This is the next post in my series on how domestic violence can impact child custody cases in Las Vegas, Nevada. My last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. It also stressed the importance of speaking with a family law attorney if you are involved in a dispute which involves violent acts by one of the parents. It is important that you contact counsel sooner, rather than later, as doing so can show the Court that the situation is urgent. In this article I will be discussing the presumption which is created when the Court finds that domestic violence has occurred. If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact us today to speak with a child custody lawyer.
Domestic violence creates a presumption that a Nevada parent should not share joint custody of a child
A Nevada Court’s sole concern in any child custody case will always be for the best interests of the child. Our state’s laws presume that those interests are best served by awarding joint physical custody to the parents. If, however, the Court finds that a parent committed domestic violence against the other parent, the child, or anyone residing with the child, then the Judge must presume that such a parent should not share joint custody. In other words, the Judge must begin with the belief that custody should not be jointly shared if it is found that domestic violence has occurred. This presumption is “rebuttable.” Meaning that if a parent can show that joint custody would be in the child’s best interests, in spite of the domestic violence, then the Court may enter such an order.
The foregoing concepts are best explained by way of example. Suppose a father has been convicted of domestic violence against the child’s mother and the parties are going through a divorce. The Court finds that the mother is fully capable of meeting the child’s needs and that she would comply with all visitation orders of the Court. Furthermore, the Court finds that the mother has traditionally been the primary caretaker of the child during the marriage. Depending on several other factors, the Court would likely find that the mother should have primary custody. Now suppose that a conviction had still occurred, but the mother often works late shifts and would be unavailable to care for the child at times. Furthermore, the father is shown to have no other history of violent tendencies. Under this scenario, the Court may possibly grant joint custody so that the youth will always be in the care of a parent. It is important to remember, however, that how the Court will rule in any given situation will always depend on the facts of a case.
How Las Vegas parents can overcome child custody presumptions based on a history of domestic violence
Parents can only overcome the presumptions created by a domestic violence conviction by showing that joint custody would be in the best interests of the child. In determining what is in a youth’s best interests, the Court will be concerned with factors such as the wishes of the child (depending on their age and maturity), the ability of each parent to meet the child’s needs, the ability of each parent to foster a relationship between the youth and their counterpart, etc. If a parent shows that the child’s needs, or other relevant factors, can only be met through joint custody then the Court may rule that the presumptions have been overcome. When making such a determination, the Court will look to objective evidence and verifiable facts. The Court will not be concerned with personal opinions and conjecture offered by the parties.
If you are involved in a child custody dispute which involves domestic violence then contact my office today to speak with a Las Vegas family lawyer. My office practices solely in the area of domestic relations law and we recognize that this is a serious time in your life. We will make sure you know what to expect as the case moves forward and we will give your matter the attention it deserves. Contact us online or by telephone to speak with an attorney.