In Nevada, a parent is entitled to child support if the child lives with that parent more than 60% of the time.1 A parent is also entitled to child support if the parents share child custody in Nevada and the other parent makes more money.
When the paying parent’s gross monthly income (GMI) ranges from $1,700 to $6,000, their child support obligation depends on the number of children:
|Number of Children||Child Support|
|1 child||16% of GMI|
|2 children||22% of GMI|
|3 children||26% of GMI|
|4 children||28% of GMI|
|Each additional child||+2% of GMI|
But the amount of child support can be more or less depending on:
- The parents’ relative income and ability to pay, and
- Any special needs of the child or children.2
To help you better under Nevada’s child support laws, our Las Vegas family law attorneys will answer the following top 12 questions:
- 1. Who is entitled to child support payments in Nevada?
- 2. Can parents get child support if they were not married?
- 3. How does a court determine child support?
- 4. When can a court award extra child support?
- 5. When can a court award less child support?
- 6. When parents have joint custody
- 7. Can a Nevada child support order be modified?
- 8. What if the other parent lives out of state?
- 9. When do child support payments end?
- 10. What happens if a parent does not pay child support?
- 11. Can the state of Nevada help me collect child support?
- 12. How can a family lawyer help?
Under NRS 125B, a parent with “primary physical custody” of a child has a right to child support payments. A parent has primary physical custody if the child lives with that parent at least 61% of the time.
The other parent is known as a “non-custodial” parent. The non-custodial parent is the one who must usually pay child support.
If each parent has the child at least 40% of the time the parents have “joint custody.” There is a special rule for child support in joint custody cases, as discussed in Section 6, below.
Child support has nothing to do with marriage. It is based solely on one’s status as a parent.
Being a parent is not limited to married people. It is not even biology that determines whether you are a parent. Same-sex couples can be parents in Nevada. And in some cases, partners can agree to be parents.
To learn more about who is a parent, you may wish to read our articles on:
- Proving paternity in Nevada,3
- Nevada marriage,
- Same-sex marriages and civil unions,
- Domestic partnerships,
- Cohabitation (“live together”) agreements, and
- Surrogacy agreements.
Child support in Nevada varies depending on:
- How many children are receiving support, and
- The “non-custodial” parent’s gross monthly income.
“Gross monthly income” means the parent’s pre-tax income from all sources, including:
- Investment income,
- Rental income,
- Interest, and
- Alimony from a prior marriage.
If the parent is self-employed, he or she can deduct legitimate business expenses from the calculation of gross income.5
Estimate your child support using our Nevada child support calculator.
The court can increase the amount of child support a parent owes. It can do this if the parent with custody needs more for:
- Health insurance;
- Child care;
- Special educational needs;
- Special services that the parent with custody contributes;
- The costs of transporting the child to the other parent for visitation rights;
- Public assistance paid to support the child; or
- Any other necessary expenses for the benefit of the child.
But both parents are equally responsible for health care expenses not reimbursed from another source. The exception is if there are extraordinary circumstances.6
The court may order less child support than the statute calls for based on:
- A parent’s legal responsibility for the support of others;
- The amount of time the child spends with each parent; and/or
- The relative income of both parents.7
Sometimes parents share joint custody of their children. Joint custody exists when each parent has physical custody of a child at least 40% of the time.
When there is joint custody each parent must support the children. In the interest of fairness, the parent making more money must pay support to the parent making less.
Nevada courts calculate this difference using a formula called the Wright v. Osburn offset.8
The calculation is straightforward. Simply take the amount each parent would owe if they did not have custody. Then subtract the smaller amount from the larger one. The parent who earns more must pay this difference to the one who earns less.
Either parent can petition the court to modify a child support order when:
- The child has new special needs (such as medical support), or
- A parent can no longer afford to pay child support due to changed circumstances (such as losing a job),
- The other parent’s income has increased, or
- It has been 3 years or more since the court’s last review.9
A court must review a child support order if a parent’s gross monthly income has changed by more than 20%. It will also grant the petition if it has been at least 3 years since its last review. Otherwise, the court has the discretion to grant or deny a review.
If the court agrees to modify child support the new order will only apply to payments that have not yet accrued. The amount of support will not change with regard to any past due payments.
Parents entitled to child support from an out-of-state spouse may need to seek the help of an attorney in the other state.
Our firm has offices in California and Colorado, as well as relationships with lawyers in other states.
Child support payments normally cease when:
- The child turns 18, or
- Another family legally adopts the child.10
A parent must continue to pay support for a handicapped (disabled) child who is 18 or older until:
- The child is no longer handicapped, or
- The child becomes self-supporting.11
The law considers a child self-supporting if the child receives public assistance and it is sufficient to meet the child’s needs.
But the obligation to pay support for a disabled child applies only if the child became handicapped before he or she turned 18.
A child support order is a legal court judgment. The parent entitled to child support may take the other parent to court for child support enforcement.12
Failure to pay child support in Nevada for any significant period of time is also a crime.
If the parent owes less than $10,000 in delinquent child support, non-payment is a misdemeanor. Punishment can include:
- Up to 6 months in jail, and/or
- Up to $1,000 in fines.
If a parent owes more than $10,000 in child support, failure to pay is a felony in Nevada. Penalties can include:
- 1 – 5 years in Nevada State Prison, and
- Up to $10,000 in fines.
In criminal cases, the district attorney has the burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The state can provide assistance with some child support issues. The agency that provides help is the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Welfare and Supportive Services.
Parents can obtain this assistance by completing an Application for Child Support Services.
There is also a Nevada Interstate Child Support Office that can help you if your child’s other parent lives out of state.
But in either case, you will likely receive faster and better results by hiring your own lawyer.
Once a court enters a child support order, it can be costly and difficult to change it.
If you are the parent receiving support, a lawyer can help ensure you receive the maximum your child deserves. And if you are the one paying support, a lawyer can make sure you don’t pay more than you are legally required or willing to.
An experienced Las Vegas child support lawyer can also help you:
- Obtain custody of your children or modify a child custody order,
- Enforce your visitation rights,
- Get reimbursement for your child’s unpaid medical bills, or
- Enforce a court order for unpaid child support.
Need help with child support in Las Vegas? Call us…
If you need help negotiating, enforcing or defending against a child support order, our law firm invites you to call us for legal advice.
- Child Support Programs – DWSS
- Clark County Family Court (Las Vegas, NV)
- Presumptive Maximum Amounts of Child Support – Nevada Judiciary (now outdated law)
- Child Support Guidelines for Low Income Payers – Nevada Judiciary
- NRS 125B.030. Family Law Self-Help Center – Child Support.
- Child Support Obligation of Low-Income Payers – Nevada Courts.
- See also NRS Chapter 126 — Parentage.
- See NRS 125B.
- See NRS 125B.080.
- NRS 125B.080.
- Wright v. Osburn 970 P. 2d 1071 (1998).
- NRS 125B.145.
- NRS 125B.120 (2).
- NRS 125B.110 (1).
- NRS 125B.140. See also Hargrove v. Ward (2022) 38 Nev. Advance Opinion 14.