Compassionate Las Vegas Child Custody Attorneys Ready To Assist You
Five Generations of Family Law and Child Custody
Child Custody Lawyers Serving the areas of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Overton, Moapa Valley, Mesquite, Laughlin and all of Clark County
The real focus in any child custody dispute should be determining what is in the child’s best interest. The child custody legal team at Mills & Anderson work hard to help our clients avoid a protracted custody battle. A good custody agreement means that conflicts can be avoided. When a conflict does arise, a good agreement can help the parties resolve the conflict more fairly and effectively.
In some cases, our clients have no choice but to fight for custody of the child when a fair agreement cannot be reached through pre-trial negotiations or at mediation. The lawyers at Mills & Anderson are experienced trial attorneys who are prepared to take the case to trial to protect the child’s best interest.
We represent mothers and fathers with complicated child custody cases in the Eighth Judicial District Court, Family Court Division, in Las Vegas. The established Las Vegas child custody attorneys at Mills & Anderson represent clients living in and around Las Vegas, including Henderson, North Las Vegas, and throughout the surrounding areas of Clark County, NV.
If you need a skilled attorney on family law to handle your child custody case, call our experienced law firm. We work hard to fight for the rights of our clients and to protect the best interest of the child when the court is making any custody determination. Find out what you need to do now to help your children through this difficult process so that their lives are disrupted as little as possible and their futures are protected. Call (702) 386-0030 to discuss your case with a highly dedicated Las Vegas child custody attorney at Mills & Anderson.
Types of Child Custody Cases in Nevada
Under the Nevada Revised Statutes (“NRS”) child custody cases can arise in either divorce cases (NRS 125) or paternity cases (NRS 126). After the case is filed, the district court in Clark County, NV, has broad discretionary power in deciding child custody issues. See NRS 125A.045. Those issues can include the determination of any of the following:
- legal custody;
- physical custody; or
- visitation with the child.
For either a divorce case or a paternity case, the standard used by the court is determining what is in the “best interest of the child.” The judge must decide the case by a “preponderance of the evidence.” The lawyer will present proof during the trial of evidence that addresses the statutory factors set forth in NRS 125c.0035. The statutory factors are critical in the court’s decision of what is in the best interest of the child.
Factors for the Best Interest of the Children under NRS 125C.0035
If the parties are unable to resolve the cases before trial or at mediation, then the Court must decide the issues after looking at the evidence and listening to the testimony of witnesses. The Court will also make substantial factual findings in the case that becomes part of the Court’s written order. In fact, Nevada law requires express findings as to the best interest of the child in custody and visitation matters. See NRS 125C.0035 and NRS 125C.010(1).
In determining child custody, the Courts consider a list of factors set out in NRS 125C.0035. The list is non-exhaustive. The courts often find other factors that were important depending on the facts of the case. Until the Court makes such a finding and presuming that paternity has been established, each parent has joint legal custody and joint physical custody of the child until otherwise ordered by a court. In fact, a legal preference exists that it is in the best interest of the child for the parents to have joint legal and physical custody, if one of the parents has demonstrated, or has attempted to demonstrate but has had his or her efforts frustrated by the other parent, an intent to establish a meaningful relationship with a child.
To discuss these and other factors please contact a highly skilled Las Vegas child custody attorney.
Nevada Law on Joint Legal Custody
Under Nevada law, parents who share joint legal custody of a child each have a legal responsibility for their child and for making major decisions regarding the child. Those decisions can include the child’s health, education, and religious upbringing.
Parents have an interest in the care, custody, and management of their children. Although that interest is fundamental, it is not absolute. In order to make these decisions under a theory of joint legal custody, both parents are informed regarding the child’s circumstances and experiences. For this reason, parents in a joint legal custody situation must consult with each other to make major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing.
