Utah Child Support Definitions

Definition of Gross Income.

(a) prospective income from any source, including nonearned sources, except under Subsection (3); and

(b) income from salaries, wages, commissions, royalties, bonuses, rents, gifts from anyone, prizes, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, alimony from previous marriages, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment compensation, disability insurance benefits, and payments from "nonmeans-tested" government programs.

(2) Income from earned income sources is limited to the equivalent of one full-time 40-hour job. However, if and only if during the time prior to the original support order, the parent normally and consistently worked more than 40 hours at his job, the court may consider this extra time as a pattern in calculating the parent’s ability to provide child support.

(3) Specifically excluded from gross income are:

(a) cash assistance provided under Title 35A, Chapter 3, Part 3, Family Employment Program;

(b) benefits received under a housing subsidy program, the Job Training Partnership Act, Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicaid, Food Stamps, or General Assistance; and

(c) other similar means-tested welfare benefits received by a parent.

(4) (a) Gross income from self-employment or operation of a business shall be calculated by subtracting necessary expenses required for self-employment or business operation from gross receipts. The income and expenses from self-employment or operation of a business shall be reviewed to determine an appropriate level of gross income available to the parent to satisfy a child support award. Only those expenses necessary to allow the business to operate at a reasonable level may be deducted from gross receipts.

(b) Gross income determined under this subsection may differ from the amount of business income determined for tax purposes.

(5) (a) When possible, gross income should first be computed on an annual basis and then recalculated to determine the average gross monthly income.

(b) Each parent shall provide verification of current income. Each parent shall provide year-to-date pay stubs or employer statements and complete copies of tax returns from at least the most recent year unless the court finds the verification is not reasonably available. Verification of income from records maintained by the Department of Workforce Services may be substituted for pay stubs, employer statements, and income tax returns.

(c) Historical and current earnings shall be used to determine whether an underemployment or overemployment situation exists.

(6) Gross income includes income imputed to the parent under Subsection (7).

(7) (a) Income may not be imputed to a parent unless the parent stipulates to the amount imputed or a hearing is held and a finding made that the parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed.

(b) If income is imputed to a parent, the income shall be based upon employment potential and probable earnings as derived from work history, occupation qualifications, and prevailing earnings for persons of similar backgrounds in the community.

(c) If a parent has no recent work history, income shall be imputed at least at the federal minimum wage for a 40-hour work week. To impute a greater income, the judge in a judicial proceeding or the presiding officer in an administrative proceeding shall enter specific findings of fact as to the evidentiary basis for the imputation.

(d) Income may not be imputed if any of the following conditions exist:

(i) the reasonable costs of child care for the parents’ minor children approach or equal the amount of income the custodial parent can earn;

(ii) a parent is physically or mentally disabled to the extent he cannot earn minimum wage;

(iii) a parent is engaged in career or occupational training to establish basic job skills; or

(iv) unusual emotional or physical needs of a child require the custodial parent’s presence in the home.

(8) (a) Gross income may not include the earnings of a minor child who is the subject of a child support award nor benefits to a minor child in the child’s own right such as Supplemental Security Income.

(b) Social Security benefits received by a child due to the earnings of a parent shall be credited as child support to the parent upon whose earning record it is based, by crediting the amount against the potential obligation of that parent. Other unearned income of a child may be considered as income to a parent depending upon the circumstances of each case.