Do I Still Have to Pay Child Support If I Have Joint Custody?

Have you wondered, “Do I still have to pay child support if you have joint custody?” 

Joint custody arrangements can get complicated. 

When parents stop cohabitating, it can get confusing when it comes to who pays child support. In Nevada, parents must contribute to the costs of raising a child.

Child support is one of the first issues that arise during a custody battle. Someone must pay for the children’s expenses, including school and medical expenses. 

Here’s what you need to know about how child support works with joint custody in Nevada.

Do I Still Have to Pay Child Support If I Have Joint Custody_

How Does Joint Custody Work in Nevada?

There are two types of custody—legal and physical. 

Legal custody refers to which parent will make major life decisions for the children. 

This includes:

  • which school the child will attend, 
  • which doctor the child will see, 
  • and which religion the children would take. 

But, physical custody decides which parent the children will live with. 

Joint physical custody is where both parents share the duties for the care of their kids. It is a situation where children live with each parent around 50% of the time.

How Does Child Support Work in Joint Physical Custody?

Do YOU still have to pay child support if you have joint custody? 

You might.

The court determines how much child support you each pay based on your income. The court then deducts the lower-earning parent’s amount from the higher-earning parent’s. Then the higher-earning parent pays the difference. 

This means that the spouse who earns more pays support to the spouse that earns less. But, it does not mean that this law punishes the higher-earning parent. Instead, it is to protect the children’s standard of living.

When both incomes are equal, the court may rule that neither parent pay child support. 

This scenario is different when only one parent has primary physical custody. The custodial parent handles the majority of the child’s day-to-day expenses. The non-custodial parent is required to pay child support.

How is Child Support Calculated?

Like most states, Nevada calculated child support using a flat percentage at first. But, Nevada began using a tiered income scale in February 2020. 

Today, it gets calculated based on percentages of both parent’s monthly gross income. The number of children also gets considered. 

Gross monthly income is the sum of all monthly earnings, including:

  • your salary, 
  • wages, 
  • bonuses, 
  • and commissions from your job.

Though, there are some exceptions to the standard calculations. 

Children with special needs, for example, may need more financial help. So, the judge may change these calculations to reimburse:

  • medical bills, 
  • health insurance premiums, 
  • and other necessary expenses.

The number of kids will also determine the income percentages used in the formula. See below for the full breakdown.

Number of Children


$6,0000 to $10,000

Over $10,000

One child




Two children




Three children




Four children




Additional child




As mentioned above, joint custody requires the higher-earning parent to pay more. This means that the amounts get subtracted from one another. 

For example, one parent’s custody amount equals $600 per month. The other parent’s contribution is $250. So, the parent with the higher income would deduct $250 from their $600 monthly obligation. They then would submit a payment of $350 each month.

Can I Avoid Paying Child Support?

Do you need to pay child support in joint custody?

Is it possible to avoid paying?

The short answer to both questions is no. You must pay court-ordered child support. If a parent fails to make court-ordered child support payments, they go “in arrears.”

Failure to pay child support on time and in full can result in penalties. These penalties can range from fines to suspending your driver’s license and even jail time. It can even result in paying an accrued amount totaling thousands of dollars.

Suppose you can no longer afford to pay child support because you lost your job. Then, requesting a change in child support from the other parent and the court is critical.

If the other parent agrees, you can sign a stipulation agreeing to the change. The judge signs the stipulation and enters it as your new court order. If the other parent refuses, you can still opt to reopen your divorce or custody case. You then can file a motion to change child support.

A court can impute income to a parent who is unemployed or underemployed. For example, if a parent cannot work due to a disability, that parent will not get held liable for extra income.

A parent who refuses to work cannot avoid support payments, though.

How Long Do I Need to Pay Child Support?

Child support gets paid until a child reaches the age of 18. If the child is still in high school, the parent will still need to pay until graduation or when they reach the age of 19. 

We Can Help

Do you still have questions about having to pay child support in joint custody? Speak to one of our family lawyers by calling us at (702) 433-2889. You can also fill out our online form for more information.

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