Child support in Nevada
Nevada has statutory guidelines in NRS Chapter 125B for how much a parent will pay in child support. For instance, a paying parent with one child is expected to pay 18% of his/her gross monthly income to the receiving parent, a paying parent of two children is expected to pay 21%, and so forth. Courts rarely diverge from this formula absent extraordinary circumstances, such as where the child has special needs that require additional costs. The law also imposes caps (the “presumptive maximum amounts”) on how much a parent would have to pay per child depending on his/her income, meaning the maximum amount a parent should have to pay per their income level. This amount is adjusted annually. For instance, for any child support order imposed between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017, the maximum per child any parent making up to $4,235 per month would have to pay would be $681 per month; the maximum for any parent making up to $6,351 per month would be $749 per month; and so forth.
If one parent has primary physical custody, then the other parent will be ordered to pay child support to the primary parent. However, if the parents share joint physical custody (meaning one parent has the child at least 40% of the time), then the court will consider both parents’ income in an offset formula, as established in the case of Wright v. Osburn. For example, if a couple has one child, the court will apply the statutory guideline of a parent paying 18% of his/her gross monthly income as child support to the other parent. In this case, since the parents are considered to have joint physical custody, the court will calculate 18% of one parent’s income and 18% of the other parent’s. If one parent makes more, the other parent’s 18% will be subtracted from the higher earning parent’s 18%. The difference will be paid by the higher earning parent to the lesser earning parent. So, let’s say Parent A makes $1,000 per month and parent B makes $2,000 per month. 18% of their gross monthly incomes would be $180 for Parent A and $360 for Parent B. The court would subtract Parent A’s $180 from Parent B’s $360 amount to equal $180 in child support that Parent B would pay to Parent A, since Parent B is the higher earning parent. If the presumptive maximum amounts are applicable, the court will calculate respective amounts before applying the maximum.
Child support can be modified in the future if custody changes or either parent has a change of at least 20% in their income. If you do experience this change in income, you should file a motion to modify your child support obligations as soon as possible, because the modification will not be retroactive. That means if you wait too long and accrue arrears for being unable to pay, you will be stuck with owing these arrears even if you later modify the order to reduce your monthly child support obligations.