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Nevada Child Support in a Nutshell

Updated on July 14, 2013

You know it is difficult to raise a child. But when your ex fails to help out financially, it can make a difficult situation even worse. So how do you get your ex to shell out some money for your child's expenses? It may not be as hard as you think.

Establishing Child Support

There are several ways to obtain an order for child suppport:

* If you were married to your child's father/mother:

--Child Support can be established in your Separation Order or Divorce Decree

--If child support was not addressed in your separation or divorce order you can complete an application for child support services with the District Attorney's Office.

* If you were not married to child's father/mother:

--You can complete an application for child support services with the District Attorney's Office.

* Regardless of whether you were married or not:

--If you have applied for Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF) or certain types of Medicaid, you will be required to open a child support case with the State of Nevada.

--Child Support can be ordered in a Temporary Protection Order (TPO).

Child Support Guidelines

Now that you know how you can obtain a child support order, you may be wondering how the amount of child support will be determined. In Nevada, child support is set based on the non-custodial parent's (the parent who does not have physical custody of the child) gross monthly income (the amount earned without taking into account taxes or other deductions).

Depending on how many children you have, the non-custodial parent will pay a percentage of his or her income, up to maximum amount set by Nevada lawmakers.

For one child, a parent will pay 18 percent of his or her income; for two children, 25%; for three children 29%; for four children 31%; for each child after four, add 2%.

For example, your ex earns $4,500.00 each month. Eighteen percent of his or her income is $810.00 per month. But don't get too excited, because the $810.00 exceeds Nevada's statutory maximum. You'll need to review the table below to determine how much will actually be ordered.

As you see, instead of paying 18 percent ($801.00 per month), the parent would be ordered to pay $550.00 per month, which is the statutory maximum for one child within the parent's income level.

Using the same scenario, but this time with two children, 25 percent of the non-custodial parent's income would be $1,125.00 per month. The parent would be ordered to pay $1,100.00 per month based on the statutory maximum of $550.00 per month, per child.

Presumptive Maximum Amounts

The Presumptive Maximum Amount the
Parent May Be Required to Pay
If the Parent’s Gross
per Month per Child Pursuant to
Monthly Income Is at Least
Less Than
Paragraph (b) of Subsection 1 Is

Other Factors

Income alone is not the only thing a judge will look at when setting a child support amount. The judge also considers the following:

* Support of others. If your ex has other children that he or she is supporting, it may lower the amount of child support ordered for your child. Generally, your ex will get a deviation (subtraction) from your child support ranging from $50.00 -- $100.00 per additional child supported.

* Cost of health insurance. If your ex is providing health insurance coverage for your child, he or she may have the child support amount lowered to account for this. In the state of Nevada it is considered both parents' responsibility to cover the child's medical costs. If your ex is paying $125.00 per month for your child's insurance premium, the judge may allow a deduction for 1/2 (your portion of the premium) of the cost. For example, the judge ordered child support of $550.00 per month, but your ex is paying $125.00 month for the child's insurance coverage. Your ex may get $75.00 (1/2 of $125.00) deducted off the $550.00 per month.

*Time spent. If your ex spends a lot of time with the child, this may be considered. Generally, if you are the primary physical custodian (the parent the child lives with the majority of the time) this does not come into play. But if your ex spends more than half the week with the child the judge may consider this when setting the child support amount.

* Joint physical custody. If you and your ex split time spent with the child equally (per court order or agreement of the parents) the judge will apply a special formula (Wright vs Osburn) to determine the child support amount. The judge will look at your income and your ex's income, and whoever earns more will be ordered to pay child support.

For example, if you have one child:

Your gross monthly income: $5,700.00 per month 18% = $1,026.00

Your ex's gross monthly income: $7,200.00 per month 18% = $1,296.00

Difference: = $270.00 per month

Your ex would be ordered to pay $270.00 per month. If the difference exceeded the statutory maximum of $600.00 per month for one child, your ex would only be ordered to pay the $600.00 per month.

* Your ex has no income. So what happens if your ex is unemployed? Like the statutory maximum, Nevada also has a statutory minimum of $100.00 per month, per child. Regardless of whether your ex is in prison, incapacitated or unemployed, he or she will be ordered to pay $100.00 per month per child for child support. Some states do not charge child support while a parent is in jail or otherwise unable to work, but Nevada is not one of those states. This may change at any time.

From your ex's wallet to you

Once a child support amount has been set, just how do you go about getting your child support payments?

If you have the State or District Attorney's Office involved, you have two options:

* You can complete a direct deposit authorization form so payments will go directly into your bank account.

* You can receive payments on a Nevada child support debit card.

Once you leave court with your child support order in hand, it will take some time for your first payment to be received. Your ex can pay the State Processing Center directly or your ex's wages can be garnished. Regardless, there is a processing time for the payment to go from your ex's wallet to you.

