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How to win child custody in Las Vegas, Nevada

Updated: Feb 11, 2019



Las Vegas judges are mandated by the Nevada legislature to presume or prefer that joint physical custody of the minor child is in the child's best interests, but that preference and presumption is rebuttable.


NRS 125C.001 State policy. The Legislature declares that it is the policy of this State:
      1.  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;
      2.  To encourage such parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing; and
      3.  To 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.
NRS 125C.0015 Parents have joint custody until otherwise ordered by court.
      1.  The parent and child relationship extends equally to every child and to every parent, regardless of the marital status of the parents.
      2.  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 until otherwise ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction.
NRS 125C.002 Joint legal custody.
      1.  When a court is making a determination regarding the legal custody of a child, there is a presumption, affecting the burden of proof, that joint legal custody would be in the best interest of a minor child if:
      (a) The parents have agreed to an award of joint legal custody or so agree in open court at a hearing for the purpose of determining the legal custody of the minor child; or
      (b) A parent has demonstrated, or has attempted to demonstrate but has had his or her efforts frustrated by the other parent, an intent to establish a meaningful relationship with the minor child.
      2.  The court may award joint legal custody without awarding joint physical custody.
NRS 125C.0025 Joint physical custody.
      1.  When a court is making a determination regarding the physical custody of a child, there is a preference that joint physical custody would be in the best interest of a minor child if:
      (a) The parents have agreed to an award of joint physical custody or so agree in open court at a hearing for the purpose of determining the physical custody of the minor child; or
      (b) A parent has demonstrated, or has attempted to demonstrate but has had his or her efforts frustrated by the other parent, an intent to establish a meaningful relationship with the minor child.
      2.  For assistance in determining whether an award of joint physical custody is appropriate, the court may direct that an investigation be conducted.


Quickest and Easiest way to obtain Joint Custody in Las Vegas


In other words, if you are a parent and on ok terms with the other parent, very likely you can achieve a court order for joint legal and joint physical custody. The quickest and easiest way to win joint legal custody is by agreement with the other parent, which is easiest when you are still in a non-marital relationship and just want to publicly acknowledge your rights and responsibilities with a court order that will be difficult to change later.


If you cannot agree on custody, what then?


If you cannot agree with the other parent, then you still have a good shot at winning joint custody by petition and then motion so long as you can support that it is in the child's best interests and the other parent cannot rebut that presumption. If the two parents are in dispute, then the judge will consider the 12 best interests factors, and other factors, to determine what kind of child custody will be awarded.


Even terrible parents often find that they will retain some custodial rights, including decision making power and visitation. If you are in doubt, you should consult a Nevada family lawyer particularly one with extensive experience in child custody matters.


All is not lost just because you have to go to court. You will still see your kids!


In virtually every case in Las Vegas family courts when child custody is in dispute, the judges will give the parents many opportunities to resolve their differences before the judge holds an evidentiary hearing/trial to make one parent a winner and the other a loser. Usually the judge will order that the parents go to mediation at the Family Mediation Center inside the courthouse. Sometimes the judge will order that the child or children be interviewed so that the judge can assess the child's wishes and other factors of the best interests factors.


At any time before, and even after, a judge make a ruling, the parties can still agree with each other to change their parenting situation and should do so by completing a Stipulation and Order that adopts a new parenting plan.

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