Child Support in Nevada

Information about child support laws, modification and enforcement in Nevada.

Both Parents are Responsible for Child Support

In Nevada, both parents must cover the costs involved in raising a child. This includes support payments, health care, and education expenses. While each parent must contribute to the child’s wellbeing, usually only one parent actually makes child support payments. This tends to be the non-custodial parent. In situations where the parents share joint or split custody, however, the parent with more income pays support. This isn’t meant to punish the higher-earning parent. It simply protects the child’s standard of living in two separate households.

In most circumstances, the amount of a child support payment depends on the number of children, the gross monthly income of both parents, and the custody arrangement. You can estimate your fair share of support by the percentages and table below, but a court must approve (and order) a final amount. By the same token, a court can adjust the amount of support if these standards provide a number that would be unfair to a parent or the child.

Gross Income Used for Child Support

Nevada state law requires parents to pay a set percentage of their individual gross monthly income, up to a certain point, to child support.  Gross monthly income  is all income received each month. Typically, this includes your salary, wages, bonuses and commissions from your job, but also any pension or severance pay. If you are self-employed, then it is all your income before taxes or contributions to retirement, a pension, or to personal expenses, but you can deduct all legitimate business expenses.

Your gross monthly income could also be money that comes from any royalties, dividends, or a trust, among other things. If you are unemployed, chances are you still have income for child support purposes in the form of social security, workers’ compensation, unemployment or disability benefits.  Veteran’s benefits count too, and a court could even include overtime or money from a second job.

Likewise, a court has the authority to impute income to a parent who is voluntarily unemployed or unemployed unless that parent has a good excuse. For example, if a parent has a disability that prevents employment, then this parent will not be held responsible for additional income. A deadbeat parent, on the other hand, can't avoid support payments by refusing to work.

Calculating Child Support

Although the state legislature may change the following numbers from year to year, here are the percentages of gross monthly income required for child support in 2013:

  • for one child, 18%
  • for two children, 25%
  • for three children, 29%
  • for four children, 31%, and
  • for each additional child, an additional 2%.

The state sets a minimum, monthly child support payment at $100. The presumptive maximums (meaning, the law assumes that a parent does not need to pay more than a set, maximum amount per child unless proven differently) limit the amount of support as follows:

If the parent’s gross monthly income is at least

but less than

then the presumptive maximum required per month, per child is:

$0 -

$4,168

$500

$4,168 -

$6,251

$550

$6,251 -

$8,334

$600

$8,334 -

$10,418

$650

$10,418 -

$12,501

$700

$12,501 -

$14,583

$750

Where only the non-custodial parent makes payments, you multiply the appropriate percentage with the non-custodial parent’s gross monthly income to determine the amount of support.

If parents share joint custody (where the child lives in both parent’s homes for equal or nearly equal amounts of time) or split custody (where the parents divide the kids between them – mom takes the older child while dad has the younger child, for example) you need to do this calculation with each parent’s gross monthly income. Once you have the products, subtract the lesser from the greater amount to determine support payments that the higher-earning parent must pay.

Remember, however, that the cost of medical, educational, or other expenses will increase your share of child support. In most circumstances, both parents must split unreimbursed health care expenses equally

Challenging the Amount of Support

Before ordering support, a court has to assume that the amount of support calculated by the percentages above and not exceeding the presumed maximums is the appropriate amount for a child. Sometimes, however, the percentage of support or the way that number is divided between the parents is unfair to a parent or the child. Before a child support order is in place, either parent can ask to adjust the amount. Then, a court will review the following factors to adjust the amount of child support either up or down:

  • the cost of health insurance
  • the cost of child care
  • the child’s special educational needs
  • the child’s age
  • either parent’s legal responsibility to support others
  • the value of services contributed by either parent
  • any public assistance paid to support the child
  • any expenses reasonably related to the mother’s pregnancy
  • travel-related expenses for visitation
  • the amount of time the child spends with each parent
  • any other necessary expenses for the child’s benefit, and
  • the relative income of both parents.

Modifying the Amount

Once a child support order has been in place for three years, you can ask the court to modify the amount based on current income levels and the state’s current standards. If it has been less than three years since the court issued or modified the order, a parent may still request a modification if there has been a change in circumstances that impacts ability to pay support. Generally, a change in circumstances means that the paying parent’s gross monthly income has increased or decreased by 20% or more. The loss of a job is a common reason for this.

Resources

You can read more about establishing, modifying, and enforcing support in the  Child Support Handbook  published by Nevada’s Office of Child Support Enforcement. You can also read the law in the Nevada Revised Statutes, Sections  125B.070  and  125B.080.

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