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How do Las Vegas judges calculate child support?

In the United States, the family laws of each state are created, enacted and upheld by the legislature and courts of that state with little input from the federal government. This means that many key areas of family law, such as child custody and child support, can differ significantly from state to state.

As such, it can be daunting and confusing (and generally impossible) for divorcing or recently divorced parents to figure out exactly what their child support obligations may be. While there is no specific, uniform formula for determining a child support amount, there are a few set guidelines that Las Vegas family court judges will use to make their child support determination.

Some of the factors considered by the courts are:

  • The child custody arrangement and the amount of time each parent has the child under a joint custody agreement
  • The income and needs of the parent with primary custody
  • The income of the payor parent, as well as any outstanding loans, taxes and other financial obligations of the paying parent
  • The financial needs of the child, including health care, health insurance, day care, education, extracurriculars and activities, etc.
  • The child’s standard of living prior to the divorce (with a recognition that it may not be possible to keep the child at that standard after the split)

After considering those factors, the judge will determine where the family falls in a set range of possible child support payments. If a parent’s income later changes, he or she will have to petition the court for a modification of the support order.

Source: Reuters, “How Child Support Calculations Work,” Andrew Lu, Aug. 12, 2012

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