CHILD CUSTODY ATTORNEYS IN RENO, NV
Our Reno Child Custody Lawyers at Carlson & Work are here to help. In life, there is no job more important than a parent’s. In law, there are few cases more rewarding than protecting or restoring a parent’s rightful position in their child’s life.
Custody battles can be deeply complex. Child custody and visitation cases are difficult and often require a trial. You need an experienced child custody attorney, and more importantly, you need an experienced trial attorney. Carlson & Work has successfully handled hundreds of child custody cases. Repeatedly, we find the results that benefit our clients. Reputations are earned. Carlson & Work is widely considered one of the top child custody law firms in Reno, Nevada.
HOW CHILD CUSTODY IS DETERMINED IN NEVADA
1. What is Physical Child Custody?
The term “physical custody” describes a child’s living arrangements.
A parent is considered to have primary physical custody of a child if the child spends over 60% of their time living with them.
Parents who have joint physical custody is a child spends 40% or more of their time living with both of their parents.
Schedule a Reno Child Custody Consultation with one of our custody lawyers to help with you with your child custody matters.
2. What is Legal Child Custody?
The term “legal custody” describes a parent’s right to decide on important aspects of a child’s care. Some examples of this are:
- The school attended by a child
- The religion a child is raised in
- A child’s medical care
Typically, if a parent has physical custody, they will also have or share legal custody. However, it is possible for courts to award a parent with joint legal custody even if that parent does not have physical custody.
For more information, read our related article that explains how physical and legal custody different in Nevada.
3. What Determines Child Custody?
There are two different methods used to decide custody in Nevada.
The parents can mutually agree on custody, or custody can be determined by the courts.
Parents with be assigned joint physical and legal custody before the custody arrangement is finalized by the courts.
Joint custody is determined to be in the child’s best interest when parents have agreed to it.
The court may also award joint custody if it can be demonstrated that both parents have worked to build a meaningful relationship with a child.
Joint custody can be awarded even if one parent tries to damage the other parent’s relationship with their child.
In some cases, a parent may make false statements to try to strengthen their position in a custody dispute. A parent could claim that the other party abuses drugs or has committed domestic violence or spousal rape (NRS 200.373).
In Reno, it is required for parents to participate in mediation during custody disputes. Parents will try to come to an agreement on custody during this time.
If parents are unable to come to an agreement, custody will be determined by a judge.
3.2 How Do Judges Determine Custody?
In Nevada, the court’s only consideration is the child’s best interests (NRS 125C.0035)
Judges take numerous factors into account when deciding what is in the best interest of a child such as:
- History of abuse or child neglect
- Past instances of domestic violence
- What the child wants
- Whether a child will be able to maintain a proper relationship with their siblings
- Conflict between the child’s parents
- Whether parents can work together to meet the child’s needs
- The physical and mental conditions of the parents
- The child’s emotional and physical needs
- The relationship the child has with each parent.
In some cases, the court may conduct an investigation to determine if physical custody is suitable.6
3.3 Do Courts Favor Mothers In Custody Disputes?
When deciding custody in the state of Nevada, the mother is not automatically favored.
The sole consideration is the child’s best interest. Joint physical custody will be granted if the court decides that is in the best interests of the child.
After the judge has made a decision, it is legally binding.
4. How is Parentage Determined in Nevada?
Nevada NRS 126 states that parentage is not determined by marital status. Instead, a parental relationship is determined when:
- An individual has given birth outside of a surrogacy agreement
- The child has been legally adopted
- Two people that are not married have a co-parenting agreement that’s been signed
- A surrogate was used to conceive a child for a parent
- A man served as a sperm donor with the intention of serving as a parent to the child after birth.
5. Custody Arrangements for Same-Sex Parents
It has been determined by the Supreme Court of Nevada that custody arrangements can be enforced between same-sex partners.
It only matters that both parties have agreed to be parents. These factors are not considered:
- Whether the parents and child are biologically related
- The parent’s gender
As an example, two men might choose to have a child together. One party will provide sperm. The eggs will be donated. A surrogate will carry the child.
