Child custody may be one of the most important, emotional, and disputed issues for couples ending their relationship. Parents should have an understanding of Nevada law governing this significant divorce and family law matter.
Nevada allows physical and legal custody. A parent has physical custody when their child lives with them for a portion of their time. Under the second type, legal custody, a parent has the right to make decisions about the child’s upbringing. Courts can award shared or legal custody to both or one parent, but a parent does not need physical custody to share legal custody.
When a child lives with a parent over 60 percent of their time, that parent usually has physician custody. Both parents share joint physical custody if a child lives with a parent for only 40 percent of the time.
Courts have two ways to award custody. First, the court will consider the biological parents’ mutual agreement. If agreement is not reached, it will decide joint custody based on the best interests of the child if both biological parents agree to share joint custody and if each parent tried to create and keep a relationship with the child.
Until the court finalizes an agreement, both parents will have joint legal and physical custody. Parents are required to attend mediation if they are having serious disputes and cannot reach an agreement.
Courts do not have a bias toward awarding custody to the child’s mother. Same-sex parents have an enforceable parent and child relationship. For these parents, courts will review any agreement and their gender or biological relationship are not considerations.
The child’s best interest is the sole consideration for awarding custody. Courts will review several matters while considering this interest.
These include the child’s wishes, whether the child can keep their relationship with their siblings, any hostility between the biological parents, whether the parents can co-parent sufficiently to meet their child’s needs, the parents’ health and the parent and child’s relationship. Any history of abuse or neglect will also play a role.
A court may grant visitation rights to a parent who is not awarded custody. It will set time and terms based upon the best interests of the child and both parents’ rights.
An attorney can help seek custody that is fair. Lawyers may also assist with issues such as enforcement and modification.