Person performing calculationsThis is the next post in a series on how a Las Vegas parent may go about requesting a modification to an existing child support order. My last post explained the criteria necessary for a parent who either pays or receives child support to request a modification. In this post I will be explaining how the Court determines a parent’s monthly income when a parent has a job in which their income is flexible. If you are involved in a dispute regarding child support then it is suggested that you contact an attorney immediately.

Las Vegas is a tourism town and many of our residents work in the service industry. Waitresses, busboys, cocktail servers, and table games dealers make up a huge percentage of our city’s employment. These are also tip based careers, and one’s monthly income is largely dependent on shifting factors such as the time of year, the economy, and the generosity of nightly guests. When one is expected to pay a set monthly amount of child support when one works a tip based job, this can cause a certain amount of anxiety.

When a parent works in a service industry job the Clark County Family Court will determine income based off of the previous year’s total amount and determine an average monthly salary. This means that the Court assumes the parent knows when the busier times of the year are in their given profession and expect them to plan accordingly. During high tourism times, such as March Madness, Thanksgiving, Spring Break, and during other high profile athletic events, it is important for a parent to put a little extra money aside. The Court will not be sympathetic if a parent claims they do not have the means to pay their child support during less busy times of the year, such as the middle of the summer of Christmas time.

With that said, a parent can make an argument for a reduction in child support payments, if they can prove that the change in their income is “permanent” and not a result of the season. For example, if the economy has taken a significant and easily proven dive, and fewer people are both frequenting and spending less money in one’s particular place of employment over the course of several months, one may be able to ask for a child support reduction. In order to prove to the Court that one’s income has changed, a parent must be able to show that their income has been reduced by at least 20% for several consecutive months in a row, when compared to the same months the previous year.

When a person works in the service industry, or a commission based career, it is important to keep careful records and stay up to date on how one’s income changes over time. Every two years a parent is automatically eligible for a child support payment review; if one’s income has changed, it is imperative to take advantage of the opportunity for a reduction. If you work in a tip based job in Las Vegas, it is important to ensure one is not paying more child support than they can afford. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment with a child support lawyer and to discuss your options.