Child Support Nevada

How to Calculate Nevada Child Support

Child support is a payment made by one parent – typically the “primary” or “custodial” parent – to the other parent – typically the “non-primary” or “non-custodial” parent – or to a guardian for the financial benefit of a child or children.

It is meant to cover the child’s basic living expenses, such as food, clothing, shelter, health care, and education. Child support is typically paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent, or, if both parents share custody, to from the parent with the lesser amount of time to the parent with the greater amount of time. Child support is usually ordered by a court as part of a divorce or separation agreement.

The total amount of child support that is owed is based on the total gross monthly income of both parents and adjusted proportionately based on each parent’s income and percentage of custody based on the number of overnights the child spends with each parent and the total number of children.

Click here to calculate your child support amount using our easy and helpful calculator.

Understanding Child Support Laws in Nevada

All parents, regardless of whether they have custody, have a duty to support their children, at minimum, until that child turns 18.  A custodial parent, necessarily, incurs more of the expenses of raising the child or children than the noncustodial parent. To help equalize the costs, the state creates a duty on the noncustodial parent to pay child support to the custodial parent. This includes payments to cover the costs of necessary maintenance – such as food, clothing, child care, and reasonable entertainment – and education. This applies regardless of whether the couple is married.

Part of that duty of support is to provide medical support – i.e., health insurance – and contribute to the expenses incurred during pregnancy and delivery. Practically, that means that if the noncustodial parent has private health insurance, such as through an employer, it must be made available to the custodial parent and the children at a reasonable cost – not to exceed 5% of the custodial parent’s gross monthly income. If no private health insurance is available, then the noncustodial parent must provide additional payment to cover health insurance or offset medical costs, not to exceed 5% of the non-custodial parent’s gross monthly income.

This also applies when the parents and the child do not live together, such as if the child is removed and placed in foster care. In cases such as those, child support is paid to the person who has legal physical custody of the child, including a grandparent, a guardian, or a foster parent.

The child support obligation continues until the child reaches the age of 18 (19 if the child is still in high school) – except if disabled –, becomes emancipated, or is adopted, unless a court order states otherwise. Back child support cannot be discharged or forgiven except by court order. Unpaid child support may result in criminal or civil sanctions, including liens on real and personal property, and is enforced by the court.

The Nevada District Courts have jurisdiction for child support obligations. Moving from one county in Nevada to another does not require new documents to be filed in the new county – the current orders are still enforceable in the new county by the new district court.


Child support used to have a presumptive monthly maximum limit. However, this has changed. In 2017, the Nevada legislature had the Division of Welfare and Support Services to review 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; 3) the new guidelines define “gross income” more thoroughly.

Gross income – now includes things such as alimony, interest from investment income, periodic payments from pensions and retirement, unemployment proceeds, business income, plus the normal salary and wages. It excludes child support received.

Tiered System – instead of taking a percentage based on the total gross income, the tiered system now takes a percentage of each tier of income – one percentage for the first $6,000 of gross income earned per month by the paying party, another for gross income from $6,001 to $10,000, and a third for monthly gross income above $10,000. The percentages depend on the number of children at issue.  This also helps stagger payments for the income levels.

No more presumptive maximum – the goal of the new child support percentages was to give those making under $6,000 gross income relief and to give those making more than $10,000 gross income per month a higher obligation. Overall, child support is going down for parents earning $6,000 or less from what was due under the existing statute.

Calculating Child Support in Las Vegas

Child support is based on three factors. 1) Parental Income; 2) Custody time (joint or primary); and 3) the number of children. However, there are factors to deviate (adjust) from the statutory formula. Those factors include:

  • Any special educational needs of the child(ren)
  • The legal responsibility of the parties for the support of others
  • The value of services contributed by either party
  • Any public assistance paid to support the child(ren)
  • The cost of transportation of the child(ren) to and from parenting time
  • The relative income of both households, so long as the adjustment does not exceed the total obligation of the other party
  • Any other necessary expenses for the benefit of the child
  • The obligor’s ability to pay

The court may also include benefits received by a child under federal law based on a parent’s entitlement to federal disability or old-age insurance benefits in the parent’s gross income and adjust an obligor’s child support obligation to subtract the amount of the child’s benefit. However, this cannot require a payee to reimburse an obligor for any portion of the child’s benefit.

Step-by-Step Guide to Calculating Child Support

In calculating child support, there are three considerations:

  • Physical Custody – There are two types of physical custody.
    1. Joint custody, which describes a situation where the child(ren) resides with each parent roughly 50% of the time.
    2. Primary custody, which describes a situation where the child(ren) resides with one parent 61% of the time or more.

In Joint custody situations, each parent’s income will be offset to calculate child support, meaning the parenting making a higher income will pay support to the parent making a lower income.

In Primary custody situations, only the income of the “non-primary” parent is used to calculate support.

  • Number of children – The number of children of the parents determine the percentages of income used in the formula. See the chart below, use our handy child support calculator here, or contact one of our helpful attorneys for more information.
  • Gross Monthly Income – The amount of money earned before taxes. It includes salary, wages, overtime, self-employment income, business income, investment income, alimony, periodic payments from pensions or retirement accounts, and unemployment. It does not include money received from child support payments.
Number of Children $6,000 $6,001 to $10,000 Over $10,000
1 Child 16% 8% 4%
2 Children 22% 11% 6%
3 Children 26% 13% 6%
4 Children 28% 14% 7%
Each Additional Child over 4 2% 1% 0.05%


Child Support Calculations for Primary Custody:

  • Take the number of children and the gross monthly income up to $6,000 and times it by the percentage indicated on the table.
  • Take the number of children and the gross monthly income from $6,001 to $10,000 and times it by the percentage indicated on the table.
  • Take the number of children and the gross monthly income over $10,000 and times it by the percentage indicated on the table.
  • Add those three numbers together.  This is the total monthly child support obligation.

