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For many years, the child support guidelines in Nevada have remained the same. In the case of a primary physical custody order, the presumptive child support amount to be paid to the custodial parent is based on a specific percentage of the non-custodial parent’s gross monthly income: 18% for one child; 25% for two children; 29% for three children; and so on. In a joint physical custody arrangement, both parents’ gross monthly incomes are used to calculate the presumptive amount using the same percentages set forth for a primary physical arrangement. These percentages are the starting point for child support awards, and are subject to minimum and maximum statutory caps.

This is all about to change.

In 2017, the Nevada State Legislature, with the signature of the governor, repealed the existing child support guidelines and created the Committee to Review Child Support Guidelines. The Committee’s job is to review the existing child support guidelines and to provide its recommended changes to the State Administrator of the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services of the Department of Health and Human Services. The recommendations are due to the Administrator on July 1, 2018. The Administrator is then to consider the recommendations and adopt new child support guidelines. Upon adoption, the existing child support guidelines will officially be repealed.

What are the new changes going to be?

The Committee is still working on its recommendations, so there is no definitive answer at this point. What appears to be the case, however, is that there will likely be new guideline percentages; the penalty for child support arrears is reportedly going away; the statutory minimum amount may increase; and word is there will be no longer be maximum caps. It is also possible that the new guideline percentages may be different for low-income earners and high-income earners.

Even though the specifics about the eventual recommendations are not known yet, it important to realize that changes are coming and to have attorneys that will develop a strategy that works for you. Child support orders issued before the new guidelines take effect are likely to be significantly different than those that are issued after – and that may significantly impact your case. For example, it appears that child support orders issued before the new guidelines are adopted will remain in place until they can be properly modified under existing law. In other words, the change in the law will likely not provide a basis for a modification of existing orders.

Finally, it is important to note that the Committee is tasked with reviewing the guidelines at least every four years. Their recommendations, to the extent they are adopted by the Administrator, will become law immediately upon adoption and will be set forth in the Nevada Administrative Code (NAC) not the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) as they are now.

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