In Nevada, the court system will make all decisions regarding child custody based on the best interest of the child. However, this vague phrase can be difficult for a concerned parent to understand—what is the child’s best interest and how can such a thing be determined? Luckily, there is a slightly more formulaic way to measure how the court will evaluate a child custody case. The judge who oversees the case will look at several different factors affecting the child’s life and that of each parent in order to determine what type of custody arrangement will be best for the child. Depending on the child’s needs and the requests of the parents, this could mean parents share joint custody or that one parent is awarded sole custody.
If you are dealing with a divorce or separation, it’s important for you to understand how Nevada courts handle child custody. Find out what custody options are available, how child custody is determined, and what you can do about an order you don’t agree with.
Child Custody Options in Nevada
Before parents go to court to see a judge about their custody issue, they have the option of coming up with a parenting plan themselves. This is typically the ideal option because most parents know what’s best for their kids and can come up with a plan more readily than the court can. However, if the parents are unable to reach an agreement about how to split custody, the court will need to intervene.
Child custody in Nevada can be awarded to both parents, as joint custody, or to one parent, as sole custody. Usually, courts prefer to award joint custody because it is usually better for the child to maintain an active relationship with both parents. Parents with joint custody will split both physical and legal custody, which means they will both take part in major parenting decisions and they will split the amount of time they spend with their child. If one parent is deemed unfit or unable to care for the child, or if other special circumstances exist, the other parent will be awarded sole custody, meaning he or she has full physical and legal custody of the child. However, the noncustodial parent will likely still receive visitation rights.
Going to Court
If you and your ex are unable to come up with your own parenting plan, you will need to go to court for additional help. When you go to court to settle a child custody issue, the judge will hold a custody hearing, at which time he or she will hear each parent’s take on the matter. After hearing what each parent wants for child custody, the judge will evaluate your situation and find out what parenting arrangement could be best for your child’s health and happiness.
The court will consider the following factors before deciding on a child custody arrangement:
- Which parent can meet the child’s basic physical needs
- The mental and physical health of each parent
- Which parent can provide the healthiest and safest environment for the child
- Whether there is any history of abuse or neglect (either by the parents or anyone residing in each parent’s household)
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- If the child has siblings, where they live and which parent takes care of them
- Each parent’s willingness to co-parent effectively
The court may also take the opinions of the child into account, especially if that child is deemed mature enough to make a sound decision. However, one of the biggest factors the court takes into account is each parent’s ability to communicate with the other. Nevada courts want to see parents co-parenting whenever possible, and if one parent is unwilling to work with the other, the court may be hesitant to award the unyielding parent custody.
If you’re dealing with a child custody case, make sure you know what to expect and how to prepare. Our experienced Henderson attorneys can work with you to fight for the best possible child custody arrangement for your family. And, if you find your custody arrangement no longer works with your life or your child’s, we can help you seek a modification.
Contact Ford & Friedmanto discuss your case with our Henderson divorce attorney.