Child Custody

Child Custody Attorney Services in Las Vegas

When a couple marries and has children, they do not plan for issues like divorce down the road.  But when divorce happens, resolving issues involving the children are of the highest priority for both parents.   Fortunately, most issues can be worked out with patience and some guidance from your legal advisor and a satisfactory Custody Order put in place.

Types of Child Custody

Family On ComputerIn Nevada, the primary goal is to have both parents remain a part of the children’s lives.  Child custody involves two areas where decisions must be made: Legal Custody – Legal custody is the right to make decisions regarding the child, such as where they live, what religion they practice, where they go to school and dealing with healthcare decisions. Unless one parent fails to meet competency requirements (such as due to involvement with drugs, alcohol or abuse), joint legal custody is usually granted, and parents share decision-making equally. Sole Legal custody may be granted if one parent is involved with alcohol, drugs or abuse. Physical Custody – Physical custody determines where the child will live.  There are different types of physical custody arrangements that may be granted:

  • Joint physical custody is granted in most cases when both parents are able to care for and nurture the children.  This means the child lives half the time with one parent, half with the other, with options like week on/week off, split 3 days/4 days within the week and even half days if parents are working day/night shifts.  The courts allow some creativity within the rules of evenly split custody which allows parents to work out schedules that best fit their situations.
  • Primary physical custody in Nevada is where one parent has custody 60% or more of the time and the other parent has visitation rights. This may be granted when one parent is less able to spend time with the children, travels for work, there is an extreme amount of conflict, or there has been domestic violence, or other reasons exist that effectively make him or her less able to share custody equally.
  • Sole physical custody may be granted when one parent is deemed not competent to care for the children, such as due to drug use or prior abuse situations.

How is child custody decided in Nevada?

What does the court consider?  Child custody decisions are made based on a common sense set of criteria that put the well-being of children first and foremost, including:

  • Parenting history – have both parents been responsible caregivers and providers?  Are there past issues of domestic violence, abuse or neglect?
  • Current situation – are both parents able to provide for and nurture children? Do they have stable and safe living arrangements?
  • Parental behavior – are there any behavioral, psychological, legal or other issues with either parent that might be unhealthy or dangerous for the children to experience?
  • The children – judges may listen to the preferences of the children, especially older children who are able to articulate their feelings and wishes.  And, do the children get along with both parents?  Do siblings get along?
  • Responsibility – are both parents maturely able to act fairly regarding custody issues and do they exhibit willingness to work out issues that may come up?  Do the parents get along or is there ongoing conflict?

Child custody has a significant impact on a child’s long-term health and well-being, and it significantly affects both parents’ lives as well. In addition to determining the children’s living arrangements, it can affect child support payments and whether, for example, a parent may be able to move out of state for work or other reasons. For everyone involved, it is of utmost importance that child custody issues be handled thoughtfully and a workable plan put in place that also allows for changes down the road as situations change. In a divorce, the parent will also have to take a seminar for separating parents called a COPE class.

For help with your child custody situation in Las Vegas, call or contact the Page Law Office for a free consultation.