04 Apr Child Support Calculations
For parents readying for divorce, there’s plenty to process. As with most of life’s trying events, fortune favors the prepared. While there are many things you can’t possibly know in advance, aspects like child support calculations are somewhat predictable. Knowing what you’ll soon be budgeting for, whether it’s coming in or going out, lends you some clarity in uncertain times.
Rules of the Road
Generally, states clearly define financial responsibilities in primary custody and joint custody cases. Finances can be contentious during a marriage, and certainly following its dissolution. Nevada has established rules governing child support, which typically eliminate guesswork and foster parental accountability. While both parents contribute to the cost of raising a child or children, only one will pay child support to the other. In cases where the party has primary custody, this is the non-custodial parent. In joint or split custody arrangements, the higher wage earner pays support to the other parent. Often misinterpreted as a form of punishment for the higher-earner, it is rather the most equitable way to distribute income across two households and ensure consistent support and well-being.
Arriving at the Number
Child support payments depend on the custody order, number of children involved, and gross monthly incomes of both parents. This last factor is commonly referred to as the custody arrangement. Parents can estimate child support with online calculators, but ultimately the figure must be approved and ordered by the court. Arriving at the number is often fraught with hostility though, which is why retaining an experienced family law attorney is critical. Good divorce attorneys can advise their client on likely rulings regarding custody arrangements, which in turn impacts support obligations.
Doing the Math
While the State endeavors to streamline support calculations, multiple variables remain including employment status and type, custody, presumptive maximums and external fiscal responsibilities, which again make the case for hiring a skilled attorney. Nonetheless, the below charts give a brief idea of how support is calculated in the simplest scenarios:
Non-custodial parents pay the following percentage of gross monthly income*:
- for one child, 18%
- for two children, 25%
- for three children, 29%
- for four children, 31%, and
- for each additional child, an additional 2%
*In joint custody situations, these percentages are applied to both parents’ gross monthly income and the resulting numbers are offset so that the higher wage earner pays the lower wage earner.
In the End
The reality about divorce with children is that usually, there are black and white areas of the law; that being said, child support calculations is one of the more black and white areas. Nevada family law attorneys like Lauren Berkich are here to guide you through Nevada’s child support system.