Las Vegas Child Support Attorneys
702 766 6671
Child support laws in Nevada changed as of February 1, 2020. If you have a child support agreement in place, please contact the McFarling Law Group, a Las Vegas child support law firm, to ensure that your child support agreement is consistent with the new laws.
Our Las Vegas child support lawyers will help you modify the child support agreement to ensure that your children are receiving the maximum benefits under the law and that neither you nor your spouse are suffering unnecessary hardship.
Call us at 702-766-6671 to schedule a consultation and speak with a Las Vegas child support attorney.
Child Support in Las Vegas
Under Nevada family law, each parent (biological or adoptive) is responsible for the support of their children, regardless of the marriage status of the parents. Child support covers the basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, education, and healthcare. The minimum child support amount allowed by Nevada is $100 per month, though the court can lower that amount if the non-custodial parent is unable to pay the minimum.
After the parents have agreed to the custody arrangement, they can draft the child support agreement. When one parent has physical custody of the children for more than 60% of the time, that parent is considered the custodial parent.
Nevada has set a standardized calculation for determining the amount of child support payments, based on the gross monthly income of the non-custodial parent and the number of children.
For families with one child, the child support amount is:
- 16% of the gross monthly income up to $6,000
- 8% of the difference of the gross monthly income between $6,000 and $10,000
- 4% of the gross monthly income over $10,000
If the gross monthly income of the non-custodial parent is $5,000, the monthly child support payment is $800. If the gross monthly income of the non-custodial parent is $6,500, the monthly child support payment is $1,000 [$960 (16% of $6000) + $40 (8% of $500)].
The percentage amounts for each case increases for each child in that parent’s custody.
For two children, the calculation is:
- 22% of the gross monthly income up to $6,000
- 11% of the difference of the gross monthly income between $6,000 and $10,000
- 6% of the gross monthly income over $10,000
For three children, the calculation is:
- 26% of the gross monthly income up to $6,000
- 13% of the difference of the gross monthly income between $6,000 and $10,000
- 6% of the gross monthly income over $10,000
For four children, the calculation is:
- 28% of the gross monthly income up to $6,000
- 14% of the difference of the gross monthly income between $6,000 and $10,000
- 7% of the gross monthly income over $10,000
For each additional child after the first four children, the calculation is the amount paid for four children, plus, for each additional child:
- 2% of the gross monthly income up to $6,000
- 1% of the difference of the gross monthly income between $6,000 and $10,000
- 5% of the gross monthly income over $10,000
Parents have the freedom to draft their own support agreements, but those arrangements are subject to review by the family court judge to ensure the support arrangement is fair and equitable to both parents and of maximum benefit to the children. For example, if the income disparity between the parents is significant and the higher-income parent agrees to pay all extraordinary expenses (such as private school tuition), in addition to an amount higher than the standardized calculation requires, the court will probably agree to that arrangement.
For assistance in determining the appropriate, state-required child support amounts and in drafting a binding child support agreement, contact McFarling Law Firm. One of our Las Vegas child support attorneys will guide you through the child support process.
If each parent has physical custody for at least 40% of the time, they have joint custody. Child support for joint custody is based on which parent earns more. Child support is first calculated as if each parent has sole custody. The difference between those two amounts is awarded to the parent with the lower income.
Parent 1 and Parent 2 have one child. Parent 1 has a monthly income of $6,500. Parent 2 has a monthly income of $5,000. The child support amount if Parent 1 had sole custody would be $800 from Parent 2. The child support amount if Parent 2 had sole custody would be $1,000. The child support amount for joint custody is $200 from Parent 1 to Parent 2 ($1000 – $800 = $200).
Child Support for Children with Special Needs
When it comes to determining child support, children with special needs include not only children with physical and mental challenges, but also includes children who have additional expenses for other purposes as well. If your child is in private school or has to travel long distances due to custody arrangements or even has a special talent or skill, the court has the discrepancy between deciding whether or not to include those expenses in the calculation of child support.
While the court may require that a child support agreement include private school tuition, Nevada law is silent as to college expenses. Parents can agree to cover college costs in child support agreements, but the court will not enforce those provisions.
The experienced Las Vegas child support lawyers at McFarling Law Firm can help you arrange the most beneficial arrangement for your children with special needs.
Other Factors that Impact Child Support in Las Vegas
Medical care and child care costs are separate from child support payments. The child support agreement must include provisions that divide the general health care and child care arrangements between the parents equitably.
