This is the next post in my series on the ramifications of failing to follow court orders in Nevada child custody cases. My last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. It also stressed the need to speak with an attorney about your situation. It is important that you discuss the matter with counsel as there are rules and procedures which must be followed if you are attempting to hold someone in contempt of court. Counsel will help to ensure that those rules are followed. In this article I will discuss the actual consequences which a parent faces for a violation. If you are in need of assistance then contact my office to speak with a Las Vegas lawyer.
Violating a Nevada child custody order can result in twenty-five days in jail and a fine of up to $500
The potential penalties for violating court orders in a Nevada civil matter are found in NRS 22.100. This statute allows a court to sentence an individual to up to twenty-five days in jail, to pay a fine of up to $500, and to require that they pay the legal fees and costs of the other party. It is important to understand that after these penalties have been completed, the individual will still be required to follow the Court’s order going forward. This means that repeated violations can result in repeated penalties. In the context of child custody, this can also result in the Court modifying its orders (more on this below).
The foregoing is best explained by way of example. Suppose two Las Vegas parents have a child custody order which states that the dad is to return the child to the mom at 5pm every Monday after his weekend visitation. Now suppose that the dad is also required to reimburse the mother for one-half of all medical expenses not covered by insurance. Dad is repeatedly not returning the child until the middle of the week and, in written communication, tells the mother that he “can do what he wants.” Also, suppose he owes the mother several thousand dollars for medical expenses. The mother files a Motion with the Court. Under this scenario, the Court could require the father to serve twenty-five days in jail, but could order less time if the judge chooses. The same goes for a fine of up to $500. When the father is released from jail, he will still have to pay the mother the money he owes her, and follow the visitation order, or else he will risk going to jail again. It is important to remember, however, that how the Court will rule in any given situation will always depend on the facts of the case.
Nevada Family Courts may entertain a change of custody as part of a contempt proceeding
Many of the facts which give rise to a contempt finding can also lead to the judge changing child custody. Continuing with the example from above, this can include a parent who is regularly violating visitation schedules. Given that one of the factors the Court considers, when setting child custody, is the willingness of a parent to follow orders, then the parent’s repeated violation could result in the judge reducing the amount of time the father receives with the child. When discussing your situation with an attorney, counsel will help you to understand all of your options. This can include determining whether you should simply file for contempt or if you should request a change of custody as well.
If you require assistance with a family law matter then contact my office today to speak with a Las Vegas child custody lawyer. My office practices solely in the area of domestic relations law and I understand that this is a serious time in your life. I work to provide my clients with the highest level of service and I will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact me online or by telephone today.