Nevada Child Custody Laws 101
Child custody issues are frequently faced in Nevada family court cases. There are two types of child custody: legal custody and physical custody. When parents are in the process of separation, the matter of legal and physical custody must be handled as a part of the case.
Court’s Child Custody Responsibility
- Ensure that the child has an ongoing relationship and regular communication with both of their parents following the separation.
- Encourage parents to share their child-raising responsibilities.
- Establish an equal duty of care for the child among the parents. This includes but is not limited to health care, education, and financial support for the child.
Legal custody grants the parent the right to make long-lasting decisions about the raising of their child and important aspects of the child’s welfare. This includes decisions on the child’s education, medical care, and religious instruction. Unless the court has ruled otherwise, each parent automatically has joint legal custody, where they are expected to equally share this responsibility. In most cases in the court, parents are awarded joint legal custody. Sole legal custody is awarded to a parent when the other parent is deemed unfit for making decisions about their child’s life. Parents may be deemed unfit if they have a history of drug abuse, domestic violence, or child neglect.
Physical custody refers to the amount of time that the child spends with each parent. Parents are automatically given joint physical custody of their child unless the court has ruled otherwise. This means that the child spends at least 40% of their time with each parent. The court can also grant primary physical custody, meaning that one parent has the child more than 60% of the time throughout the year and the other parent has “visitation” rights to the child. The last type of physical custody that a court can rule is sole physical custody. Sole physical custody means that one parent has the child 100% of the time and the other parent has either no or very little visitation. Sole physical custody is rarely ordered in child custody cases.
Best Interest of the Child
Custody is awarded to parents based on the best interest of the child. The factors considered when deciding the best interest of the child include:
- The living situation of each parent.
- The stability of the child’s life with each parent.
- The child’s preferences.
- The child’s age.
- The child’s relationship with each parent.
- The level of conflict between the parents.
- The child’s needs.
- History of parental abuse or neglect by either parent.