The number one question is how much child support will I receive/pay? Answering that question may not be as easy as it appears because it depends on how many children you have, what the custodial arrangement is (joint physical custody or primary physical custody), your income, the other parent’s income, whether the presumptive minimum or presumptive maximum applies and that only gets you to the basic calculation. Even then, the court can deviate from the basic calculation for a laundry list of reasons.
No matter what situation you find yourself in, whether it is the possibility of paying child support or if you are a parent seeking child support, you can benefit from a consultation with an experienced Las Vegas child support lawyer. Understanding your options and having all of your questions answered at the outset can make this process easier to understand and also give you the information necessary to make educated decisions.
Determining Child Support in Nevada
Child support in Nevada is calculated pursuant to a formula set forth in NRS 125B of the Nevada Revised Statutes which involves performing a calculation of your gross monthly income based on how many children you have; 18% for 1 child, 25% for 2 children, 29% for 3 children, 31% for 4 children, and 2% for each additional child after 4. These amounts are subject to a presumptive maximum amount (a “cap”) that you will have to pay per month, per child, based upon a range your gross monthly income. This “cap” is adjusted every year on July 1. As of July 1, 2015 the presumptive maximum amount of child support per month, per child you would be obligated to pay is $1,091.00 no matter how high your gross monthly income. The minimum amount of child support a court can award is $100.00 per month, per child, unless the court makes written findings that a parent cannot pay that amount. A court can also impute income to a parent if they are found to be willfully unemployed or underemployed.
In custody arrangements where one parent has primary physical custody of the children, the non-custodial parent will pay the custodial parent child support in accordance with the formula. In joint custody arrangements, the calculation is different as the court will apply the formula to both parents income and subtract the lower-earning parent’s child support amount from the higher-earning parent’s child support amount and then apply any applicable “cap”.
The court can deviate from this formula, either up or down, and can exceed the “cap” based upon the following factors:
The cost of health insurance;
The cost of child care;
Any special educational needs of the child;
The age of the child;
The legal responsibility of the parents for the support of 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 and confinement;
The cost of transportation of the child to and from visitation if the custodial parent moved with the child from the jurisdiction of the court which ordered the support and the noncustodial parent remained;
The amount of time the child spends with each parent;
Any other necessary expenses for the benefit of the child; and
The relative income of both parents.
As you can see, there is a clear formula for the courts to follow, but judges also have some discretion to determine if there are unique needs involved which would require deviating from the formula. There are many Nevada cases dealing with child support and it is important to find a Las Vegas child support attorney experienced in this area.
Child support does not include the cost of medical insurance for the children, or unreimbursed medical expenses of the children, which are paid separately and is ordinarily equally split by the parents.
Child support continues until a child reaches the age of 18 (19 if still in high school), marries, or becomes emancipated. A parent can be obligated to support a child who is handicapped beyond the age of 18 if the child is not self-supporting.
Child Support Arrears
If a child support payment is one month, or more, late it is in arrears. There are mandatory penalties that the court must impose on child support arrears, interest, and also attorney’s fees. The court generally cannot go back and modify child support retroactively so if you are unable to pay your child support, it is important that you have it modified before you become delinquent. If you are substantially in arrears, over $10,000.00, you may be guilty of a category C felony under Nevada law for which you can be imprisoned for a minimum of 1 year up to a maximum of 5 years, you can also lose your drivers license and passport and have your wages garnished.
Modification of Child Support
You can modify the child support order at any time based upon a change in circumstances. Under Nevada law, a 20% increase or decrease in your earnings meets the change in circumstances requirement. You can also seek to review the child support order once every 3 years, even if there is no change in circumstances, to determine whether or not it should be modified or adjusted.
The Impact of Child Support Awards
Regardless of which parent you are in this equation, a child support award can have a serious impact on your life as well as your children’s. While there is a formula that can be reasonably calculated, the child support laws can quickly become complex and overwhelming. Issues of arrears and modification can be frustrating, time consuming and difficult. Shawn M. Goldstein has an extensive background in this area and will be committed to your case. Contact him when you need help from a Las Vegas child support lawyer.