Child Custody and Support
Las Vegas families in domestic conflict face diverse issues including: child custody, visitation, guardianship, termination of parental rights, paternity, adoption, abduction, and child support. These family law matters can cause stress for all parties involved. An experienced family law lawyer can help you navigate this complex process.
Anthem Divorce Lawyers have over 25 years of experience. Based in Henderson, Nevada, we serve clients all over the Las Vegas area. Contact us today for a consultation.
Child Custody and Visitation
Child custody and visitation issues are central in family law cases. Custody refers to both legal custody and physical custody. In Nevada, the court determines child custody and visitation based on the “best interests of the child.”
If parents are married, they will address child custody and visitation during a divorce, separation, or annulment. If parents are not married, they address child custody and visitation in a custody or paternity case. Other issues may arise in conjunction with child custody and visitation including jurisdictional issues.
A court does not have to decide child custody and visitation. Parents are allowed to agree to their own custody and visitation schedules. In most instances, if parents dispute custody or visitation issues a judge will refer them to the Family Mediation Center.
The Family Mediation Center does not resolve financial issues like child support. It helps parents try to resolve legal custody and physical custody. The Family Mediation Center can also help parents set up schedules for the following:
● Weekly visitation
Legal custody refers to who makes major decisions about the child including healthcare, religion, and education. If parents have joint legal custody, both parents share in the responsibility of making major decisions about the child. A parent with sole legal custody is the only parent who has the right to make major decisions involving the child.
Physical custody is the amount of time a child spends with each parent. There are three types of physical custody: joint, primary, or sole. The courts prefer parents to have joint physical custody.
● If both parents have a child at least 40% of the time, they have joint physical custody.
● A parent who has a child more than 60% of the time has primary physical custody.
● A parent who has a child 100% of the time has sole physical custody.
In determining the best interest of the child, the court considers the following:
● The wishes of the child, if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form an intelligent preference as to his or her physical custody.
● Any nomination of a guardian for the child by a parent.
● Which parent is more likely to allow the child to have frequent associations and a continuing relationship with the noncustodial parent.
● Level of conflict between the parents.
● Ability of the parents to cooperate to meet the needs of the child.
● Mental and physical health of the parents.
● Physical, developmental and emotional needs of the child.
● Nature of the relationship of the child with each parent.
● Ability of the child to maintain a relationship with any sibling.
● Any history of parental abuse or neglect of the child or a sibling of the child.
● Whether either parent has engaged in an act of domestic violence against the child, a parent of the child, or any other person residing with the child.
● Whether either parent has committed any act of abduction against the child or any other child.
In Nevada, a guardian is any person appointed as guardian of a person, estate, or person and estate. A person may be a guardian for a child or an adult. An adult incapable of caring for himself/herself may need a guardian. A guardian for a child is responsible for a child’s:
This including the child’s:
Terminating a parent’s rights takes away that person’s rights as a parent. Legally, the person is no longer the child’s parent. In Nevada there are many reasons that a judge may terminate a parent’s rights including:
● The parent is unfit
● Sexual Assault
● The parent is a danger to the child
After termination, an individual can adopt the child without the parent’s permission. The parent has no right to a relationship with the child and no responsibility to pay child support.
In Nevada, there is a presumption of paternity when a man and woman are married or cohabiting and have a child. When an unmarried couple has a child, paternity is established through one of the following ways:
● Signing a declaration of paternity
● The District Attorney Family Support Division filing a case to establish paternity
● Either parent filing a complaint to establish paternity
In Nevada, an individual (or married couple) may adopt a child. Adoption is a permanent process where the individual or married couple becomes a child’s legal parent. Once approved, the adoption takes away the biological parent’s rights to the child.
In some instances, it is also possible to adopt an adult. An adult may adopt another adult if:
● The person adopting is older than the adoptee.
● One of the adults meets jurisdictional requirements.
● Either of the adults is married, their spouses will sign and notarize a consent.
In Nevada, abduction means the wrongful removal or wrongful retention of a child. Abduction can have serious civil and criminal consequences, including possible felony prosecution. Abducting a child can impact a parent’s custody and visitation. It is important to understand how a court order impacts your rights and responsibilities as a parent.
Under Nevada law, every parent of a child under 18 has a duty to provide the child necessary maintenance, health care, education, and support. Parents must provide support for their children if they are under 18, or 19 if they are in high school.
Nevada calculates child support based on a percentage of a parent’s gross monthly income. Nevada revised its child support guidelines effective February 1, 2020. The State of Nevada provides an online Nevada Child Support Guidelines Calculator. A parent can use the calculator to estimate child support obligations under the new law.
Calculating child support can be a complicated process. An experienced family law lawyer can advise you of your rights. If you are paying child support, an experienced lawyer can make sure you do not pay more than you are legally obligated to pay. If you are receiving child support, an experienced lawyer can make sure your child receives the maximum amount of support they deserve.
Child support issues persist even after the judge issues an order or parents come to an agreement. Child support matters include enforcement and modification. In Nevada, modification or adjustment of child support must be based upon a “change in circumstances." We understand that child support calculations and enforcement can be challenging.
Child custody and support can be a complicated and stressful process. An experienced family law lawyer can help you navigate this difficult process. Anthem Divorce Lawyers have over 25 years of experience. Located in Henderson, Nevada we work with clients all over the Las Vegas area. Contact us today for a consultation.