Child Support Review and Adjustment: FAQs
What Does ORS Look for with Review and Adjustment?
We want to know what has changed since the current order was made. The most common changes relate to a parent’s income or employment.
Changes since the current order cannot be considered temporary. Here, “temporary” means the changes should last less than 12 months.
If the child support order has changed in the last 3 years, there must be a significant change in circumstances, and the new changes have to make the child support order amount at least 15 percent higher or lower than the current amount. Otherwise, the order amount will stay the same.
If the child support order has not changed in the last 3 years, new changes have to make the child support order amount at least 10 percent higher or lower than the current amount. Otherwise, the order amount will stay the same.
What Counts as a “Change in Circumstances”?
- Permanent changes to custody for the children on the order
- Permanent changes in the amount of money a parent earns
- Permanent changes in the ability of a parent to earn money. For example: a parent developing a disability
- Permanent change in the medical needs of the child
- Changes in the legal responsibilities of the parent. For example: a child emancipating
What Counts as Income for Review and Adjustment?
We look at the income that would come from one full-time job. To calculate that, we sometimes need to combine multiple part-time jobs.
Social Security benefits, worker's compensation, and disability insurance benefits count as income.
Overtime and part-time jobs over the equivalent of one full-time job do not count as income here unless they were included in the original order. We view these as temporary increases in income.
Similarly, benefits from Cash Assistance, Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI), and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) do not count as income.
Can ORS Change an Existing Judicial Child Support Order?
Yes, ORS can change existing judicial child support orders.
ORS works with the State of Utah Attorney General’s Office to petition the court for the people on the order. Our involvement does not change the judicial process or make it go more quickly.
What If a Parent Has a Protective Order or Similar Protections in Place?
ORS reviews and adjusts child support orders while respecting protective orders. We will not disclose any safeguarded information.
ORS encourages parents with protective orders and other protections to apply for and participate in the review and adjustment process.
What If a Parent Is Incarcerated?
When ORS learns that a person who pays child support will be incarcerated for more than 180 days, the law requires us to start a review process.
This process may lead us to lower the child support amount during incarceration. If this happens, the order will not change again until that person has been released. Once the person is released, we adjust the amount back up to a predetermined amount.
Does ORS Review and Adjust Orders without Being Requested?
Yes, in addition to incarceration, other situations can lead us to review orders. Some common situations when we do this include:
- Adding a medical insurance requirement to an order that was missing one
- Changes in state or federal laws
- A court order telling ORS to review an order for adjustment
Can ORS Determine the Best Interest of the Child as Part of the Review and Adjustment Process?
No, ORS cannot decide about the best interests of the child in this process.
The law only allows us to review and adjust child support or medical support. Visitation, custody, or any other issues are decided by the court, and ORS does not assist with those issues.
How Long Does the Review and Adjustment Process Take?
ORS tries to complete the review and adjustment process in 180 days. It can take longer if another state is involved or depending on how court hearings are scheduled.