Child support is a simply mathematical calculation that is based upon the custodial timeshare either agreed to by the parents or awarded by the Court and the gross monthly income of the parents.  Here is a breakdown of child support when a parent has primary physical custody, when parents have joint physical custody and when the custodial designation is not the same with all children.

In a situation where a parent has been awarded primary physical custody, child support is calculated using the non-custodial parents gross monthly income.  Gross monthly income is the amount before taxes or deductions (health insurance, life insurance, union dues, 401(k) payments/contributions).  If the job is tip-based, tips are included in the gross monthly income.  If there are two children then child support is 25% of the non-custodial parents gross monthly income pursuant to NRS § 125B.070.  As an example, if the non-custodial parent earns $3,500 then child support is calculated as follows $3,500 x 0.25 = $875 which is paid from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent.

In a situation where the parents have joint physical custody, child support is calculated using both parents gross monthly income.  If the parents have one child then child support is 18% of each parents income.  After calculating the child support for each parent you take the difference to get the child support obligation.  Wright v. Osburn, 114 Nev. 1367, 970 P.2d 1070 (1998).  As an example, let’s say that Dad earns $3,500 then his child support obligation is $630 ($3,500 x 0.18); let’s say that Mom’s income is $2,750.00 then her obligation is $495 ($2,750 x .18); and the difference between the obligations is $135 per month which would be paid from Dad to Mom.

On March 15, 2018, the Nevada Supreme Court issued a decision in Miller v. Miller, 134 Nev. ____, __P.3d (Adv. Opn. No. 16, March 15, 2018), which addresses child support when the custodial designation or timeshare is not the same with all children.  The decision in Miller created a method for the District Courts Judges that had never been in place before the ruling.  Here is a breakdown of the application of Miller:

  1. Calculate each parent’s gross monthly income.  Gross monthly income is the amount before taxes or deductions (health insurance, life insurance, union dues, 401(k) payments/contributions).  If the job is tip-based, tips are included in the gross monthly income.
  2. Determine the appropriate percentage in child support for the total number of children pursuant to NRS § 125B.070- one child is 18%, two children is 25% and three children is 29% (the statute contains additional guidelines for children over three).
  3. Determine each parents child support obligation.  This number is reached by taking the gross monthly income and calculating it by the percentage.  Here are some examples:
    1. $4,200 gross monthly income:
      1. 18%-      $4,200 x 0.18 = $756
      1. 25%-      $4,200 x 0.25 = $1,050
      1. 29%-      $4,200 x 0.29 = $1,218
    1. $1,750 gross monthly income:
      1. 18%-      $1,750 x 0.18 = $315
      1. 25%-      $1,750 x 0.25 = $437
      1. 29%-      $1,750 x 0.29 = $507
  4. Divide the child support obligation by the number of children.  So, if the obligation is $1,050 per month and there are two children the number is $525 per month.
    1. $1,050/2 (children) = $525
    1. $437.50/2 (children) = $218.75
  5. Do the Miller calculation (example):
    1. How many children?
      1. 2
    1. What is the timeshare?
      1. The parents have joint physical custody of one child, and Dad has primary physical custody of the other child.
    1. What is the amount of child support?
      1. Calculate the amount for joint physical custody by taking the higher from the lower child support obligation.  Using the figures above, let’s assume that Mom makes $4,200 and Dad makes $1,750.  In that case, for the child that they have joint physical custody of the Mom would pay the Dad child support of $306.25 ($525 – $218.75).
      1. Calculate the child support for the child Dad has primary physical custody of by using the figure in section 4 above which would be $525.
      1. Total child support in this matter would be $306.25 plus $525.00 for a total obligation of $831.25 owed from Mom to Dad.

These child support examples do not take into account deviation pursuant to NRS § 125B.080 or statutory caps.  However, it is likely in 2019, child support will again be revisited and these examples will be outdates.  There is currently a plan to modify child support which has been proposed and is waiting for approval from the Governor.

         Knowing the child support calculations will lead to more certainty in Court and will encourage settlement. 

Jason Stoffel is a family law practitioner in private practice since 2004.  He is a partner in Roberts Stoffel Family Law Group , a Las Vegas, Nevada family law firm.