Judge reading paper on the benchThis is the next post in my series on cases in which Las Vegas, Nevada parents wish to obtain primary custody of their children. My last article discussed the process of establishing that primary custody is in a child’s best interests. It is important to note the Court will look to objective evidence when determining what is best for a youth. Judge’s will generally give little weight to unsupported claims or blanket assertions that the other parent is “bad.” Retaining an experienced attorney can be key to determining what evidence will be considered relevant by the Court. In this article I will discuss the process of changing custody from joint to primary. If you are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

Changing child custody requires a showing that circumstances have changed

Nevada Family Court Judges will only change child custody if two requirements are met. First, it must be shown that circumstances have somehow changed since the Court entered its most recent order of custody. Second, it must be shown that the proposed change would serve the best interests of the child. The requirement of changed circumstances means that the Court will not consider facts which occurred prior to the most recent order when deciding a change of custody request. What the Court will consider to be “changed circumstances” will be situation specific. In some instances the mere passage of time may constitute a meaningful change while in other instances the Court may require some sort of substantial event in order to consider a request.

Consider the following example. Jack and Jill have a two-year old child at the time of their divorce. The parties receive joint custody. However, the parents live on opposite ends of town when the child reaches school age. The parent’s splitting their time will no longer be practical for getting the child to and from school due to work schedules and driving distance. In a situation such as this, the mere passage of time and aging of the child would likely be enough for the Court to revisit the custody order. Now suppose that the child was ten at the time of the divorce. Also, suppose that two years later, Jack and Jill’s places of residence had not changed and the child has done well in school with an equal timeshare. Depending on the facts of the case, the Court may require more than the passage of time to make a change. Again, each case will be fact specific.

The Process of changing Nevada child custody from joint to primary

If a parent can show that circumstances have changed then the first step in changing child custody is to file a Motion with the Court. A Motion is a formal document in which the requesting parent will spell out how circumstances have changed and why a modification would be in the best interest of the child. The Court will hold an initial hearing on the Motion. At the hearing, the Court may make a temporary change while setting a trial to determine if the modification should be made permanent. The Court may also decline to make an immediate change but may still set a trial. Finally, the Court may outright deny the request. If a trial date is set, then the parents will be ordered to mediation. If a settlement cannot be reached then the case will resolve at a trial.

The process of litigating a case can quickly become complicated. Retaining an attorney is important as counsel will handle the discovery process and will ensure that the rules of procedure are followed. As a Las Vegas child custody lawyer, I am experienced in the handling of such matters. My office practices solely in the area of domestic relations law and we pride ourselves on providing quality service. Contact us online or by telephone today to schedule an initial consultation.