This page includes information and forms for modifying child support in an existing divorce, custody or parentage order. If your order is from another state or the child or parents live outside of Utah, see the Out of State Issues section below.
The forms on this page are only about modifying child support. You might need to modify other aspects of your final order. If you need to:
If you need to modify your divorce decree for something not related to children, see our page on Modification of a Divorce Decree.
When You Can Ask to Change Child Support
You can only change the amount of child support if the difference in the currently ordered child support amount and the proposed child support amount is at least 10%. You can use the child support calculator to help you determine the new amount.
The change cannot be temporary. Temporary means that the change is expected to last less than one year.
Motion or Petition?
There are two ways to ask the court to change child support – a Motion to Adjust and a Petition to Modify. A motion is simpler and usually faster, but can only be used in limited circumstances. Usually, you must file a petition. The documents and procedures are different. Be sure to use the correct forms in the Forms section below.
Motion to Adjust Child Support
A child support order can be adjusted by motion if it has been three or more years since the order was entered and:
- there is a difference of 10% or more between the support amount as ordered and the support amount as required under the guidelines; and
- the difference is not temporary; and
- the proposed child support amount is consistent with the guidelines.
See Utah Code Section 78B-12-210(8). If any of these things is missing from your case, you must file a Petition to Modify Child Support.
Petition to Modify Child Support
A child support order can be modified by petition, but there are limitations. The requirements depend on whether it has been at least three years since the order was entered.
If it has been three or more years since the order was entered:
- there must be a difference of 10% or more between the support amount currently ordered and the proposed support amount as required under the guidelines.
- the proposed child support amount does not have to be consistent with the guidelines in order to file the petition.
The change cannot be temporary.
See Utah Code Section 78B-12-210(8).
If it has been less than three years since the order was entered, there must be at least a 15% difference between the support amount currently ordered and the proposed support amount required under the guidelines. You must also show that there has been a material change:
- in custody; or
- in the relative wealth or assets of the parties; or
- of 30% or more in the income of a parent; or
- in the employment potential and ability of a parent to earn; or
- in the medical needs of the child; or
- in the legal responsibilities of a parent for the support of others; or
- in the availability or cost of health care coverage; or
- in work-related or education-related child care expenses of the payor or the payee of child support; or
- due to the emancipation of a child.
The change cannot be temporary.
See Utah Code Section 78B-12-210(9).
A child support order can also be modified by petition at any time if:
Process for a Petition to Modify
Complete the documents
Either party can request a modification. The party asking for the modification files the forms in the Forms section below.
No matter who is asking for the modification, whoever was the petitioner in the original case is still the petitioner, and whoever was the respondent in the original case is still the respondent.
Domestic Relations Injunction
When a petition to modify is filed, the court will automatically issue an order called a Domestic Relations Injunction. The injunction is a court order requiring parties not to harass one another, change insurance or beneficiary coverage, transfer property or make non-routine travel with the parties' minor children while the case is pending. There are additional prohibitions in the injunction. Be sure to read it carefully.
The injunction is effective for the petitioner when the case is filed. The injunction is effective for the respondent when the petitioner gets a copy to them. See the Domestic Relations Injunction web page for more information.
File the documents
The party asking for the modification must file the documents in the same court that issued the decree. The documents will use the same case number as the decree. For information about how to file documents, see the Filing Procedures web page.
The party asking for the modification must pay a filing fee when they file the papers with the court. If they cannot afford the fees they can ask the judge to waive them. For more information, see the Fees and Fee Waiver web page.
Have the documents served
The party asking for the modification must have the other party served with the petition to modify, summons, and other documents no later than 120 days after the petition is filed. The documents must be served by one of the methods described in Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 4(d). The party asking for the modification must provide proof of service once service has been completed. For more information about service, see the Serving Papers web page.
The other party has 21 days (if they were served in Utah) or 30 days (if they were served outside of Utah) to respond to ("answer") the petition to modify if they disagree with anything stated in the petition. For more information, see the Answering a Complaint or Petition web page.
The other party's options