When two parents separate or divorce in Nevada, state law requires both parents to continue in their legal duties to care for their children. Nevada requires non-custodial and joint-custody parents with a greater income to pay child support. While this subject can often provoke strong emotional reactions, understanding child support obligations is critical. Failing to pay child support can be a criminal offense, leading to significant fines and up to five years in Nevada State Prison.
If you are separating from your spouse or partner, familiarizing yourself with how child support orders work, how gross monthly income is calculated, and who is entitled to receive payments can help you know what your legal options are. Working with an experienced family law attorney in Nevada can also optimize your chances of a fair outcome in legal proceedings.
Stipulations & Orders
Parents in Nevada can create their child support arrangements through a written stipulation if they agree. This stipulation establishes the amount one parent will pay and becomes legally binding once a judge reviews and signs it.
However, if parents cannot agree, the court will issue a child support order instead. The judge calculates the support amount based on each parent’s income and time spent with the children. Courts can also issue temporary support orders while a divorce is still pending.
Parents must follow the terms of a stipulation or court order until it is modified. Either parent can request a modification if circumstances change substantially, such as if a parent loses their job or a child turns 18, graduates from high school, or turns 19. The court must approve any requested modifications.
Gross Income Defined
When calculating how much child support a parent should pay, Nevada courts determine the paying parent’s gross monthly income (GMI). GMI is the total amount of income a person makes before taxes from all sources each month, including:
- Hourly wages
- Annual salary
- Commissions (sales, recruitment, stockbrokers, etc.)
- Bonuses (holiday, year-end, etc.)
- Royalties and residuals
- Investment income
- Income from rental properties
- Interest from savings accounts
- Alimony from a previous marriage
- Social Security disability
- Income from retirement plans or pensions
- Net proceeds from workers’ compensation or personal injury settlements or awards meant to replace income
However, if a parent is self-employed, they can deduct legitimate and reasonable business expenses from their GMI.
Who Is Entitled to Child Support Payments in Nevada?
Nevada court orders require a divorced or separated parent to pay child support to the other parent in two different circumstances.
If the children live with one parent more than 60 percent of the time, the other (non-custodial) parent must pay child support. If the non-custodial parent makes between $1,700 and $6,000 per month, the amount they must pay will be:
- 16 percent of GMI for one child
- 22 percent of GMI for two children
- 26 percent of GMI for three children
- 28 percent of GMI for four children
- An additional two percent of GMI for each additional child
A different calculation applies if the children spend at least 40 percent of the time with both parents. The parent with the higher income will pay child support to the other parent. To determine the amount, the court will calculate the amount of money each parent would pay the other if they were the non-custodial parent. Then, they will subtract the smaller amount from the larger amount. The parent with more income will be responsible for paying this difference.
If either parent’s GMI changes by more than 20 percent at any time, the court must review the child support order. Furthermore, a parent can petition the court to modify the order if their child develops new special needs.
Can Parents Get Child Support If They Were Not Married?
Child support laws pertain to legal parentage, regardless of whether the parents were married. Parents have the same rights and privileges regarding child support whether or not they are married, including:
- Same-sex couples
- Couples in which one or more parents adopted their children
- Common-law marriage couples
Sometimes, a person can be a legal parent even if they are not biologically a child’s parent. In other cases, such as when another family adopts a child, a biological parent will have no child support obligations.
What If the Other Parent Lives Out of State?
When parents live in different states, child support can become more complicated. However, the legal obligations remain the same no matter where the parents reside.
Contact an attorney familiar with interstate cases if you need to establish or enforce a child support order across state lines. They can help register your order and ensure proper payment through income withholding.
The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) outlines procedures for handling interstate child support. Under UIFSA, only one state has jurisdiction over a child support case at any given time. The parents’ “home state” typically takes priority, where the child lived for six months before filing.
Parents moving out of state must notify the court. The case can transfer jurisdiction if both parents and the child relocate. However, be aware that moving to avoid payment is unlawful. Speak to a lawyer if the other parent attempts this.
Contact De Castroverde Law Group Today
The breakdown of a relationship is always emotionally, logistically, and financially stressful. However, when children are involved, the challenges can increase exponentially. The sense of uncertainty about child support arrangements can be overwhelming whether you are the one receiving or paying. Without a thorough understanding of the law, you may suddenly discover that the court has ordered an arrangement that does not feel fair or sustainable. That’s where an experienced Nevada family lawyer can help.
The family law attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group understand the challenges parents face when dealing with child support matters. Our legal team has decades of combined experience in achieving the favorable results our clients deserve. Our lawyers are fluent in English and Spanish, and we are ready to help you handle even the trickiest of family legal challenges. If you have any further questions, contact our team for a confidential consultation, and we’d be happy to assist.