Nevada Child Custody and Visitation
Child custody and visitation are central issues in family law cases. If parents are married, parents address child custody and visitation during a divorce, separation, or annulment. If parents are not married, parents address child custody and visitation in a custody or paternity case. In Nevada, the court determines child custody and visitation based on the “best interests of the child.”
Child custody and visitation issues are complex. Every family is unique. Anthem Divorce Lawyers have extensive family law experience. We assist clients with child custody and visitation cases all over the Las Vegas area. Contact us today for a consultation.
Nevada Policy Regarding Child Custody and Visitation
Nevada has state policy regarding child custody and visitation. In Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 125C.001, the legislature declares that it is the policy of Nevada to:
- Ensure that minor children have frequent associations and a continuing relationship with both parents after the parents have ended their relationship, become separated or dissolved their marriage;
- Encourage such parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing; and
- Establish that such parents have an equivalent duty to provide their minor children with necessary maintenance, health care, education and financial support. As used in this subsection, “equivalent” must not be construed to mean that both parents are responsible for providing the same amount of financial support to their children.
Parents have joint custody until otherwise ordered by the court. NRS 125C.0015 provides as follows:
- The parent and child relationship extends equally to every child and to every parent, regardless of the marital status of the parents.
- If a court has not made a determination regarding the custody of a child, each parent has joint legal custody and joint physical custody of the child.
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 about the child.
Physical custody is the amount of time a child spends with each parent. There are three types of physical custody: joint, primary, and 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.
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.
Per NRS 3.475, the court has established a mandatory mediation program in cases that involve the custody or visitation of a child.
Under NRS 3.475, the mandatory mediation program must:
- Require the impartial mediation of the issues of custody and visitation.
- Authorize the impartial mediation of any other non financial issue deemed appropriate by the court.
- Authorize the court to exclude a case from the program where:
- There is a history of child abuse or domestic violence by one of the parties;
- The parties are currently participating in private mediation; or
- One of the parties resides outside of the jurisdiction of the court.
Mediation is confidential. NRS 3.475(2)(d) prohibits “the mediator from reporting to the court any information about the mediation other than whether the dispute was resolved."
In Clark County, Rule 5.303 Mandatory mediation program applies to mediation. Unless otherwise ordered, all parties to a contested child custody proceeding must attend mediation through one of the following:
- The Family Mediation Center
- A private mediator
The Family Mediation Center does not resolve financial issues like child support and alimony. It helps parents try to resolve legal custody and physical custody. The Family Mediation Center can help parents set up schedules for the following:
- Weekly visitation
If parents dispute child custody and visitation and cannot resolve the matter in mediation, the matter may go to trial. At trial, the parents present evidence and witnesses and the judge makes a determination.
NRS 125C.0035(1) states:
- In any action for determining physical custody of a minor child, the sole consideration of the court is the best interest of the child.
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.
Child custody and visitation issues are complex. Consult with an experienced lawyer regarding any custody or visitation issues. Anthem Divorce Lawyers have over 25 years of experience. Contact us today for a consultation.
Usually only parents have a right to custody or visitation. In limited circumstances, it may be possible for a non-parent to request custody, visitation, or guardianship of a child. Not everyone can request visitation with a child. The laws for non-parents are complex and fact specific. They still require that any action involving a child be in the child’s best interest.
If you are a non-parent, it is best to seek legal advice before attempting to seek custody, visitation, or guardianship of a child. An experienced lawyer can advise you of your potential rights and answer your questions.
The court can modify child custody and visitation orders. Parents may agree to the modification or one parent may file a motion asking the court to modify the order. If a parent relocates, they may have to request a modification to the order.
Child custody and visitation can be a complicated and stressful process. An experienced 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.