If the custodial parent’s healthcare insurance covers the supported child, the non-custodial parent will be required to add half of the insurance cost to the child support payment. If the non-custodial parent’s insurance covers the supported child, the non-custodial parent will reduce the child support payment by half of the insurance cost.
The Las Vegas family court judge will review and approve these additional arrangements.
Contested Child Support Hearings in Las Vegas
Child support agreements are legally binding. The parents must file the agreement with Nevada Family Court, where a judge will determine whether or not the agreement satisfies Nevada family law requirements for child support. If the agreement fails the Nevada standards, the judge can reject it and require the parents to submit a new agreement.
If the parents cannot agree to a child support agreement, the Nevada family court judge will review the familial circumstances, the needs of the child, and any special needs or other allowable deviations from the Nevada standardized child support rules. Both parents must comply with the child support obligations determined by the court.
Nevada sets a presumptive maximum amount annually. The presumptive maximum amount is per child and applies only in cases where the court is determining the child support schedule. The presumptive maximum amount is based on the income levels of the parents, so the child support payments for a child of parents of modest income will have a lower presumptive maximum amount than those for higher-income parents.
If parents have agreed to a child support schedule that includes monthly payments that exceed the presumptive maximum amount, the court will accept the higher amount. If a child has special needs, the judge can exceed the presumptive maximum amount to cover the additional expenses. Nevada child support laws require parents to maintain their children at a similar standard of living they would have enjoyed if the parents hadn’t separated or divorced.
How Long is a Child Support Agreement Valid?
A child support agreement can be reviewed and modified every three years until it automatically expires when the supported child is 18 years old, but it can be in effect until the child is 19 years old if they are still in high school and expected to graduate before turning 19.
If the supported child has special needs for a physical or mental disability, the child support agreement continues, regardless of the child’s age, until the child is self-supporting or has been cured of the physical or mental disability. A child with special needs who has reached the age of 18 and becomes eligible for and receives public assistance is considered to be self-supporting.
Child support agreements are not required if a child over the age of 18 becomes physically or mentally disabled. Child support agreements for special needs children over the age of 18 are modifiable on the same bases and schedule as child support agreements for minor children.
Modifying a Child Support Agreement
A child support agreement can be modified within three years only if there has been a change in circumstances. The court will review modification requests for changes in circumstances that include:
- new extraordinary expenses for the child, such as a new medical condition
- an income change for the non-custodial parent, such as unemployment or a salary increase
- an income change for the custodial parents, such as unemployment or a salary increase
According to Nevada law, if the income change for either parent is more than 20%, the court is required to review a modification request. The court must review child support modification requests for any reason if three years have passed since the last review.
If you believe there is a valid reason to make a child support modification petition to the court, please contact the Las Vegas child support lawyers at McFarling Law Firm as soon as possible. If the court agrees to the modification, it will apply only to payments scheduled after the modification. Keep in mind that child support modifications cannot be retroactive.
Child Support Enforcement
Child support payments belong to the child and must be used for the child. If the non-custodial parent believes the child’s basic needs aren’t being met or the child support payments aren’t being used as determined by the child support agreement, the non-custodial parent must apply to the court for a review. The custodial parent does not have to justify how they spend the child support payments to the non-custodial parent.
If either parent is determined to be willfully unemployed or underemployed, a Nevada family court judge can impute income to the unemployed or underemployed parent based on that parent’s earning capacity. Child support payments based on imputed income are enforceable as if the parent were earning that income.
Failure to pay child support is a crime in Nevada. Owing less than $10,000 in child support is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, up to a six-month term in jail, or both. Owing more than $10,000 in child support is a felony. The non-custodial parent can be fined up to $10,000 and can be imprisoned for one to five years in Nevada State Prison.
Custodial parents have the support of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services if they have trouble collecting the child support payments. The Department of Health and Human Services will help locate a non-custodial parent who has stopped making child support payments and will help collect the debts by involuntary means, such as garnishment and withholding.
In addition to fines, incarceration, and involuntary payments, other possible consequences to failure to pay child support in Nevada include a lower credit rating and the loss of the driver’s license and passport.
Do you need professional help?
Negotiating child support and handling the stresses that come with it can be exhausting, and it helps to have a professional on your team. You will want someone who knows all aspects of child support laws so that you can ensure the best result for your children.
If you need assistance with a child support matter, contact the McFarling Law Firm at 702-766-6671. We will schedule a consultation for you to speak with one of our experienced and qualified Las Vegas child support attorneys.