judge about to pound gavelThis is the next post in my series on how Nevada’s joint custody laws impact parents in Las Vegas and other southern Nevada areas. My last article discussed child support calculations in joint custody cases. It is important to understand that in such matters the Court will consider the income of each parent. Also, any support award will be based on objective calculations and not on what one parent thinks the other should pay. Several factors go into the calculation of support and it is important to retain an experienced attorney to assist you in such matters. In this article I will discuss when the Court will vary from the presumption of joint custody and award primary care to one parent. If you are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

Nevada Courts will award primary custody when it is in the best interest of the child

I have previously explained how Nevada law presumes that parents should share joint custody of their children. This means that the Judge will start off each case with the idea that custody should be shared. The presumption, however, can be overcome by showing that joint custody would not serve the best interest of the child. When determining whether a primary care arrangement would be in the youth’s best interest, the Court will consider factors such as:

  • The wishes of the child (depending on their age and maturity level)
  • The ability of each parent to meet the needs of the youth
  • The source of conflict between the parents
  • The willingness of each parent to foster a relationship between the child and their counterpart
  • Any history of domestic violence
  • Etc.

The Court need not weigh these factors equally when making a custody determination. In other words, the Court may choose to weigh one factor more heavily than the others.

Consider the following example. John and Jane have a twelve year old child together and will be living on opposite ends of the Las Vegas valley. Both parents also work full time jobs. Due to travel time, getting the child to school during the week will not be practical for one of the parents if the youth attends a school in the other’s area. There are no glaring issues weighing against either parent in terms of their custody request. The child wishes to reside with the mother as she is in a band program and the school in the mother’s area has the better program. Under this scenario, the Court may possibly award custody to the mother based on the wishes of the child. It must be remembered, however, that how the Court will rule is going to depend on the specifics of the situation.

Las Vegas Judges will look to objective evidence when making child custody determinations

Parents must remember that judges in Las Vegas and other Nevada areas will look to objective evidence when determining what is in a child’s best interests. Judges pay little attention to generalized claims that the other parent is “bad.” Also, Courts often largely disregard claims that are not supported. As an example, if a dad is claiming that the mom is an alcoholic then the Court will give these claims little credence if the mother has never been arrested for DUI, has held the same job long term, and no other evidence is presented of alcoholism. An experienced attorney can help you with determining what claims the Court will be concerned with. Also, counsel can utilize the discovery process to accumulate evidence which may not currently be in your possession.

If you or a family member are involved in a family law dispute 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 an important time in your life. We will give your case the attention it both needs and deserves. Contact us online or by telephone today to schedule an initial consultation.