Whether parents are married or unmarried, Nevada Courts have jurisdiction to make orders regarding custody and control of children until the children emancipate. Children emancipate when they reach the age of 18 years or, if they are still in high school, when they graduate or reach the age of 19, whichever occurs first. Denise A. Gallagher is also a Custody Attorney.
The standard by which a Nevada Court will determine custody is “the best interest of the child”. A Nevada Court cannot give a parent preference because of their sex. For example, mothers do not automatically receive custody of their child just because they are the mother.
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There are two types of custodial rights in Nevada, legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make educational, medical, religious and significant decisions in their child’s life. Physical custody refers to where the child will reside. If a parent suffers from a mental defect or is unable to make decisions regarding their child, a Nevada Court can award a parent sole legal custody. However, in most cases, parents will share joint legal custody.
With respect to physical custody, a parent who has 60 percent or more of the time with the child on a weekly basis will be a parent who has primary physical custody. If the parents have a time share which is closer to a 50/50 split of time, they will share joint physical custody.
The amount of time each parent spends with their children has an impact on child support, their right to relocate with the children and changes to the custodial schedule in the future.
When initially establishing custody through the Nevada Courts, if parties disagree on custody of their child or children, they must attend mandatory mediation. If mediation fails, the parties can be referred by the Court to a therapist or a custody evaluator who will assist the Court in determining the custodial arrangement in the best interests of the children. That decision will be made at an evidentiary hearing.
In certain cases, a grandparent or another person close to the child may petition the Court for custody, however parents are preferred under Nevada law.
Child custody orders are always modifiable until a child emancipates. The standard which will apply in a modification case is determined by whether one of the parties has primary physical custody or the parties share joint physical custody.
The Gallagher Attorney Group has litigated hundreds of custody cases in Las Vegas and surrounding counties in Nevada. Establishing or changing custody of your children is one of the most critical issues a parent will face. Allow the Gallagher Attorney Group to represent your parental rights.