Nevada Law on Joint Physical Custody
The court is authorized to award primary physical custody to one parent if the court determines that joint physical custody is not in the best interest of a child. In those cases, the court must set forth circumstances in which an award of joint physical custody is presumed not to be in the best interest of a child. The statute also sets forth the circumstances in which a court may award primary physical custody to a mother or father of a child born out of wedlock in a paternity action.
Under the fact interest of the children standard, the court must look at the factors set for in NRS 125C.0035(4) which include:
- Whether either parent or any other person seeking custody has committed any act of abduction against the child or any other child;
- Whether either parent or any other person seeking custody has engaged in an act of domestic violence against the child, a parent of the child or any other person residing with the child.
- Any history of parental abuse or neglect of the child or a sibling of the child.
- The ability of the child to maintain a relationship with any sibling.
- The nature of the relationship of the child with each parent.
- The physical, developmental and emotional needs of the child.
- The mental and physical health of the parents.
- The ability of the parents to cooperate to meet the needs of the child.
- The level of conflict between the parents.
- Which parent is more likely to allow the child to have frequent associations and a continuing relationship with the noncustodial parent.
- Any nomination by a parent or a guardian for the child.
- The wishes of the child if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form an intelligent preference as to his or her custody.
There are many factors to consider with regard to physical custody. Our knowledgeable and proven Las Vegas child custody lawyers can help you understand them. Get in touch with us to discuss them.
Modifications of Child Custody and Visitation Orders in Nevada
After a child custody determination is made by the Court, it controls the child’s and the parents’ lives until the child becomes an adult or the decree is later modified by the Court. A joint physical custody order can only be modified upon a showing of a 1) a change in circumstances and 2) that it is in the child’s best interest to modify the existing visitation arrangement. To change from a primary physical custody order, the parent must show 1) a substantial change in circumstances affecting the child’s welfare, and 2) that the proposed change is necessary for the child’s best interest.
Once the custody order is established, it is valid throughout the United States. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) § 303, adopted in Nevada as chapter 125A of the Nevada Revised Statutes, provides that a child custody determination is enforceable across the United States. It provides that a Court “shall recognize and enforce a child custody determination of a court of another state if the latter court exercised jurisdiction in substantial conformity with the provisions of” the UCCJEA.
If you are seeking modification or enforcement of a child custody order please contact our highly experienced Las Vegas child custody attorneys.
Modifying Custody Agreements in Nevada
The courts and public policy encourage parents to enter into private custody agreements for co-parenting. The parents are free to contract regarding child custody, and such agreements are generally enforceable and will be adopted by the Court as its order. Those agreed-upon terms are generally enforced until one or both of the parties move the court to modify the custody agreement.
If one or both of the parties request that the court to modify an existing child custody agreement that has been adopted as an order, then the court must use the terms and definitions provided under Nevada law. A joint physical custody agreement can only be modified upon a showing of a 1) a change in circumstances and 2) that it is in the child’s best interest to modify the existing visitation arrangement. To modify a primary physical custody agreement, the parent must show 1) a substantial change in circumstances affecting the child’s welfare, and 2) that the proposed change is necessary for the child’s best interest.
The Nevada Legislature had not explicitly defined joint custody. Instead, the courts have set forth parameters for the purpose of clarifying which timeshare arrangements qualified as joint physical custody. Joint physical custody is generally found where each party has at least 40% of the available custodial time. As a general matter, it is in the best interest of the child to have frequent time and a continuing relationship with both parents. It is also in the child’s best interest to encourage the parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child-rearing. As such, the Court’s preference will be to award joint physical custody if it can be done consistent with the child’s best interest.
If you have questions regarding this or any other matter please call us and speak with a knowledgeable Las Vegas child custody lawyer.
Child Custody’s Impact on Child Support in Nevada
Child support in Nevada is largely based on the custody arrangement. When the parents have joint custody, the parent with the higher income is required to pay the parent with the lower income the difference between the child support amounts from the child support guidelines.
If one parent has primary custody, the noncustodial parent has to pay an amount of child support based on the statutory formula. See NRS 125B.070 and NRS 125B.080. Read more about child support determinations in Las Vegas, Nevada.
