Piggy bank and coinsThis is the next post in my series discussing the process of asking the Clark County Family Court to modify an existing child support order. My last post provided an overview of topics which I will be discussing over the course of this series. In this article I will explain who is and who is not eligible to receive a modified child support payment.

Modifications to child support payments have to do with income. In a situation where a parent has primary custody, child support payment is based only on the paying parent’s income. For example, if the paying parent earns $1000 a month at the time when custody is established then the original child support order will likely be based on this amount. Nevada imposes a payment of eighteen percent for one child so support would be set at $180.

If parents have joint custody, child support payments are based on considering both parent’s income. For example, if parent 1 earns $1000 a month, and parent 2 earns $2000 a month, parent 2 would have to pay parent 1 a monthly amount set on the basis of parent 2 earning twice as much money.

A child support modification can be requested if the secondary parent’s income changes by more than 20%, either up or down. In a joint custody situation, child support can be modified if either parent’s monthly income changes by more than 20%, either up or down. In the joint custody scenario, this may mean that if parent 1 (in the scenario above) receives a raise and begins earning $1200 a month, parent 2 could ask for a reduction in child support payments. However, if parent 1 loses their job, and get’s a new job making only $800 a month, they could ask the Court to make parent 2 increase their payments to make up the difference.

It is important to understand that the Courts make child support determinations based only on income and not on the parent’s expenses for the child. This means that it does not matter how much either parent spends on food, clothing, entertainment, school supplies, or extracurricular activities for the child. In extraordinary circumstances a parent may be able to argue that their child meets an exception in which the Court should consider setting support outside of the standard formula. For example, if the child is extremely gifted and requires money for specialized lessons or training. But this example would be very rare. In the outstanding majority of cases a Judge will simply tell a parent to learn to live within their means if they attempt to argue that they need more money than they are entitled under the State’s formula.

If you are a parent and either pay or receive child support, you likely require a modification if you have experienced a significant change in income. Contact our office today and schedule a consultation with our Las Vegas child support attorney.