If you are affected by unemployment due to the coronavirus Covid-19, you may wonder whether that change means you can adjust a child support obligation. You also may have other reasons for wanting to change the child support you pay or receive.
In Nevada, changes in a child support order or agreement can only be made by a court after one of the parties requests modification of the order or approval of a change in the agreement between the parties. In addition, Nevada laws establish requirements for filing a modification request with the court.
Las Vegas attorney Joseph Gersten assists clients with all types of family law matters, including child support and custody. Your first consultation at The Gersten Law Firm is always free of charge. If you would like to talk with us about support or another family law matter, call us at 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.
Nevada courts determine the amount of child support according to state laws and regulations. In February 2020, the applicable regulations underwent substantial revision. The new rules apply to any child support proceeding now, including a request for modification of the amount of an obligation in an existing child support order or agreement.
Under state law and the new rules, there are generally three situations in which a person may request modification of a child support obligation:
To determine whether your situation qualifies under one of these requirements, you should talk with an experienced Las Vegas child support attorney. Demonstrating the basis for modification of an order or agreement requires legal analysis and the ability to present of supporting evidence in court. It is not advisable for anyone to attempt to get an order modified without assistance of knowledgeable legal counsel.
The new Nevada child support regulations contain specific provisions that apply to court determinations if an obligor is unemployed or underemployed (NAC 425.125). The judge has authority to review the reasons for unemployment (or underemployment) and take the circumstances into account in deciding the appropriate amount of child support.
If there is “no good cause” for the unemployment or underemployment, the judge can assign additional income to the obligor. If you consider asking for modification of a child support order because of unemployment, you should discuss the circumstances of your unemployment with your attorney for this reason. Obviously, unemployment due to the Covid-19 lockdown does have an underlying “good cause,” but unemployment for other reasons might trigger an inquiry by the court under this provision.
Additional details about the effect of unemployment on child support — including new child support orders and modification of existing orders — are included in our previous blog post, Do You Owe Child Support If You’re Unemployed?
Special provisions of the child support regulations apply to modification requests by individuals in federal or state prison or county jail, as well as people committed involuntary to a facility for detention of children or a mental health facility. If you are or were incarcerated or involuntarily institutionalized for 180 consecutive days or more — or you are facing a prison term of that length — you can learn more about these special child support rules in our separate blog post, What Happens to Your Child Support Obligation if You’re in Prison?
When you ask the court to adjust the amount of child support in court order, the judge will review your case under the Nevada child support regulations. The new rules are extremely complex. While they provide calculations for determining child support, they also list numerous other factors and circumstances that may affect the judge’s decision on the appropriate amount of support.
To justify a request for modification, you need to present evidence to the judge that supports your request. Assembling the evidence and presenting it in court requires representation by an experienced attorney.
Factual evidence is necessary whether you are an obligor asking the court to lower the amount of support you pay, or you are an obligee receiving support requesting an increase because of a change in circumstances. Convincing a court to modify an existing support order requires a knowledgeable family law attorney with courtroom experience and detailed knowledge of the laws and regulations that apply. Your lawyer also ensures all specific procedural rules and notice requirements are met.
If you wish to ask the court to modify your child support order, and you live in Las Vegas, Henderson, or elsewhere in Clark County, experienced 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.
The Gersten Law Firm does not charge for your initial consultation. Call us at 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.