For most of us, becoming a parent is one of the scariest and greatest moments of our lives. From the very moment our child is born, we will have a bond with them. As they grow and mature, and start to become the people they are, that bond only grows stronger and stronger.
In today’s day and age, us parents will be lucky to never have to deal with a custody case. If you are forced into trying to get primary custody in Nevada, chances are there is a very good reason. In fact, there has better be because getting a Nevada family court judge to issue a primary physical custody order is difficult to say the least. Nevada judges want to see children with both parents in their lives equally.
Before we get into that, first we need to take a look at how custody is defined in Nevada, and the different types of custody that can be awarded in court.
Physical and Legal Custody
When talking about “custody” most people will say the word and mean having the physical presence of the child or children with them. When in fact, what they are talking about is what is called “physical custody.” Someone with physical custody will have the child with them and the children will live in their home and the parent will be responsible for the daily care of the child. So, a parent with physical custody will be responsible for the transportation to school, feeding the child meals, taking the child to any doctor’s appointments, and making sure that the child is cared for properly.
Legal custody is different than physical custody because someone can have legal custody, but not have the physical presence of the child living with them. If a parent has legal custody, that parent will have a say in all the important matters regarding the child. Things like where the child will go to school, what doctors or other health care specialists the child will see, extracurricular activities the child will attend, and other important matters will be up to the legal custodian.
What is Joint Custody in Nevada?
Now that we have described the two main types of Nevada child custody, we will examine just how joint custody works. After a separation that involves minor children, Nevada Revised Statute 125C, states that the two parents will be presumed to have joint physical and joint legal custody of the child, unless a court order states otherwise.
- Joint Physical Custody: In a joint physical custody situation, each parent will have physical custody of the child no less than 40% of the time. Traditional joint physical custody arrangements involve a week on, week off physical custody schedule. However, the particular schedule will have to be arranged by the parents themselves, unless there is a court order stating otherwise.
- Joint Legal Custody: Sharing legal custody means that both parents will need to cooperate when it comes to the important aspects of the child’s life. Where the child goes to school, what doctors and physicians the child will see, and other important decisions, will have to be discussed and agreed upon by both parents. One of the most important aspects of a joint legal custody arrangement is neither parent can take the child out of state without written permission from the other. Doing so can result in a felony charge. See NRS 200.359(1).
How to Get Primary Custody in Nevada
It is very rare that a Nevada family court Judge will give one parent primary legal custody of a child. Not having legal custody of your child is very similar to having your parental rights terminated. Even if a parent is granted primary physical custody, the other parent will very likely still have joint legal custody. However, that is not to say the judges around here pass out primary physical custody orders easily. They do not.
One of the primary factors that govern Nevada child custody laws is the “best interest of the child.” It is presumed, without examining any evidence, that it is in the best interest of every child to have both parents in their lives equally. That is why without a court order, it is legally presumed that separated parents will share physical and legal custody equally.
Trying to get primary custody in Nevada means that you will have to present evidence in court that shows it is not in the best interest of the child that the other parent should have physical custody.
This evidence would have to be submitted to the court formally and admitted into evidence by the judge. This is why contested custody matters can get very messy. Normally a motion is filed asking for primary physical custody, a counterclaim will be filed seeking primary custody will be filed by the defendant.
After all the hearings have been held and the motions have been filed and argued, the judge will make a final ruling as to just which parent will get primary physical custody. Then visitation will be set for the non-primary custodian as well as child support.
Nevada Custody Lawyers at Justice Law Center
Trying to represent yourself in a contested custody case is never a good idea. When the very relationship with your children is stake, you will need an experienced custody lawyer on your side.
Here at Justice Law Center, all our custody attorneys are experts on Nevada custody law. Our experience and expertise will ensure that you will get the very best representation available in Nevada.
We offer completely free initial consultations so can discuss your case in detail with you. If you are involved in a contested custody case, and you need help, call us today.
Josh Nay is a writer and paralegal with over 10 years of experience in personal injury cases, family law and criminal defense.