Deviations from the guidelines can happen, but are not the norm. Although an attorney is not required to file for child support, a lawyer can help simplify the process for you and make sure that you receive all of the support to which your child is entitled.

Why Attorneys Matter in Child Support Cases

Navigating the child support system can be complicated, which is why it is important to speak with an experienced family law attorney about your case. The amount of child support to which you are entitled may vary depending on the particular facts of your situation. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to explore all of your legal options under competent legal advice.

Your lawyer can perform the child support calculation to determine the amount of support to which your children are entitled. A family law attorney can also file a child support motion or petition on your behalf to initiate child support or increase the amount that you receive. In situations where a parent does not want to meet one's child support obligations, tools such as wage garnishment may be effective. An attorney can explain the wage garnishment process and assist you with ensuring that your children receive the support that they deserve.