What Happens to Your Child Support Obligation If You’re in Prison?
If you serve six (6) months or more in prison, you may ask a Nevada court review to your child support obligation during incarceration and on release. New state child support regulations have specific provisions governing review and adjustment of child support orders for individuals in prison or involuntarily committed.
The new rules apply to persons incarcerated or involuntarily institutionalized for 180 consecutive days or more. If you’re facing prison time, it’s important to be aware of the new regulations. In addition, if you are the recipient of child support from someone facing a prison sentence or involuntary commitment, you should be aware that there may be a court proceeding to change the amount of the child support.
Las Vegas family law attorney Joseph Gersten shares all the important concerns of individuals, families, and businesses resulting from the coronavirus. During this difficult and stressful time, Attorney Gersten continues to be available to assist existing and new clients with child support matters and other issues. If The Gersten Law Firm can assist you in any way, please do not hesitate to reach out to us by phone or email, or through our online form.
Child Support Obligations During Incarceration and Following Release
New Nevada child support regulations became effective on February 1, 2020. The rules apply to any child support determination or modification of an existing child support order that occurs on or after the effective date of the regulations.
The rules apply to individuals in federal or state prison or county jail and those committed involuntarily to a facility for the detention of children or a mental health facility.
The most important provision entitles a person who meets the 180-day criteria — or who is released from prison or a facility after 180 days or more — to request a court hearing for modification of a support order. Under the regulation, the imprisonment or release constitutes a substantial change in circumstances that warrants court review of a child support order and adjustment of the order on the basis of the obligor’s ability to pay, if appropriate. Either party to the order or the enforcing authority may petition the court for the review.
In addition, the regulations provide that for purposes of child support, a court may not treat incarceration or involuntary institutionalization as voluntary unemployment. Otherwise, a court could impute income to an obligor under the unemployment / underemployment provisions of the regulations.
In reviewing the order, the court may determine that the obligor is able to pay more or less than the amount in the order during incarceration or institutionalization. The rule specifies how support is determined following release if a lower or higher amount was ordered during incarceration.
Finally, the regulations make it clear that these special provisions relating to incarceration and institutionalization do not prohibit a person or enforcing authority from petitioning a court for determination of a child support obligation or any arrearage.
Legal Representation in a Las Vegas Child Support Case
The new child support regulations apply to all proceedings for new determinations or modification of existing orders. The rules are extremely complex. Whether you are the party seeking child support or have a petition filed against you, it is essential to be represented by an experienced family law attorney who understands the new rules.
Under the child support rules, there are many different factors that can affect the amount of support. When a judge decides on child support, the only information the court takes into account is evidence introduced during the hearing. Child support proceedings in court involve introduction of evidence by both sides. Legal rules of evidence and local court rules apply to the introduction of evidence.
Your attorney ensures that the court receives all the relevant evidence in your favor before making a decision in the case, to ensure that the judge has all the necessary information about your circumstances and can make a fair determination. Your lawyer can also question or refute evidence introduced by the other parties. Those are just two of the important reasons that legal representation is critical.
Additional Information About Child Support in Las Vegas
Additional information about child support court determinations under the new rules is available in our first blog post about the new regulations, which explains in detail how a court determines the amount of child support in a particular case. Our subsequent posts address what counts as income for purposes of child support, the role of custody in a child support case, and the effect of unemployment on a child support obligation.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced Las Vegas Child Support Attorney
If you face child support issues involving incarceration or institutionalization or other issues, Las Vegas family law attorney Joseph Gersten is here to help. The Gersten Law Firm assists clients in Las Vegas, Henderson, and elsewhere in Clark County.
Your initial consultation is always free-of-charge. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.