Expect at least several weeks to see the money. If you elect to get your payments on a debit card you will not receive the card in the mail until the first payment has posted in the child support agency's system. Be watching your mail and be careful not to throw your child support card out (it may appear to be junk mail). Keep in mind that the Nevada child support debit card is issued by JP Morgan Chase.

If you have a child support order you can choose to have your ex pay you directly. However, if you decide to go this route, the DA's Office will not be involved with your case and cannot take enforcement actions on your behalf. Utlimately, if you and your ex can work out a payment arrangement between yourselves and your ex will abide by it, this is the best situation all around. Unfortunately, not all ex's will be responsible.

Child Support Enforcement

If your ex follows your court order and pays his or her child support on time every month, congratulations! But if your ex is not doing the right thing, you may need assistance getting him or her to pay regularly.

As stated above, if you are receiving cash assistance (or did in the past) or some types of Medicaid through the state of Nevada, your child support case will be handled by the state's Child Support Enforcement Program. They have an interest in the case because the State wants back money they have paid out to help support your child. They will go after your ex to try to recoup the costs of TANF or Medicaid paid out to you.

If you do not have a public assistance case, you can have a case opened with the District Attorney's office.

Caseworkers from the above agencies can take several meausures to ensure your ex pays his or her child support, including:

* Garnishment of wages. Most orders state that immediate wage garnishment is to take place. This means that the child support agency will send a wage withholding order to your ex's employer and your child support payments will be deducted from your ex's paycheck. If your ex gets paid monthly, your full child support payment will be deducted from his or her check. If your ex gets paid bi-weekly, you will receive a payment every two weeks.

For example, your ex is ordered to pay $550.00 per month in child support. To determine how much each child support payment will be, multiply$550.00 by 12 ($6,600.00 annually), then divide by 26 pay periods ($253.85). The reason payments are determined this way is because during some months there are three paydays, not two. Although some months you are not getting the full $550.00 per month, it averages out over the year.

The same principle is applied if your ex is paid weekly. You can anticipate receiving $126.92 per week if your child support is $550.00 per month (divided by 52 weeks).

Child support payments may also be withheld fom your ex's unemployment benefits.

* Filing liens on bank accounts, real estate or income tax returns. Child support staff can request a lien on your ex's house if he or she has child support arrears. If your ex tries to sell or refinance the house, the arrears will have to be paid before it will go through. If your ex has a bank account with a substantial amount of money in it, the money can be seized to pay off back child support. If your ex files a tax return and is entitled to a refund, the refund will be paid to you for back child support before your ex sees a penny of it.

* Driver's License Suspension: If your ex owes over $1,000.00 in arrears (back child support), and has missed two full months of payments in a 12-month period (the months do not have to be consecutive) child support staff can suspend your ex's driver's license until he or she pays off the arrears balance or enters into a repayment agreement with their office.

In addition to your ex's driver's license, suspensions can also be placed on your ex's business license or hunting license if the above criteria are met.

* Suspension or revocation of the parent's U.S. passport. If your ex wants to leave the country and applies for a passport, he or she will be denied if there is a large amount of arrears owed. If you ex already has a passport, once it is time to be renewed, the renewal application will be denied.

* Filing contempt of court actions. This is usually a last resort action for those who refuse to pay child support without good cause. Once your ex is served with contempt paperwork he or she has to go before the judge to explain the failure to pay. If the judge finds that your ex is purposely not paying child support, he or she can be sentenced to jail.

What do you think?

Should incarcerated parents be charged child support while in prison?

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Cha, Cha, Changes........

In the state of Nevada, your child support amount can be reviewed and adjusted every three years. If your order was filed with the court on 01/01/2013 you can ask the child support office for the amount to be reviewed on 01/01/2016.

If there are substantial changes, such as your ex getting a raise of over 20 percent in income, or health insurance coverage becomes available, you can ask for the amount to be reviewed at any time. You do not have to wait three years.

Similarily, if your ex loses his or her job, he or she can request that the child support amount be lowered.

It is your and your ex's responsibility to bring substantial changes to the court's attention. Your child support order will not be adjusted automatically.


Your ex is required to pay ongoing child support for your child until your child

---reaches the age of 18

---or graduates from high school

If your child is a senior in high school when he or she turns 18, your ex must continue to pay ongoing child support until the child graduates from high school (up until the age of 19).

If your ex owes back child support once the child emancipates, your ex must continue to pay toward the child support arrears until the balance is paid off. In the state of Nevada, the non-custodial parent must continue to pay the same amount he or she was paying previously until the arrears are paid.

For example, your ex was ordered to pay $625.00 per month in ongoing child support, plus $100.00 per month toward arrears. Now that your child has emancipated, your ex must continue to pay $725.00 per month until the arrears are paid in full, unless a new court order is established that sets the arrears payment at a lower amount.

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