Child Custody in Las Vegas
For many people, having a child is the most magical moment in life. In a perfect world, that child would grow up in a loving, two-parent home. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. Relationships do not always last. And Children do not always get the benefit of living with both parents.
When parents’ relationships end, there are a whole host of decisions that must be made. Where will the children live? Where will they go to school? How often will the other parent get to see the children? How much money must be paid for the support of the children?
Be sure to check out our Child Custody FAQ to answer some of your questions.
In Nevada, Child Custody is split into two separate, yet inter-related concepts: Legal Custody and Physical Custody.
Legal custody is the right to know about what is going on in a child’s life. It also encompasses the right to assist in making the major decision in the child’s life – decisions such as where the child will be living, where the child will be going to school, what religion will the child practice – if any. In Nevada, unless there are issues involving drugs or abuse, most parents will be awarded Joint Legal Custody. Where drugs or abuse is involved, it may be possible for the non-abusive parent to obtain an award of Sole Legal Custody.
Physical Custody involves where a child will live. In Nevada, there are two kinds of Physical Custody – Joint Physical Custody and Primary Physical Custody. In a classic Joint Physical Custody situation, both parents have the child/children with them an approximately equal amount of time. Classic examples of Joint Physical Custody timeshares include:
Week on/Week off;
3.5 days on/3.5 days off; or
Monday & Tuesday for one parent, Wednesday and Thursday for the other parent, and each parent alternates the weekend.
The Courts will permit parties to enter into almost any Joint Physical scenario they wish, so long as the children are not negatively impacted by the custodial timeshare. In Nevada, due in large part to the variable shifts many parents work, courts have even been known to enforce mornings for one parent and evenings for the other parent. Nevada will also permit parents to split custody on a 4 day/3 day basis and still permit that to be called “Joint Physical Custody” – even though one parent actually has the child for a little more time than the other parent. Primary Physical Custody is where one parent has custody of the child for more than 60% of the time. In that case, the parent who has more than 60% of the time has Primary Physical Custody and the other parent has Visitation.
Physical Custody can have a whole host of ramifications for the parents. In addition to affecting how often a parent sees the children, it affects issues relating to Child Support, the ability to move out of state, and the ability to change custody in the future should the need arise. Unfortunately, many parents opt to take a “wait and see” approach to see if the custody issues will work themselves out. However, Child Custody is much too important to be left to chance.
At Smith Legal Group, we understand Child Custody cases. We understand how Child Custody-related issues can affect the relationship between parents and their children. Most importantly however, we really care about the outcome of your case. Call Smith Legal Group today for a free consultation. Let us assist you in navigating the many pitfalls that exist in a child custody case and in obtaining the best possible Custody Order for your particular situation.