Child Support and Alimony in Utah: Income from a Second Job

Here’s a question that you may not have ever thought to ask if you or a loved one are going through a divorce and you and your spouse are the parents of minor children: Is income from a second or side job included in my income for child support and or alimony calculation purposes?

Some of you may be thinking, “Child support should be calculated based upon all of each parent’s income, and alimony calculations should be no different.” And that would be a very reasonable position to take, but that is not the law in the state of Utah.

Utah law is clear that the “Income from earned income sources is limited to the equivalent of one full-time 40-hour job. If and only if during the time before the original support order, the parent normally and consistently worked more than 40 hours at the parent’s job, the court may consider this extra time as a pattern in calculating the parent’s ability to provide child support.” See Utah Code § 78B-12-203(2).

So, you would certainly not be considered crazy if you believed that the same policy could and should apply to the calculation of alimony in Utah, but, in fact, it does not. See the Utah Court of Appeals case of Breinholt v. Breinholt (905 P.2d 877, 880-881 (Utah Ct.App. 1995)):

It is well established in Utah law that when determining an alimony award, “it is appropriate and necessary for a trial court to consider all sources of income that were used by the parties during their marriage to meet their self-defined needs, from whatever source—overtime, second job, self-employment, etc., as well as unearned income.” Crompton v. Crompton, 888 P.2d 686, 690 (Utah App.1994) (emphasis added). See also Paffel v. Paffel, 732 P.2d 96, 102 (Utah 1986) (holding trial *881 court did not abuse its discretion by considering payor’s spouse’s income in determining payor’s ability to pay alimony); Yelderman v. Yelderman, 669 P.2d 406, 409 (Utah 1983) (court considered income sources in addition to employment income in determining alimony); Osguthorpe v. Osguthorpe, 804 P.2d 530, 534 (Utah App.1990) (same); Ruhsam v. Ruhsam, 742 P.2d 123, 125–26 (Utah App.1987) (holding that retirement and disability pay properly considered in addition to employment income in determining alimony).

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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