This is the next post in my series on the handling of Las Vegas child custody cases which involve domestic violence by one of the parents. My last article discussed how domestic violence impacts Nevada child custody cases as a general matter. It is important to understand that if a judge finds that domestic violence has occurred then the Court must presume that joint custody would not be in the best interests of the child. This presumption, however, can be overcome. This article will expand upon that discussion by discussing ways in which parents can overcome this presumption. If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a child custody lawyer.
The Court’s only concern in any child custody case will be with ensuring that the best interests of the youth are protected. The Court is not concerned with what either parent wants, or even needs, in regard to their particular situation. When determining what is in the best interests of the child, the Court will look to factors such as:
- The preference of the child (assuming they are old enough and mature enough for their preference to matter)
- The history of the relationship between each child and the parent
- The needs of the child and the ability of each parent to meet those needs
- The mental and physical health of each parent
As stated in my last article, if the Court finds that a parent committed domestic violence then the judge must begin the matter with a presumption that joint custody should not be awarded. However, if after analyzing the factors listed above, the Court finds that the child’s best interests are best served with an award of joint custody, then such will be the Court’s order.
The above-referenced concepts are best explained through example. Suppose a father has been arrested, and convicted, for committing domestic violence against the mother of the child. Now suppose that the father has no other criminal history and has held steady employment for a long period of time. Also, suppose that the child has historically been cared for equally by both parents and that the mother has a heavy work schedule which requires her to spend much time away from home. Finally, suppose that the mother has health problems which require medication that leaves her unable to drive for periods of time. Under this scenario, the Court may find that the presumption against joint custody has been overcome. In addition to factors such as the historical relationship between the child and the parents, the mother may very well be unable to care for the child as she cannot drive the youth to the hospital in the event of an emergency. It is important to remember, however, that how the Court will rule in any given situation will always depend on the facts of the case.
If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a Las Vegas child custody lawyer. My office has handled many matters which involve domestic violence and our firm practices in no other area besides family law. We understand that this is an important time in your life and we will give your case the attention it deserves as you move through this process. Contact us online or by telephone to speak with an attorney.