Child Support Calculations for Joint Custody:

In Joint Custody arrangements, each parent’s gross monthly income is multiplied by the percentage and the amounts are then subtracted from the other.

  • Use the steps for Primary Custody arrangements above for each parent’s gross monthly income.
  • Subtract the lower number from the higher number.
  • The parent with the higher income pays the remaining amount.

Examples of Nevada Child Support Calculations

Primary Custody Example:

There are 5 children from these parents. Non-primary parent earns $11,000 gross monthly income.

$6,000*(28%+2%) =  $1,800

$4,000*(14%+1%) =  $600

+$1,000*(7%+0.05%) = +$70.50  

=                                      $2,470.50

Result: Non-primary parent pays primary parent $2,470.50 per month

Joint Custody Example:

There are 3 children from Parents 1 and 2. Parent 1 makes $5,000 gross monthly income. Parent 2 makes $8,000 gross monthly income.

Parent 1: $5,000*26%=$1,300    Parent 2: $6,000*26%=$1,560;


Parent 1: $1,300; Parent 2: $1,820


– $1,300


Result: Parent 2 pays Parent 1 $520 per month

What is Child Support Used For?

Child support does not need to be shown to be used directly on the child. The receiving parent can use it to pay rent, buy food, pay utilities, etc. The parents of a child are also responsible for paying for health care, education, support, funeral expenses (in the event of death), and the mother’s pregnancy and delivery expenses.

This obligation exists regardless of whether the parents were married to each other at the time the child was born. However, child support laws do not allow judges to order support for extracurricular activities, or private school or college tuition.

Child support is also allowed to cover half of the medical expenses and half of the daycare expenses for each child. Child support may be extended to 19 years old if the child is still in high school, or beyond if the child is disabled.

How Far Back Can Child Support Be Claimed?

When the parents don’t live together, the parent with physical custody may recover from the non-custodial parent a reasonable portion of the cost of care, support, education and maintenance that the primary parent provided. If there is no order of support, the primary parent may recover no more than 4 years of support before starting an action to establish a child support.

How Do You Modify Child Support in Las Vegas?

Either parent may petition (ask) the court to modify a child support order in certain cases, called a change in circumstances, or when it has been 3 years or more since the court has last reviewed the order. Changes in circumstances occur when:

  • The child has new special needs, like medical support
  • A parent has changed or lost employment and can no longer afford the current child support order
  • A parent has changed employment and has an increased income

If a parent’s gross monthly income has changed by more than 20%, the court must review a child support order. Otherwise, the court has the discretion whether to deny or grant a review.

If the court agrees to a modification, the new order will apply only to new payments. The order will not change any past due payments.

How Do You Get a Child Support Order?

Child support orders are granted by the family court or the enforcement office. Before a child support order may be granted, the father must either be on the birth certificate or presumed the father.

Presumptive paternity – paternity is presumed under four conditions:

  • When a child’s parents were married to each other and the child was born during the marriage, or within 285 days of the end of the marriage;
  • When a child’s parents were cohabitating for at least 6 months before the period of conception and continued to cohabit through the period of conception
  • When a child’s parents attempted to marry, but the marriage is invalid (or could be declared invalid), and the child is born during the attempted marriage or within 285 days after its end
  • When a man takes a minor child into his home and openly holds out the child as his

Paternity may also be established by blood or genetic test if shown to a 99% or more probability (unless the man has an identical sibling who may be the father).

Once a father is found, there are two ways to establish a child support order:

Family Court – either parent can file a petition for child support with the district court. This process is mainly used when parents are not married (so divorce isn’t needed), but would like a custody schedule. The process for child custody and child support mirrors a divorce (curious? you can check out the divorce process here), except there is no division of assets or debts. There is mandatory mediation when custody is involved.

Enforcement Office – Either parent may go to the District Attorney in the county to establish support. However, this option does not allow for a custody schedule. When a single parent applies for public assistance, the enforcement office is automatically notified and attempts to create a support order to offset public funds.

Top Child Support Questions

  • What if the other parent lives out of state?
    • Children are entitled to child support (the primary parent receives it on behalf of the child and uses the funds for the child’s benefit). When a parent lives out of state, an out-of-state attorney may be needed, but generally, each state has a method to enforce out-of-state judgments of child support.
  • What if the other parent refuses to pay child support?
    • A child support order is a legal court order – a judgment. The parent entitled to receive payment on behalf of the child may take the other parent to court to enforce the order, or request the District Attorney enforce the order.
    • Failure to pay child support for any significant period of time is a crime. The District Attorney has the burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal cases.
      • If a parent owes less than $10,000 in back child support, non-payment is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
      • If a parent owes more than $10,000 in back child support, non-payment is a felony punishable by 1-5 years in a Nevada State Prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
  • Can child support be ordered if the parents are not married?
    • Child support is not dependent on marriage. It is based entirely on one’s status as a parent – male or female, cisgender, LGBTQ, etc.
  • When does child support end?
    • Child support payments end when a child turns 18 (or 19 if still in high school).
    • However, if a child is disabled – and that disability started before the child turned 18 – payments continue until the child is either 1) no longer disabled or 2) self-supporting. A child is considered self-supporting if that child receives public assistance and that assistance is sufficient to meet the child’s needs.

Child support can be tricky. While our child support calculator, found here, is straightforward and easy to use, navigating the process is less so. Obtaining top legal advice is key to ensuring fairness and accuracy in the calculation and obtaining the best results for you and your family.

Let our top divorce, custody, and child support attorneys help you out by clarifying and streamlining the process. Check out our free Divorce & Child Custody Guide and schedule a free consultation today!

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Rock Rocheleau