If there isn’t a written agreement in place, the surrogate could be assumed to be the mother of the child. However, if a contract is signed, parental relationships will be determined. The surrogate and the egg donor will not be considered to be parents.
6. Is It Possible for Someone to be Awarded Custody When They Are Not the Parent?
Courts can give custody to someone other than a child’s parents, but this will only be done in situations where:
- It is determined that giving a parent custody would be damaging to the child
- It is determined to be in the best interest of the child to award custody to a non-parent
7. Will I Have Visitation Rights If I Do Not Win Custody?
A parent that has not been awarded custody can still be given visitation rights by a judge. This can be determined via court order.
When the order is granted, it must specify visitation terms and times.
It is necessary for the terms to be specific so that it can be enforced and so that the best interests of the child can be protected.
If the custodial parent does not allow a parent their legal visitation, the court can award that parent with additional visitation time.
8. How Can a Reno Child Custody Order Be Modified?
Both parents have the option of petitioning the court and requesting a modification to the custody agreement.14 A custody agreement may be modified for a number of reasons, such as:
- Changed circumstances, such as job loss, mean a parent can’t afford child support payments
- A child has special needs, like necessary medical treatment, that are new
- A custodial parent is interested in an out-of-state move.
9. What Do Child Custody Laws in Nevada Say About Out of State Moves?
Even if a parent has primary physical custody of a child, they can only move out of state when the other parent or the court provides consent.
This rule covers all out-of-state moves, as well as in-state moves that would impact the other parent’s ability to maintain a meaningful relationship with their child.
If a parent that doesn’t hold custody refuses to agree to a reasonable moving request, there many be consequences. For example, courts may order the other parent to cover attorney’s fees in situations where:
- The non-custodial parent refuses a request without providing reasonable grounds for that refusal
- A parent does not provide consent in order to harass the custodial parent
9.1 How Do Courts Decide if a Parent Can Move?
If a parent with custody wants to move out of state, they must demonstrate to the courts that:
- The purpose of the move isn’t to keep the other parent from spending time with their child
- There is a good reason for the request
- Relocating is in the best interests of the child
- The parent and child will be benefited from the move.
Courts may also look at whether it will be possible for the other parent to continue to have a meaningful relationship with their child after moving.
10. What Are the Consequences for Child Custody Agreement Violations in Nevada?
In Nevada, child custody order violations are a category Examples of child custody agreement violations are:
- Purposefully removing, concealing, or detaining a child from a parent that has legal custody
- Purposefully refusing a parent legal visitation
- Removing a child from the jurisdiction of the court without obtaining consent from the other parent
Punishment for Nevada custody agreement violations can include a prison sentence of 1 to 4 years
NEVADA CUSTODY LAWS
Under Nevada law, there are two forms of custody a court will consider (1) Legal Custody and (2) Physical Custody. When you meet with one of Carlson & Work’s experienced family law attorneys, we will formulate a plan of attack to achieve your child custody and visitation goals.
What is Legal Custody?
In Nevada, legal custody refers to the right of either parent to make the most central and important decisions as they relate to your child’s life. The main area that a family law and custody lawyers can assist in is determining (1) schooling of their child including where the child attends, (2) religion of their child, and where the child attends (3) any medical decisions as they relate to your child.
What is Physical Custody?
In Nevada, physical custody primarily relates to the physical living arraignment the family law court determines is best for your child. In the simplest terms, physical custody determines where and when your child is at any given time and which parent has the legal write to their child at any given time. If a family law judge orders that one parent occupies more than 60% of their child’s time, it will be determined that the parent holds primary physical custody of their child. Carlson & Work has successfully fought to obtain joint and primary custody for many of our family law clients.
If you need a child custody attorney in Reno, Sparks, Carson City, Minden or anywhere in Northern Nevada, please contact Carlson & Work Today.
Joint Legal Custody
Joint legal custody is the most common form of legal custody awarded in Nevada. Unless there is a judicial order stating otherwise, joint legal custody is presumed. In joint legal custody, both parents share the ability to make major decisions about their child, and further, have to consult with one another regarding these major decision.
