DETERMINING HOW MUCH YOU WILL PAY IN CHILD SUPPORT One of the most frequently asked questions when we first meet with a potential client relates to child support. This is an important question because child support provides for the cost of care, support, education and maintenance of the minor child/children. Luckily, during a time of turmoil and uncertainty, there is an easy answer for our clients: It depends on how much you make and how many children you have. Child Support is governed by Statute. The Court will first determine your gross monthly income (pre-tax) and will use that number to determine the amount owed based on either a joint physical custody scenario or a primary physical custody scenario. In a primary physical custody situation, the non-custodial parent is obligated to pay child support to the other parent. In a joint physical custody situation, the Court looks at the gross monthly income of each parent, and uses the difference as the equalizing amount. Joint physical custody does not have to mean 50-50 or “equal” time. A parent only needs to have custody of a child/children 40% of the time to be a candidate for Joint Physical Custody. The following percentages are used in a primary physical custody scenario:
- One child: 18% of the obligor parent’s gross monthly income
- Two children: 25% of the obligor parent’s gross monthly income
- Three children: 29% of the obligor parent’s gross monthly income
- Four children: 31% of the obligor parent’s gross monthly income
Nevada has a cap for child support based upon the payor’s income. The caps are modified on a yearly basis and run from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014. They are applied per child. But what about those tricky joint custody situations discussed above? Here is an example of how that works. Parent A and Parent B have joint physical custody of 2 children. Parent A’s gross monthly income is $2,500 per month. Parent B’s gross monthly income is $5,000 per month. The court will determine what each parent’s obligation would be (25% for two children). Thus, Parent A’s obligation would be $625 per month and Parent B’s obligation would be $1,250 (monthly income times 25%). Since Parent B owes more in child support each month the court will subtract Parent A’s obligation from Parent B’s obligation and Parent B will have to pay the difference. In this scenario, Parent B will have to pay $625 per month.
Jessica H. Anderson
Divorce Attorney Reno, NV