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Child Support Guidelines And Deviating From Them


Any divorcing couple with children will likely be concerned about child support, either about the amount or whether it should be paid at all. Like many other states, Nevada has support guidelines written into its law, meaning that there is at least a place to start when a court seeks to assign an appropriate amount. However, it is possible to deviate from those guidelines, assuming certain factors turn out to be true in an individual case. If you are confused about the amount of support you are being told to pay, there is likely a legal rationale for it as a judge’s discretion is not unrestricted in determining an amount.

What Are The Guidelines?

Child support guidelines are a series of values that are meant to recommend to family court judges what the appropriate amount of child support should be for a family with a certain number of children at certain income levels. Nevada’s guidelines are somewhat unique in that while most states calculate their guidelines based on a flat percentage of both parents’ incomes, Nevada uses only the obligor’s gross income, where one parent has primary physical custody (the obligor is the person required to pay support). Nevada courts do calculate support based on both parents’ gross monthly income when the parties have joint physical custody.

Nevada is also unique in that it is (as of this writing) the only state to set presumptive maximum child support amounts based upon monthly income. The rationale is that where many children are involved, the support amounts can add up significantly. The court must not be in the business of bankrupting people, so the way Nevada tries to address this is to set maximum child support.

When Can A Court Deviate From The Guidelines?

Nevada also has one of the highest percentages of deviating from the guidelines, and this is thought to be at least in part due to the unusual setup of the law itself. In Nevada, the work done by exemptions or adjustments is done via deviation from the guidelines, so the statistics for deviation are necessarily higher. However, the court must deviate within one of the statutory factors for deviation and cannot simply “create” justifications for deviation.

There are many reasons why a family court might elect to deviate from standard support guidelines, which assign an average amount to be paid per child. One common factor is disability – depending on the child’s condition, they may require extra help such as therapy or mobility aids, and it is not uncommon to ask the obligor to pay more to help secure such items, or at least to help pay insurance premiums. Another expense that the obligor is often asked to help pay for is day care, though this can depend on the age of the child and the alternatives that the custodial parent might have available to help him or her with care.

Enlist A Knowledgeable Attorney

Child support can be an extremely complex question that needs the right people to manage it effectively. The attorneys at the Kainen Law Group are well versed in these types of cases, and are happy to sit down with you and discuss yours. Call the office today at 702-823-4900 to set up an initial consultation.


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