This is the second post in a series of articles addressing the impact of drug charges on child custody in Las Vegas, Nevada. My last article was an overview of the topics I will be discussing in this series. If a parent is arrested for drug charges, it is important to seek the advice of an attorney immediately to understand how to protect the child. This article will discuss how to change child custody after a drug arrest. If you or someone you know needs assistance then contact my office today to speak with a family lawyer.
Las Vegas Judges may hear change of custody requests on “shortened time” after a parent has been arrested for drugs
If a parent has been arrested for drugs, Nevada Courts will require a hearing to decide to change the custody order. It is important to file a Motion immediately after learning of the arrest. The Court order must be modified to prevent visitation with the children and the arrested parent. To change a custody order, the Judge must find that there has been a change of circumstances. This is usually met if there has been an arrest and criminal charges are pending. Additionally, the Court must determine if the change of custody is in the best interests of the children. An arrest is very serious, and the Court will take steps to protect the children pending resolution of the charges. It is often in the best interest of the children to ensure they are not exposed to an environment with drugs or involved in any criminal proceeding.
A drug arrest is often grounds for seeking an expedited hearing in Nevada. The custodial parent will need to file a Motion to change custody and request a hearing. To expedite the process, an Application for “shortened time” should be filed concurrently with the Motion. This will allow the scheduling of the hearing to be accelerated and the custody arrangement to be changed sooner. Without an Application for shortened time, a hearing on the Motion might not be scheduled sooner than four to eight weeks. This could allow visitation with the charged parent that may not be best for the children. The Motion and Application is provided to the Judge in chambers, without notice to the other side, and is signed without a hearing. This allows the hearing to occur within days rather than weeks. Given that the hearing will be held shortly after the Motion is filed, the other parent will not typically file a response before the hearing. The Judge will typically not hold the lack of a filing against them. At the hearing the Court will issue a temporary custody order until trial. The order may involve instituting supervised visitation or suspending visitation with the arrested parent immediately.
Preparing for a possible trial after the initial hearing to change custody
Once the temporary hearing has occurred and the Judge has issued a modification, it is important to prepare for a trial. Your attorney will undergo discovery, which includes requesting information from the defendant or deposing the defendant or relevant parties to obtain sworn testimony. This information will allow you to know what evidence will be admitted at trial and have a greater understanding of the situation. The information gathered in discovery can be presented or corroborated at trial to support your case. Objective evidence presented at trial is necessary to establish that the change of custody is in the best interests of the children.
Modifying a court order is complicated and requires an in-depth knowledge of the law. Ensuring that you prepare for trial and present the best possible defense is important to protect any minor children involved. If the parent of your child has been arrested for drug charges, it is important to contact a family lawyer right away. I devote my practice to the handling of family law matters and my office is ready to assist you. Contact us online or by telephone today to speak with a Las Vegas child custody attorney.