This is the next article in my series on cases in which a parent wishes to obtain primary custody of their child in Las Vegas, Nevada. My last post provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. It also stressed the need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible if you are involved in a legal dispute. Obtaining counsel will assist you with making the best possible case to the Court. In this article I will discuss how Nevada law applies to parents wishing to obtain primary custody. If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
Nevada Courts will award custody only if it is in the best interest of the child
Nevada is a state which presumes that parents should share custody of their children equally. In other words, the Court will begin each case with the presumption that the parents should enjoy joint custody. The Court will vary from this presumption, and grant primary custody to a parent, if it is shown that such an arrangement would be in the best interest of the child. When determining what is in a child’s best interests, the Court will look at a variety of factors. These factors include:
- The wishes of the child (depending on their age and maturity)
- The historical relationship between each parent and the child
- The physical and emotional needs of the child
- The ability of a parent to meet the child’s needs
- The physical health and mental wellbeing of each parent
- The willingness of a parent to cooperate and work with their counterpart
- Whether a parent has committed acts of domestic violence
The Court need not weigh all of these factors equally when deciding whether or not primary custody would be in the best interest of the child. If one factor overwhelmingly weighs in favor of a parent, then that alone may be enough to award the parent primary custody.
Consider the following example. Jack and Jill are married and have decided to divorce. Jill, a stay-at-home mother, has historically been the primary caretaker of the child while Jack worked full-time. The child, now ten years old, has expressed a desire to live primarily with Jill and she will be living closer to the child’s school than Jack. Furthermore, Jack often works afternoon shifts and, as a result, will typically not be home when the child returns from school. Under this scenario, the Court may award Jill primary custody under the factors delineated above. Now suppose, however, that Jill has established a pattern of denying Jack his visitation since the parties separated. Furthermore, she is regularly demeaning Jack in the presence of the child. Under this scenario, the Court may find that Jill is unwilling to work with her counterpart and the Judge may award joint custody as a result.
While the outcome of any given case will depend on the facts of the situation, the foregoing examples demonstrate how Courts sometimes view a particular set of facts.
Las Vegas parents should contact a lawyer if they are attempting to gain primary child custody
If you are attempting to gain primary custody of your child then it is important that you contact a lawyer to assist you. The Court will look at objective evidence in such matters and it is important to understand what types of facts the Court may, and may not, consider relevant. Having experienced counsel can improve your chances of the Court being receptive to your arguments. I am a Las Vegas child custody attorney who practices solely in the area of domestic relations law. I understand that this is a serious time in your life and my office will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us online or by telephone for an initial consultation. We look forward to speaking with you.