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What Counts as Income Under the 2020 Nevada Child Support Rules?

If a judge decides on your Nevada child support case after February 1, 2020, an entirely new set of rules will apply to the court’s decision. One of the most significant changes involves specific guidelines about what does (and does not) count as income in calculating the amount of child support.

Las Vegas family law attorney Joseph Gersten is fully prepared help clients who need assistance with a current child support case under the new rules. We wrote an overview article about the child support regulations shortly after they were approved and published. The following discussion provides additional information about the criteria for determining gross income for child support purposes. If you face a child support case and wish to talk with Attorney Gersten, we welcome you to contact us. At The Gersten Law Firm, your initial consultation is always free.

Calculation of Child Support Under the New Guidelines

The new guidelines provide rules for calculating the base amount of the child support obligation in a specific case. The calculated number is presumptively the amount of support necessary to meet the child’s basic needs. However, the presumption may be overcome (rebutted) with evidence. The regulations also provide a substantial number of other criteria that the court may or must take into account.

The base amount of child support is determined by applying percentages to the gross income of the person owing child support (referred to as the “obligor” in the regulations). Percentages depend on the number of children and income ranges, as follows:

For one (1) child, the sum of:

  • Sixteen percent (16%) of the first $6,000 of the obligor’s monthly gross income;
  • Eight percent (8%) of monthly gross income over $6,000 but equal to or less than $10,000; and
  • Four percent (4%) of monthly gross income over $10,000.

For two (2) children, the sum of:

  • Twenty-two percent (22%) of the first $6,000 of the obligor’s monthly gross income;
  • Eleven percent (11%) of monthly gross income over $6,000 but equal to or less than $10,000; and
  • Six percent (6%) of monthly gross income over $10,000.

For three (3) children, the sum of:

  • Twenty-six percent (26%) of the first $6,000 of the obligor’s monthly gross income;
  • Thirteen percent (13%) of monthly gross income over $6,000 but equal to or less than $10,000; and
  • Six percent (6%) of monthly gross income over $10,000.

For four (4) children, the sum of:

  • Twenty-eight percent (28%) of the first $6,000 of the obligor’s monthly gross income;
  • Fourteen percent (14%) of monthly gross income over $6,000 but equal to or less than $10,000; and
  • Seven percent (7%) of monthly gross income over $10,000.

For each additional child, the sum of:

  • An additional two percent (2%) of the first $6,000 of the obligor’s monthly gross income;
  • An additional one percent (1%) of monthly gross income over $6,000 but equal to or less than $10,000; and
  • An additional one-half percent (0.5%) of monthly gross income over $10,000.

The above schedule is presented to show how the base obligation is calculated. If you want to estimate the amount in your situation, you do not need to go through the schedule. You can use the free online calculator supported by the State of Nevada Division of Welfare and Supportive Services (DWSS). 

Before you can use the calculator, though, you must estimate the gross income of the obligor. The regulations define gross income in great detail.

What Does Gross Income Include For Nevada Child Support Calculation Purposes?

Before implementation of the new guidelines, there were no specific rules for judges to follow. As a result, each court and judge developed their own criteria. Now, the regulations set forth a detailed definition of gross income, listing specific items that are and are not included.

Under the child support regulations, gross income includes:

  • Salary and wages, including overtime pay if it is “substantial, consistent and can be accurately determined
  • Investment and interest income (not principal)
  • Social security disability and old-age insurance benefits under federal law
  • Periodic payments from an employment pension, retirement plan, or annuity
  • Workers’ compensation benefits or personal injury awards that replace income
  • Unemployment insurance payments
  • Income continuation benefits
  • Voluntary employee contributions to a deferred compensation plan, employee benefit or profit-sharing plan, pension, or retirement account, regardless of tax treatment
  • Military allowances and veterans’ benefits
  • Compensation for lost wages
  • Undistributed owner business income (subject to specific criteria)
  • Child care subsidy payments of a child care provider
  • Alimony
  • All other income of a party, regardless of whether the income is taxable (subject to a narrow exception)

The regulations specifically provide that the following are not included in gross income:

  • Child support received
  • Foster care or kinship care payments
  • Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits
  • Cash benefits from a county
  • Supplemental security income benefits / state supplemental payments
  • Public assistance and social services payments (except child care subsidies)
  • Personal injury compensation that does not replace income (e.g. payments for pain and suffering)

The regulations provide that the parties may agree to a monthly gross income figure. If the parties do not stipulate the amount, the court determines gross income. In doing so, the judge may impute income and must take into account the circumstances of the specific obligor.

Do You Need a Lawyer For a Child Support Case?

While the gross income of the obligor is a significant factor in calculating child support under the new regulations, it is important to remember that the base support calculation is not the only factor that enters into determining child support. The regulations establish many other criteria for the judge to take into account, depending on the specific circumstances and situation of the parties.

The regulations also allow the parties to agree on (stipulate to) the amount of child support. However, the court has authority to disapprove an agreement that is coerced or provides an amount that does not meet the needs of the child. When parties represented by legal counsel, they may be able to negotiate a child support agreement. Provisions of the regulations and the gross income definition are likely to be a factor in those negotiations.

In any circumstances, applying the new regulations is an extremely complex task that requires detailed analysis. If you are considering initiating a new support case or you face child custody and support issues, it is essential to consult with an attorney who understands the new regulations. In addition, the revised rules will apply to actions seeking modification of existing child support or custody orders, so consulting with a lawyer in those situations is equally critical.

Additional details about the new regulations are available in our previous blog post, New Nevada Child Support Regulations Go Into Effect on February 1, 2020.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Trusted Las Vegas Child Support Attorney

If you face child support or child custody issues in Las Vegas, Henderson, or elsewhere in Clark County, Las Vegas family law attorney Joseph Gersten is here to help. Attorney Gersten understands the difficulty and emotional stress that accompanies any legal matter relating to children. He will evaluate your case based on his extensive experience and skill and work aggressively to protect your rights and interests.

Your initial consultation is always free-of-charge at The Gersten Law Firm. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.

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