Sole Legal Custody
Sole legal custody is less common. Sole legal custody requires a judge determining only one parent should have the right to make all major decisions for the child, and be the only parent to have access to critical information about their child.
CHILD SUPPORT ATTORNEY REPRESENTATION
A family law attorney can help many ways in regards to child support. With the help of an attorney, child support can be established, and even reviewed to decrease or increase the amount of support due each month. A parent may request child support to be reviewed if there has been a significant change in circumstances, or a significant change in income.
SPOUSAL SUPPORT & ALIMONY
Despite what many say, Spousal Support and Alimony are always a consideration and potential outcome in any divorce in Nevada. In Nevada, Spousal Support and Alimony can have a massive impact on your long-term financial health, retirement and earnings capacity. You need an experienced attorney who fully understands the law and how to best position your case.
Spousal Support is financial support that is awarded by a court during the marriage. Typically, Spousal Support payments are awarded during the divorce proceedings. The court’s goal is often to make sure both parties are on equal footing financially during the divorce. These payments are not long term and will stop at the end of the divorce proceedings.
Alimony is financial support that is awarded by a court after the divorce is finalized. There are several factors a judge will consider when awarding alimony. These factors include: the difference income between the spouses, length of the marriage, the education and employability of either spouse, and whether one spouse has a health condition that makes income earning difficult.
The impacts of a Nevada divorce can be life-changing and lifelong. If anything, don’t leave the outcome to chance. You need a trusted divorce attorney by your side. Call us today, we will consider and review all legal options available to best position your case.
- Duration of The Marriage
- Whether One Spouse Committed Marital Waste
- Earning Capacity
- Marital Roles During Marriage
- Whether One Spouse Has Violated a Financial Restraining Order
CHILD CUSTODY FAQs
It is not necessary to have a Reno child custody lawyer in a custody case but having a lawyer can give you the advantage of giving proper legal advice which can turn the case in your favor. Not having any legal background can be detrimental to presenting your case in the court of law.
A parent can only file for a petition in Nevada if their child or children has been living in the state for at least six months, although there are exceptions to this rule. If the child or children has not been in Nevada for the six month duration, legal counsel is highly recommended before filing any motion or petition
The judges often consider the following in determining which custody arrangement will be in the best interest of the child: The child’s wishes, if the child is already of sufficient age, and if they are able to make an intelligent decision or preference.
Regardless of whether the parents are divorced, or not married, Nevada courts prefer a joint custody setup with regards to children. But the child’s best interests are taken into consideration when giving primary physical custody to either one of the parents.
Nevada courts do not favor one parent over the other and base their ruling on the child’s best interests. If the child or children is young or has young siblings, it may be in their best interest to primarily be with the mother. Either one of the parents has primary physical custody if the child resides with at the particular parent at least 60% of the time. The court may also grant sole custody to a parent if it is in line with the child’s best interest.
A parent and his or her environment can be deemed unfit if the court has determined that they have an addiction to vices such as drugs or alcohol, mental disorder, has been abusive, has neglected or failed to give proper care for their child or children.
Motions can be refused if they do not adhere to the procedural requirements. It can be refused by the clerk for filing and may be refused by the judge for a hearing.
The maximum child support is based on the presumptive maximums under NRS 125B.070. of which:
- For one child, 18 percent;
- For two children, 25 percent;
- For three children, 29 percent;
- For four children, 31 percent; and
- For each additional child, an additional 2 percent,
*Percentages are also based on monthly income brackets under NRS 125B.070
There are four primary changes in the new child support law:
- There is no minimum amount set for child support
- Statutory caps on child support no longer applies
- The percentages and calculations of child support have changed
- The age at which child support ends has changed
Child support ends at the age of 18 but if the child is still studying in high school, it will end at age 19. If the child has a mental or physical disability, the court can extend beyond the age of majority and can be terminated if the child receives a court order to remove a disability status.
Back child support payments based on Nevada law have no statute of limitations for the enforcement of child support if a court order exists. Retroactive support up to a period of 4 years may be requested if a court order does not exist.