This article will explain how child support orders are enforced in the State of Nevada. If you have any questions about child support enforcement after you read this article, you should contact a family law attorney for advice.
In Nevada, child support is intended to pay for the basic care (food, shelter, clothing, education) and medical support (insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs) of children. For purposes of this article, the parent who receives child support is known as the "receiving parent," while the parent who has to pay is called "the paying parent."
The parent who has physical custody (meaning, the parent who cares for the children more frequently) spends a greater percentage of time with the children. That parent pays for more of the children's needs by virtue of the fact that they're together more often. So the other parent (also known as the non-custodial parent), who spends less time with the children, has to make regularly scheduled child support payments in order to ensure that each parent is paying a fair share of the children's expenses.
Whether you're divorcing or you've never been married, when your relationship ends you need to get an official child support order. In Nevada, child support orders are determined according to each parent's gross monthly income and a mathematical formula known as the child support guidelines. For a detailed discussion of how child support is calculated and who renders a support decision, please see Child Support in Nevada by Teresa Wall-Cyb.
When child support disputes happen, some paying parents stop paying support. Receiving parents will need to know what resources are available to them to enforce and collect child support.
The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services is a state agency which serves the citizens of Nevada with regard to child support, child care, energy assistance, food, financial help, and medical programs. Within the Department is a separate unit called Child Support Enforcement (CSE). The purpose of CSE is to enforce state and federal laws about child support.
CSE performs critical child support functions. It uses an administrative (non-judicial) process to:
Child support funds are not paid parent-to-parent, but rather the paying parent pays CSE. This eliminates a great deal of parental conflict and uncertainty. Nevada issues a Nevada Debit Card to the receiving parent. The card is "charged up" with child support payments. Alternatively, CSE can arrange for direct deposit of child support into the receiving parent's bank account.
CSE can also use collection and enforcement measures when paying parents aren't meeting their child support obligations. However, the family courts can also enforce child support orders, so in urgent or complicated cases, parents might find that hiring a private lawyer - one who can go to court and argue to a judge on their behalf - is more effective than waiting for CSE to act.
CSE has legal and financial powers it can use to extract money from parents with past-due child support accounts (known as arrearages). They include, but are not limited to:
Nevada Revised Statutes (scroll down to Title 11, Domestic Relations)
Nevada Legal Services (child support information and legal aid for qualifying individuals)
Nevada Department of Health and Human Services: Division of Welfare and Supportive Services