Child Custody in Las Vegas

Child custody covers two main categories that every judge is supposed to address in a decree or order.  Each category has subcategories.  See table below.

Two main categories in every custody order


Decision making power over children




Time Share with each child






Sole Physical Custody

When one parent has all the physical time with the child and the other parent is out of the picture, for example by abandonment, incarceration, or deceased.

Primary Physical Custody


If you want your child in your life as much as possible, primary physical custody is the type of custody to have in Nevada.  The Nevada Supreme Court case of Rivero v. Rivero defined primary physical custody as one parent having more than 60% of the time with the child.  There are many time share arragnements that can create primary physical custody and it is important to do the math to ensure the 60%.  


Why is primary custody important?


  • it affects child support

  • it affects your right to relocate with your child or children

  • it affects your taxes

If you are getting divorced or were never married but want primary physical custody, see a lawyer long in advance of taking any action that can hurt your rights.

Joint Physical Custody

This is the presumed custody in Nevada pursuant to statutory law.  Joint physical custody is defined under the Nevada Supreme Court case of Rivero v. Rivero as parents having 50/50 time with their child or children.  To allow for work and school schedules, each parent must have at least 40% of the time with the child or children to still be considered a joint physical custodian.


  • joint physical custody affects child support

  • joint physical custody affects the right to relocate with the child

  • joint physical custody can affect taxes


Split Physical Custody


When a couple has more than one child but they split the children in such a way that maybe one child spends half the time with each parent but another child does not and may be primarily with one parent.  This is more common with large families with children of wide ranging ages.  It could be that there are two children but each parent has primary physical custody of one of the two. Think of the movie Parent Trap.

Shared Physical Custody


When the parents and the children all live together in one home and it is virtually impossible to tell which parents has the children more than the other parent and therefore timeshare cannot be calculated.

Joint Legal Custody


Joint Legal custody:  where parents share in the information and decision making regarding their child or children.

Sole Legal Custody


Sole legal custody:  where one parent is completely responsible for the information and decision making and the other parent is out of the picture.

I have been a client of Mr. Wright for several years. I have been very imp[ressed with his work, and I believe I was one of his first clients. He has done a great service for me and my young daughter, and all the while keeping the "family" unified in his casework. He is very intelligent, knowledgeable, and worth every penny invested. Keep in mind, he is only an attorney, and winning your case is the goal, or geting the best interest at the forefront, he does his very best. Thank you Mr. Wright.

Robert, A family law client

Las Vegas child custody blog posts

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