When Clark County Family Court Judges Will Grant a Change of Custody Following a Dispute

Judge pounding gavelThis is the next post in my series explaining what options a Las Vegas parent has if the other parent is refusing to abide by an existing child custody order. My last post explained the process of asking a Judge to grant an Order of Return when a parent refuses to return a child. In this post I will address the flip side of the argument and explain when a Judge may consider changing the custodial order.

As I discussed in my previous post, a Clark County Family Court Judge will order that a child be returned to the custodial parent as per the custodial order if there is a disagreement. The only exception to this rule would be if the noncustodial parent files for an emergency hearing and requests an emergency temporary change to the custodial plan. An emergency must mean there is a credible reason to believe that the child would be in danger if returned to the custodial parent. Examples of what would constitute an emergency might include if an unsecured weapon is in the home, if the parent is actively using drugs around the child, if the child is being currently abused by the parent, if an act of violence has taken place in the home, or if any other illegal activity is happening in the home. If the custodial parent files for an Order to Return and the noncustodial parent files for an emergency change of custody then the Judge will call an emergency hearing to hear both sides and make a temporary judgement as to where the child should go.

In most cases the dispute between parents does not constitute an emergency. As I have discussed previously, a Judge will more than likely enforce the existing order and force the noncustodial parent to return the child. However, the parent still has the right to file for a change of custody hearing assuming that circumstances have changed since the previous order was made. If a parent wishes to file for a change of custody then they will not generally be penalized for their refusal to return the child, as a one time occurring event, so long as they do not continue to disrespect the Court. Scheduling a new hearing and subsequent trial can take many months. In order to optimize one’s chances of winning their argument it is imperative to follow all orders from the Court, including all visitation and custodial schedules. The more a parent chooses to take “matters into their own hands,” the less impressed a Judge will be with their judgement.

If you are a parent and believe you have a case to request for a change in custody, do not simply stop adhering to your current custody plan. Contact my office to speak with a Las Vegas child custody attorney and to schedule a consultation.


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