This is the first post in a series of articles in which I will discuss the issue of “teenage discretion” and how it may impact custody cases in Las Vegas, Nevada. Many parents operate under the common misconception that when their child reaches a certain age or maturity, the Clark County Family Court will allow them to choose which parent they will live with in a custody case. While Nevada Judges have the option to consider a child’s input when they have reached a suitable age and maturity level, this input is just one of many factors that goes into the final custody determination. This series will provide information about when the Court will consider a teen’s preference and the limits of the teenage discretion doctrine. If you are involved in a custody dispute and need assistance, contact my office today to speak with an attorney.
My upcoming articles will address the following topics:
- Can a Las Vegas child decide which parent to live with?
- When the Court will defer to a teenager’s discretion in a custody matter
- When the Court will revoke teenage discretion
- The limits of teenage discretion in Nevada
- The legal process in custody cases involving teenage discretion
I feel it is important to address this subject for several reasons. First, when evaluating custody decisions, Judges must consider multiple factors to determine what arrangement is in a child’s best interest. In some cases, this may include the child’s preference. It is important to understand, however, that the opinion of the child is not the only consideration and rarely will a Judge rely solely on their preference. Second, Courts are often willing to honor teenage discretion if both parents agree that it is in the best interest of their kid(s). For instance, a Judge may grant teenage discretion as to how the child splits their time between households. Third, in situations where the child’s choice is based on self-serving or immature reasoning, the Court may disregard teenage discretion. Similarly, there are limitations to the teenage discretion doctrine. For instance, a child cannot generally choose to completely cut ties with a parent. Finally, I will review the legal process of requesting deference to a child’s choice and challenging that choice if a parent opposes the proposed arrangement.
Whether to directly involve a child in a custody matter can be a grueling decision. If you are engaged in a custody dispute or are considering requesting a change in custody based on your child’s wishes, it is important to retain an attorney with experience handling such matters. Doing so can help ensure that you know your options and that your case is handled properly. My practice is dedicated to family law issues and I am ready to assist you. Contact my office today to speak with a Las Vegas lawyer.