The Appellate Group

Wadman v. Wadman

Wadman v. Wadman, 2023 UT 69 (Harris, J.)

Family Law

Benjamin and Trisha Wadman divorced in 1995. Their divorce decree ordered Benjamin to pay child support for Son, who was then a minor but is now in his thirties. In 2021, Trisha filed a petition with the district court asking for it to reinstate Benjamin’s child support obligation because Son is “incapacitated.” The district court dismissed her petition because it believed it could not order child support for a child older than 21. On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded because:

  • “Child” in Utah means, among others, “a son or daughter of any age who is incapacitated from earning a living” and “is not able to support self by own means,” Utah Code § 78B-12-102(7); and
  • The divorce decree’s failure to discuss Son’s incapacity does not extinguish Son’s right to child support at the motion to dismiss stage.
  • The court specifically noted that the issue of what happens if a child becomes incapacitated after a party’s child support obligation expires remains an open issue of law.

Read the full court opinion