Child Custody Lawyer in Nevada
Child Custody issues arise in both a divorce action and a situation where a couple has children outside of a marriage. It is always a very sensitive matter. Children are a priority to parents. When dealing with custody issues, the State of Nevada addresses two forms of Custody:
- Legal Custody
- Physical Custody
Both forms must be resolved either by agreement or court intervention. It is important to note that in most cases, children will have had to reside in Nevada for six months before the state has jurisdiction over custody issues.
Typically, paternity has already been established by the father signing an affidavit of paternity at the hospital, or simply by the fact that both mother and father agree as to paternity. An actual paternity case is filed when no father’s name is on the birth certificate, the father won’t admit paternity, or the mother is not sure who the father is and needs DNA testing. Sometimes, the father files the paternity case to assert his rights as the father when the mother will not cooperate with him. If a Petition or Complaint for Custody is filed, then paternity has already been established. If it has not been established, the person would file a Petition to Establish Paternity.
This type of custody deals with decision-making on matters related to the children. It empowers parents to determine issues such as schooling, religion, medical needs, etc. Joint Legal Custody will almost always be awarded to both parents, unless one parent has significant issues, such as criminal activity or severe drug usage. With Joint Legal Custody the court expects parents to communicate and cooperate with the decisions relative to their children.
Where will the children actually reside? Physical custody determines exactly that. Parents may share Joint Physical Custody, where the children reside with both parents for a similar amount of time. The Nevada Supreme Court in 2009 actually determined that if one parent had the children for at least 40% of the time, that would constitute Joint Physical Custody.
A parent who has the children more than 60% of the time would be deemed to have Primary Physical Custody. When one parent has primary custody, the courts grant the other parent specified rights of visitation. Visitation is generally set up to coincide around a parent’s work schedule.
Parents can work out a custody arrangement by agreement or participate in mediation to form a parenting plan. This is always the best method, if possible, rather than having a judge determine the custody outcome. Any order relative to custody and visitation is modifiable if circumstances change down the road. For example, if one parent desires to move out of state, that would require either permission from the other parent, or permission of the court. This would then necessitate a modification of the custody provisions. Other changes like work schedules, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or anything that jeopardizes the safety and well-being of the child would lead to custody or visitation changes.
Child Custody Lawyer, Bruce Anderson, has extensive experience in helping parties with child custody matters, be it through negotiation or litigation. He will, however, always encourage his clients to put the best interests of the children first. It is important that the children have good relationships with both parents. Children should never be used as a “pawn” or “bargaining chip”.
Please contact our child custody lawyer directly for more information relative to your specific needs.