Child Support Changes Are Coming

Child support calculations are changing in Nevada.  Federal Law requires each state to review their child support guidelines.  In 2017, the Nevada legislature asked the Division of Welfare and Support Services to review Nevada’s child support guidelines.

The DWSS put together a committee and made some changes to Nevada’s child support guidelines.   The main changes are; 1) the new formula is a tiered system, 2) the new formula does not have caps, and 3) The new guidelines define “gross income” more thoroughly.

Gross Income – Gross Income is undergoing a broad revamp as to how it is defined.  This will include such things as alimony, interest from investment income, periodic payments from pensions and retirement, and unemployment proceeds, in addition to the normal salary and wages.  Some of this was included in income before, but the definition was still unclear under the original definition.  Under the new definition, there is a more expansive list, which also includes business income.  There will be specific income that will be excluded from “gross income” as well, such as child support received.

Tiered System – Once gross income is determined, the child support percentages per child will be changing to what is referred to here as a “tiered” system, for lack of a better word.  There will be a percentage applicable for the first $6,000 per month of the paying party’s gross income, another for the amount above $6,000 but equal to or less than $10,000, and the last tier for monthly gross income greater than $10,000.  The percentage will depend on the number of children at issue, which was like the original formula, but the new language staggers this for the income levels.

To help in calculating child support, Right Lawyers has a calculator on it’s web page.  Here is the child support calculator with the numbers –  https://rightlawyers.com/child-support-calculator/.  Here is the new calculator comparing to the old calculator – https://rightlawyers.com/child-support-calculator/comparison/

No More Presumptive Max – The goal of the new child support percentages was to give those making under $6,000 relief and to give those making more than $10,000 a higher obligation.  Child support is going down for parents earning $6,000 per month or less from the existing statute.  For example, under the existing formula, it required 18% paid for one child of the paying party’s gross monthly income.  This will change to 16%, at least for those earning $6,000 per month or less.  For those in the higher income brackets (i.e. six figure incomes and up), Presumptive Maximum Amounts or “caps” per child are going away, and the drafters expect child support to be much higher. Our small sample size of comparing old and new doesn’t seem to be fulfilling this goal.  For the higher earners, the child support to be paid seems to be less.

Some Other Smaller Changes

Child Care – The Court will be required to consider the costs of childcare paid by either or both parties and make an equitable division.  Under the new requirements, this can be an expense on top of child support.

Medical coverage – The child support order must include a provision specifying that medical support is required to be provided and include the details related to that support.

Deviation factors -Deviation factors for increasing or decreasing are more specific. Court now has the discretion to modify the amount.

Stipulations – The new law has specific rules for parties stipulating to a certain amount of child support.  Now, you must show your math and explain why and how you got to the child support amount.

Location – The location where the law will be is going to change.  Look for the law in Chapter 425 of the Nevada Administrative Code instead of in the Nevada Revised Statutes.  This was done to allow more flexibility to make changes to Nevada’s child support law in the future.  The goal is to allow the law to be modified down the road without having to wait 2 years to go back to the legislature, because Federal law requires states to review child support guidelines every four years to ensure appropriate child support orders are based on parent’s earnings.

Can you modify your child support order on February 1, 2020?

The big question is when can you modify a current child support order.   You cannot modify the order just because of the new law.   The new law only applies to new cases, or old cases that are up for review.  Child support amounts can be reviewed every three years or when there is a change in circumstance.   A change in circumstances is either a change in custody or a 20% change in income.