Soldier holding handThis is the fourth post in my series on how being in the military affects child custody and family law issues. My last post discussed how deployment can affect and change custody agreements in Nevada. In this post, I will be discussing a topic many Las Vegas military persons are concerned with following a divorce – how their child support payments will be calculated.

Child support payments of Las Vegas military members is calculated based on both taxable and nontaxable income

When a couple splits up, if they have children together, both parents are expected to contribute to the financial well-being of their kids. The US military also takes family responsibility seriously, and expects all service persons to adequately support their family, in the case of a divorce. However, military persons are often surprised to find out that their “adequate” child support payments are higher than expected.

The Nevada courts calculate child support payments based on total gross income. For Las Vegas military persons who receive additional allowances and income beyond their base pay, this can become somewhat complicated to calculate. The courts will begin with your base pay salary, and then calculate housing allowances, food allowances, hazardous pay, consistent overtime pay, and any other monies you receive. While the IRS does not tax housing and food allowances for military members, the courts have consistently included this “income” as part of their child support payment formula. From there, standard child support guidelines for Nevada apply. A military member will be expected to pay 18% of total income for one child, and 25% of gross total income for a second child. For additional children, the percentage of total income continues to increase.

Military commanding officers may be tough on Las Vegas service members who do not pay adequate child support

While the military cannot directly take money out of your paycheck to pay child support, they do reserve the right to punish those who are “deadbeat” parents. The military expects every member to show integrity and be of an unquestionable character. The military will not tolerate members who fail to support their children. Each branch of the military have their own guidelines as to what an “adequate” payment structure for child support would be. While this structure is not legally binding, it can be used as a guide until an official court order is worked out. If you fail to pay child support, and a court order is in place, you can not only get into trouble with the court, but your commanding officer may be contacted and punish you as they see fit.

Many military members do not consider housing allowances “income” and are surprised when they learn what their child support payments will be. If you are in the military, consult a Las Vegas attorney who understands how child support is calculated prior to going to court. Our office will ensure that your monthly payments are fair based on your income. Contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.