If you have questions regarding this or any other matter please reach out to us and speak trusted Las Vegas child custody lawyers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can a parent deny the other parent visitation for failure to pay child support?
No. This is a mistake that a lot of people make, and it is not a good idea. If a parent becomes delinquent on child support payments, the custodial parent should take the matter back to the family court that determined child support in the first place. Failure of the non-custodial parent to pay child support is never justification for denying contact with the children.
Do grandparents have child visitation rights?
If a parent has denied or unreasonably restricted a grandparent from having visits with their grandchild, Nevada law allows for a grandparent to petition the Court for visitation with grandchildren. In the petition, the grandparent must show that visitation is in the best interest of the child, even over the parent’s objection.
When reviewing petitions for visitation, the Court considers the following 10 factors:
- The love, affection and other emotional ties existing between the party seeking visitation and the child.
- The capacity and disposition of the party seeking visitation to:
- Give the child love, affection and guidance and serve as a role model to the child;
- Cooperate in providing the child with food, clothing and other material needs during visitation; and
- Cooperate in providing the child with health care or alternative care recognized and permitted under the laws of this State in lieu of health care.
- The prior relationship between the child and the party seeking visitation, including, without limitation, whether the child resided with the party seeking visitation and whether the child was included in holidays and family gatherings with the party seeking visitation.
- The moral fitness of the party seeking visitation.
- The mental and physical health of the party seeking visitation.
- The reasonable preference of the child, if the child has a preference, and if the child is determined to be of sufficient maturity to express a preference.
- The willingness and ability of the party seeking visitation to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the parent or parents of the child as well as with other relatives of the child.
- The medical and other needs of the child-related to health as affected by the visitation.
- The support provided by the party seeking visitation, including, without limitation, whether the party has contributed to the financial support of the child.
- Any other factor arising solely from the facts and circumstances of the particular dispute that specifically pertains to the need for granting a right to visitation pursuant to subsection 1 or 2 against the wishes of a parent of the child.
What is an ex parte order?
An ex parte order is a court order that is issued based solely on the application of one party, without giving the other party a chance to respond. Courts only use ex-parte orders in emergency situations, particularly if the request is for a custody order, which requires an “extreme emergency”.
In the family law setting, a joint preliminary injunction is the most common ex-parte order. These are routinely granted because the order applies to both parties to prevent them from disrupting the status-quo during divorce or custody proceedings. Where one party is requesting an ex-parte order that will affect only the other party, the Court will almost always want to hear from the other party before granting the order unless emergency circumstances exist.
Do Nevada courts favor mothers over fathers in custody determinations?
No. Courts do not favor any parent based on gender. Custody is determined by the best interest of the child. Let a trusted Las Vegas child custody attorney answer all your questions.
Child Custody Violations as Parental Kidnapping – Learn more about how violation of a child custody order can rise to the level of a criminal offense under Nevada law. Under NRS 200.359(1), it is a crime to detain, conceal or remove a child from another person having lawful custody or from the jurisdiction of court. The statute provides that the crime can be charged as a category D felony punishable by 1 – 4 years in Nevada State prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Modification of Child Custody to Move or Relocate Out of the State of Nevada – When the custodial parents want to move or relocate out of the State of Nevada with the child, the parent must either obtain the other parent’s permission or petition the court for permission to move. A move out of state often causes a financial hardship on the non-custodial parent because of the expense of transporting the child back and forth for frequent visitations. Learn more about the steps you should take before moving out of state with the child to make sure your rights are protected and to decrease the odds of a custody battle in court to prevent the move. We also represent a parent wishing to prevent the move when the relocation out of state is not in the child’s best interest.
Finding a Las Vegas Child Custody Lawyer
If you need help with your child custody case in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, or anywhere in Clark County, contact Mills & Anderson.
Call our office today to schedule a consultation with an experienced Las Vegas child custody lawyer about the unique facts and circumstances of your child custody case.