Las Vegas Child Custody Lawyer
702 766 6671
Determining child custody arrangements is an emotional and nerve-wracking experience for parents going through separation or divorce. Decisions made in court impact you and your child’s life and can potentially limit the amount of time you spend with your child. That’s why you need a skilled child custody lawyer with a verifiable record of successfully negotiating and litigating complex, high-conflict family law cases.
At McFarling Law Group, our family law practice includes representation of parents in:
- Child custody and support,
- Divorce, and
McFarling Law Group provides skillful legal representation with an emphasis on case clarity and client satisfaction. We understand the nuances of each unique case and possess a thorough knowledge of the Nevada legal system.
Our meticulous representation strategy incorporates more than 50 years of combined family law knowledge and court experience into every child custody case we take on. At McFarling Law Group, we raise the bar with high-caliber, high-impact legal representation.
Whether your case is simple and straightforward or intricate and high-conflict, our team targets the best possible outcome for you, every time.
Child Custody in Las Vegas
In Nevada, the courts’ ultimate goal and primary concern in any custody dispute is to serve the best interests of the child.
There are two types of custody in the state of Nevada – physical custody and legal custody.
Legal custody refers to a parent’s access to information and responsibility for decisions that pertain to the child’s life. A parent with legal custody has a right and duty to make decisions with respect ot the child’s education, religious upbringing, and medical care.
Physical custody is the amount of time the child is with each parent.
Without a good reason to do otherwise, the Courts generally award parents joint legal and joint physical custody. The court does not presume that a parent has superior rights to the custody of a child based on his or her gender; mothers and fathers come to the Court on equal footing.
How Does the Court Process Work?
The Court has broad discretion to establish custody arrangements, so long as it explains its reasons for those decisions.
If the parents agree to a custody and visitation arrangement, the court will acknowledge and enforce the plan. However, If the parents disagree and one parent requests an arrangement other than joint physical custody, the Court will conduct an evidentiary hearing – also known as a trial – before making a final custody determination.
During the evidentiary hearing, both parties present evidence and witnesses to support or defend their case. Child custody requests often arise and are considered by the Court in tandem with paternity or divorce cases.
A motion related to child custody will be resolved in one of three ways:
- Mediation. The judge may suspend hearing on the motion and order the parents to attempt to mediate before trial. The parents may reach a resolution at meditation and the agreement will be submitted to the Court and entered as an order.
- Settlement. If at any time in the case prior to trial the parties decide to resolve things on their own, they can always put the agreement in writing, detailing the custody schedule which they have agreed to, and submit it to the Court. The Court will likely enter the agreement as an order and vacate the trial.
- Trial. If the parties cannot reach an agreement at mediation, the judge will set a trial. The parties will conduct discovery and then put on evidence and question the parties and other witnesses at the evidentiary hearing.
Going to court is intimidating for any person, let alone a parent who is going through a separation or dealing with high-stakes custody issues. In these situations, you need a Las Vegas child custody lawyer with a thorough understanding of the Nevada family court system.
Wherever you are in your custody case, our team can help. We offer mediation services if you and the other parent seek to resolve your custody issues peaceably, we can draft the custody motion or opposition to the other parent’s motion to establish or modify custody, and we can represent you at your child custody trial.
What are the Legal Standards?
There is a preference in Nevada courts for a joint physical and joint legal custody arrangement. This is because the Court values keeping both parents in a child’s life. It is the policy of the state of Nevada to foster a continuing relationship between the child and both parents where doing so will serve the child’s best interests.
This preference for joint custody goes away if either parent is unable to care for the child for 146 days out of the year (40 percent of the year), has engaged in domestic violence against the parent, or has abused, neglected, or abducted any child.
The court will award physical custody of a child in the following order of preference unless the best interest of the child requires otherwise: 1) the parents; 2) the person who the child lives with and where the child has a stable and sound environment; 3) an extended relative of the child who cares for and guides the child; and 4) any non-relative who provides suitable care and guidance for the child.
The judge is required to consider several factors in order to determine the best interest of the child, including the following:
- The child’s custodial preference, depending on the child’s age and capacity to make an intelligent and independent decision;
- Whether either parent has nominated a person to be the child’s guardian;
- Which parent is most likely to let the child communicate with and have a continuing relationship with the other parent;
- The level of conflict between the parents;
- The parents’ ability to work together to meet the needs of the child;
- The physical and mental health of the parents;
- The child’s physical, developmental, and emotional needs;
- The nature of the child’s relationship with either parent;
- The child’s ability to maintain a relationship with his or her sibling(s);
- A history of abuse or neglect by either parent on the child or the child’s sibling;
- Whether either parent (or other person seeking custody) has previously engaged in domestic violence against the child, the other parent, or any other person living with the child;
- Whether either parent (or other parent seeking custody) has abducted the child or another child.
If the Court finds that a parent or person seeking physical custody has committed domestic violence against the child, there is a presumption that awarding custody to the abusive parent is not in the child’s best interest. If either parent has abducted or tried to abduct the child, there is a presumption that it is not in the child’s best interest to be with that parent without supervision.
If the court orders a custody arrangement and a parent later commits domestic violence or abducts a child, the non-abusing/non-abducting parent can ask the court to modify the custody order.
Modification of Your Child’s Custody Order
After the Court has made a final child custody order, it will only modify the custody arrangement if there has been a substantial change in circumstances affecting the welfare of the child. Any requested modification must be in the child’s best interest.
The parents can always agree to modify the court-ordered child custody arrangement, but they must document these changes in writing. The court will accept any changes the parties agree to, so long as they serve the best interest of the child.
When parents cannot agree on the modification of a child custody arrangement, the party who wants to change the order must file a motion demonstrating a substantial change in circumstances. A substantial change in circumstances might arise when one parent has prevented the child from communicating with the other parent or has abducted the child out of the state; a parent partakes in criminal activity; a parent initiates a relationship with someone who poses a threat or risk to the child; or a parent is no longer able to provide the child with necessary care.
If you need help modifying your existing custody order, contact a Las Vegas child custody lawyer at McFarling Law Group. With extensive experience helping parents seek child custody modifications, we gather the relevant evidence and necessary information to increase your odds of modifying the current custody arrangement.
In Nevada, both parents have a duty to provide a child with health care, education, and financial support.
A parent’s child support obligation depends on the parents’ custody arrangement and each party’s income. The amount of child support is calculated pursuant to the formula set forth in NAC 425.
A parent can request to modify child support at any time based on a change in circumstances, including a change of 20 percent or more in the gross monthly income of the parent who is subject to the child support order. The child support award can be reviewed every three years upon the request of either party.
Custody Attorneys in Las Vegas
At McFarling Law Group, we recognize the nuances and unique challenges and opportunities in each child custody case, and we work hard to collect the important evidence that will enable us to argue your case in court. Our lawyers negotiate on your behalf both in and outside of the courtroom. Because child custody issues can substantially affect your life and your child’s life, you need an expert Las Vegas attorney by your side.
Our team of knowledgeable family law experts will walk you through the child custody process. We offer a modern, results-driven approach to keep you in the loop every step of the way. With a same-day response policy and consistent online updates regarding your case, you will never be in the dark on your own case.
Don’t settle for less than stellar service when you need a Las Vegas child custody lawyer. We strive to represent our clients competently and aggressively in court for the best possible outcome.
When you need a Las Vegas child custody law firm, call our team at McFarling Law Group. We listen to your needs and outline a plan to tackle your case in a timely, affordable, and efficient manner.