Raising a child is generally an expensive endeavor. This is more pronounced when only one parent bears the costs of bringing up the child. Such situations could occur if the parents are divorced, separated, or were never married, to begin with. Child support laws are important as both parents have responsibility for their child. The Child Support program in Nevada helps to ensure that children have access to the financial and medical support of both their parents.
Child Support Process
Child support in Nevada is provided by the Department of Health and Human Services Division of Welfare and Supportive Services. Parents who want to apply for child support can download an application form from https://dwss.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/dwssnvgov/content/Support/Application%20for%20Child%20Support%20Services%204000-EC%209-20%20ADA_10-6-20.pdf, fill it and submit it to their local Child Support office. A directory of Child Support office locations can be found at https://dwss.nv.gov/Contact/Child_Support-All/. In the application, parents are required to provide information about the child alongside personal details as well as those of the noncustodial parent. Some of the information includes name, phone number, email address, residential address, date of birth, weight, height, employer details, present relationship status, the relationship between the parents when the child was born, etc. Other information like medical/health insurance and public assistance details (if applicable) are to be provided as well. For families that have never received public assistance (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), a $35 fee is charged annually after $550 has been disbursed to the parent.
Using the details provided in the application, the Child Support Enforcement (CSE) program attempts to locate and establish contact with the noncustodial parent. This is important as the child support case cannot proceed until the other parent is served a legal notice. The CSE also tries to locate the assets and sources of income of the noncustodial parent (this can be used for enforcement later on).
When the other parent has been located, there may be a need to establish paternity. If both parents were married when the child was born, the husband is presumed by law to be the child’s father. However, if the parents were not married, they can both sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity to establish the man as the child’s father. If the alleged father denies or is doubtful of the paternity of the child, genetic testing may be carried out. The test is highly accurate and indicates the probability of paternity. A man is determined to be the child’s father if the test shows a probability of 99% or higher that he is the child’s father. Genetic testing is usually paid for by the child’s father, but the court ultimately determines who is responsible for the payment. If the mother was married when the child was born but fills a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity with another man, the husband is no longer the legal father of the children. For more information on establishing paternity, visit https://dwss.nv.gov/Support/1_1_2_1Establishing_Paternity/.
After establishing paternity, the case can proceed for a court hearing to determine the child support obligations of the noncustodial parent.
How Do You Receive Child Support?
Parents can receive child support payments through a Nevada Debit Card or direct deposits into their bank accounts. The Nevada Debit Card is a Visa card automatically issued to parents receiving child support in the state. It is a prepaid debit card, issued through the Bank of America, to which child support payments are credited. The card allows parents to receive their payments faster, can be used to shop online, at ATMs, and for cashback at stores.
Parents who want the money paid into their savings or checking accounts can get a Direct Deposit Information and Authorization Agreement form from https://dwss.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/dwssnvgov/content/Home/Features/Forms/1116-MEC_Direct%20Deposit%20Info%20English.pdf to fill and send to the address within the form. The payments, however, will take at least 30 days before they can be received in the specified account. Additional details on the options available for receiving child support payments can be found at https://dwss.nv.gov/Support/1_1_3Child_Support_-_Receiving_Payments/.
Maximum Amount Receivable as Child Support
Specific guidelines for calculating child support are provided by Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS). The gross income of the noncustodial parent is considered alongside the number of children in the support case. The cost of healthcare and special education may also be considered in establishing the case. Exact details on the considerations and calculations can be found at https://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-125B.html#NRS125BSec080 and https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Statutes/79th2017/Stats201713.html#Stats201713page2284. The state also has a child support calculator that can be accessed online at https://nvchildsupportguidelinescalculator.azurewebsites.net/getobligation.aspx. This is meant to give an estimate of what can be expected, not the actual amount to be paid.
Enforcement of Child Support
The CSE program in Nevada can take several measures to ensure that parents pay child support as ordered. These enforcement actions are automatically applied once certain criteria are met. They include income withholding (the most common), interception of federal and state tax refunds, suspension of recreational and driver’s licenses, denial of passport applications, reporting to credit agencies, claims against estates, etc. CSE can also place liens on property, garnish accounts or even initiate bankruptcy proceedings. For a full directory of available enforcement actions and their requirements for execution, visit https://dwss.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/dwssnvgov/content/Support/C0600.pdf.