There are many resources available for parents who are unsure of their child support responsibilities or what their child support responsibility entails. A parent’s responsibility to support their child or children – also known as their child support “obligation” – will vary depending on the custodial arrangement between the parents and the parents’ respective incomes.
Under Nevada law, both parents have a duty to provide for their children’s wellbeing, including by providing financial support for the child. Each parent’s support obligation is calculated pursuant to a statutory formula based on their gross monthly income (“GMI”) and the number of children at issue.
Where one parent has primary physical custody of the child, the other parent’s child support payment will be determined based on his or her GMI alone. Where the parents share joint physical custody, child support will be calculated by subtracting the lower-earning parent’s obligation from the higher-earning parent’s obligation. The higher-earning parent will be obligated to pay the lower-earning parent the difference between these two obligations.
Child support payments assist the custodial or lower-earning parent in paying for the child’s day-to-day upkeep, including the child’s food, clothing, and education.
Enforcing Child Support
Paying child support is a legal obligation. If a parent refuses to make his court-ordered child support payments, the State of Nevada may force the parent to make payments by garnishing his or her wages. A parent who refuses to pay court-ordered child support can also face a range of penalties, including fines and jail time.
Role of the State of Nevada in Enforcing Child Support
Nevada law requires the district attorney (“DA”) in the county where the child lives to assist in establishing or enforcing child support. The Family Support Division of the Clark County District Attorney’s office, for example, is tasked with ensuring that all Clark County parents have the resources they need for the support of the child. The DA’s mission is to improve family’s lives by ensuring that both parents provide continuing financial support for their children.
What is Child Support Enforcement?
Child Support Enforcement (“CSE”) is a department within the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that enforces both state and federal child support laws. If at any time a parent has issues regarding child support in Nevada, they can contact their local DA’s office – which contracts with the state’s Child Support Enforcement Program – to resolve the issue. Parents in Clark County can contact the Clark County District Attorney’s office.
The Purpose of the CSE and the DA’s Family Support Division
There are various reasons that a parent might contact the Family Support Division or otherwise utilize the state’s Child Support Enforcement Program. The DA’s office can organize tests to establish paternity; set up, review and enforce any child and medical support obligations; and locate missing parents who are delinquent in their child support payments.
The DA’s Role in Obtaining Payment
In addition to income withholding, which includes withholding of unemployment and worker’s compensation benefits and military and government checks, the DA’s office can suspend driver’s licenses and professional, occupational, and recreational licenses, certificates, and permits until the parent becomes current on his or her payments. The DA’s office can also impose a lien against a parent’s real property (e.g. a house) to secure payment of child support. (In other words, the DA’s office can prevent the parent from profiting from the sale of their property before making their outstanding child support payments.)
How to Make Payments
A parent can always make payments directly to the other parent via cash, check, or wire transfer. Either parent should maintain records of child support payments, particularly if the payments are made in cash and there will be no way to verify the payment if a dispute ever arises.
There are two ways that the state’s CSE helps parents pay child support payments: The parent can pay into a specially created account and the CSE can debit that account to access the child support due, or the parent can create a specific bank account into which the parent can directly deposit child support and the receiving parent can withdraw the payment from the account.
In Clark County, a parent can make payments several ways:
- Online: They can make payments online at www.dwss.nv.gov using a MasterCard, Visa, Discover, or other debit card under the tab labeled “How to Pay Child Support.”
- By Phone: Parents can call the State Collection and Disbursement Unit (“SCaDU”) for free at 702-486-1085 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or call toll free 1-855-288-2352 anytime (the line is open 24 hours).
- By Mail: A parent can send their child support payment via cashier’s check or money order with their case number to:
State Collection and Disbursement Unit (SCaDU)
P.O. Box 98950
Las Vegas, NV 89193-8950
- In Person (Kiosks): The Clark County DA’s office is located at 1900 E. Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89119. Lobby hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding holidays. Payments can be made at the Kiosk using a credit card, debit card, or cash. Transaction fees will apply. Notably, kiosks at the DA’s office do not provide change—the exact cash payment amount is required.
- MoneyGram: Parents can download the MobilePass app by MoneyGram or visit moneygram.com for a list of participating locations. Payments at MoneyGram locations must include the parties’ case number and recept code 16506.
While the DA’s office works as efficiently as possible to establish and enforce child support, the process for a parent seeking support can be lengthy due to the DA’s large caseload. In some cases, it is faster to hire a lawyer and to file a motion for child support in family court.
CSE’s Role in Collecting Overdue Payments
The state CSE has additional legal and financial powers regarding overdue child support, including:
- Petitioning the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Public Safety to suspend the driver’s licenses of a parent in arrears;
- Intercepting federal tax refunds to apply to arrearages;
- Reporting arrearages to consumer credit bureaus, which can have serious negative effects on the parent’s credit score;
- Garnishing a parent’s bank accounts and paychecks;
- Filing an a motion to hold the parent in contempt, which can result in fines and/or jail time;
- Enforcing out-of-state child support judgments when a parent comes under Nevada’s jurisdiction; and
- Restricting the non-custodial parent from selling property.
Parents looking for child support resources in Nevada should first visit the Nevada DWSS website. Parents looking for resources in Clark County specifically should visit the DA’s Family Support Division website. Both websites have helpful manuals and information, as well as free forms to apply for assistance.
For highly skilled representation in your child support matter, please contact McFarling Law Group at 702-766-6671 to schedule a free confidential consultation with one of our experienced Las Vegas attorneys..
Disclaimer: You should not take any information in this blog as legal advice in any situation. If you need expertise for a specific problem of yours, contact our office to schedule a consultation.