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How is Child Support Calculated When Parents Share Joint Physical Custody of One Child but One Parent has Primary Physical Custody of another Child?*

Child Support calculations in Las Vegas are pretty straight forward when there is only one child, or the parents share joint physical custody of multiple children.  What happens when parents have joint physical custody of one child but one parent has primary physical custody of the other child?  The answer, up until recently, depended on how the judge you were in front of did the calculation.  You could end up with widely different numbers from courtroom to courtroom. However, the Nevada Supreme Court has now given us a formula for the calculation in Miller v. Miller, 134 Nev. Advance Opinion 16.

The Miller Calculation

In Miller, the parents had joint physical custody of one child, and the mother had primary physical custody of their other child. The Court determined that the way to calculate the child support was to first calculate their respective child support obligations under NRS 125B.070.  Since they had two children, it was 25% of each parent’s gross monthly income.  Next, the court divided their child support obligation by two (because there were two children) to find out the obligation for each child.  The Court then offset that amount for the child that they shared joint physical custody of pursuant to Wright v. Osburn.  Finally, the court added the offset amount to the amount that was calculated for each child to determine the total amount of child support owed.  (Since the mother had primary custody of the second child, that number was not offset.)  Confused? It is simple once you do the calculations.  For example:

Mom and dad have two children together.  They share joint custody of one child, but mom has primary custody of the other child.  Dad’s 25% obligation is $1,000.00, and mom’s obligation is $900.00.  Under Miller, you would divide their numbers by two to determine the amount owed for each child.  Dad’s obligation is $500 per child, Mom’s obligation is $450 per child. Dad’s amount would be offset for the child that they share joint physical custody of, making his child support for that child $50 per month.  Since mom has primary custody of the second child, dad’s amount is not offset and he owes $500 per month for the second child.  Adding it all up, Dad has a child support obligation of $550 per month before any deviations that the Court may allow.

While we still need to make sure to carry around a calculator, there should be a lot less variability in child support calculations where there are non-uniform distributions of physical custody.

This blog post is intended to give a basic overview of child support calculations and not intended to constitute legal advice or form an attorney client relationship with our firm.  Due to the complicated nature of child custody and support, it is advised that you consult a legal professional.