Nevada Child Custody Lawyer
Whether you’re a single parent or recently divorced, sorting out the details of co-parenting can be overwhelming. There are a variety of different outcomes regarding child custody and support determinations in Nevada. Physical custody can be split evenly between parents, lean in favor of one parent, or be solely assigned to one parent. Once custody is determined based on the best interests of the child, child support will be calculated to ensure that the financial needs of the child are met. From mapping out a child custody and visitation plan, to determining a fair child support award, Surratt Law Practice can help guide you on your co-parenting journey, leaving you to focus on making the best decisions for your family.
Types of Custody Agreements in Nevada
Nevada considers two types of custody when determining custody agreements: legal custody and physical custody. Under Nevada public policy, both parents are to remain an active part of their children’s lives. The distribution of custody, however, can vary depending on the circumstances of the involved parties. Physical custody, legal custody, and child support are all three deeply intertwined topics under family law. The distribution of physical custody influences a parent’s legal custody rights, which in turn helps to determine a parent’s child support obligation.
What Do Judges Look for in Child Custody Cases?
The primary determining factor in a child custody case is the best interests of the child. When deciding which custody situation is best for the child, the courts consider:
- The wishes of the child, if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form an appropriate preference as to their custody.
- Nominations by a parent or a guardian for the child.
- Which parent is more likely to allow the child to have frequent associations and a continuing relationship with the noncustodial parent, rather than alienating the other parent
- The level of conflict between the parents.
- The ability of the parents to cooperate to meet the needs of the child.
- The mental and physical health of the parents.
- The physical, developmental and emotional needs of the child.
- The nature of the relationship of the child with each parent.
- The ability of the child to maintain a relationship with any sibling.
- Any history of parental abuse or neglect of the child or a sibling of the child.
- Whether either parent or any other person seeking custody has engaged in an act of domestic violence against the child, a parent of the child, or any other person residing with the child.
- Whether either parent or any other person seeking custody has committed any act of abduction against the child or any other child.
Once a custody determination is made, the courts will calculate the appropriate amount of child support needed to provide for the needs of the child.
Understanding Child Support in Nevada
Child support is intended to provide for the financial needs of your child. Whether you are looking to collect child support to care for your children, or fighting an unfair child support determination in Nevada, Surratt Law Practice can help you ensure your children are receiving the appropriate amount of financial provisions.
There is a formula for calculating child support obligations in Nevada. Child custody designations, each parent’s gross monthly income (GMI), and a parent’s ability to pay are all important factors in formulating child support.
Gross Monthly Income
A person’s gross monthly income calculation includes:
- Salary, wages, alimony, child care subsidy payments, and compensation for lost wages.
- Interest and investment income
- Unemployment insurance, social security disability benefits and old-age insurance benefits under federal law.
- Periodic payments from a pension, retirement plan or annuity which is considered remuneration for employment.
- Net proceeds resulting from workers’ compensation or other personal injury awards
- Voluntary contributions to a deferred compensation plan, employee contributions to an employee benefit or profit-sharing plan, and voluntary employee contributions to any pension or retirement account
- Military allowances and veterans’ benefits
A gross monthly income calculation does not include child support received, foster care payments, cash benefits paid by a county, SSI benefits or state supplemental benefits, or public assistance benefits.
In addition to considering your gross monthly income, the courts will consider any special circumstances that qualify as adjustments to a child support determination. These include childcare obligations, medical insurance, special education/special needs, child support obligations paid to other parties, the value of services contributed by either parent, transportation costs for visitation, total household income, and the obligor’s ability to pay.
Third Party Rights in Nevada
The courts may grant third-party visitation rights under special circumstances in Nevada. Typically, third-party rights are sought when grandparents, other relatives, or any third party who has spent significant time with the child wish to have visitation rights to a minor child. This usually occurs when the parental rights of one parent have been terminated, or a parent has passed away. In these cases, the custodial parent may restrict or withhold visitation from grandparents or other relatives. Under these circumstances, a court order may be filed to grant visitation rights to the third party. Prior to reviewing the documentation, the court will typically take the default stance that the parent is restricting visitation in the best interests of the child. This means that the third party must prove that fostering the relationship is what is best for the child in question. In making a determination, the courts will review the evidence and consider existing relationships the child has built with the third party.
“I can’t say enough great things about this practice! I have been working with them on a drawn out custody case for five years, and Travis Clark has just been the best! He is honest, understanding, involved, responsive, and sensitive during these difficult long years. In fact the whole team there is outstanding. They have become like family, and are always there when I need them and their legal advice. I recommend everyone to them, and have had others thank me as they have equally loved them and had success. I trust them and wouldn’t want anyone else by my side!”
FAQs About Child Custody and Support in Nevada
There are no laws or policies in place in Nevada that favor one parent over the other based on sex or gender. Instead, determinations are based on the child’s best interests, which is impacted by factors such as a history of child abuse or neglect, a parent’s mental or physical health and ability, substance abuse, third-party recommendations, stability, and, in some cases, the child’s wishes. However, it isn’t uncommon for mothers to obtain primary custody more frequently than fathers in Nevada. Retaining a child custody lawyer can help you to protect your parenting rights and ensure a fair evaluation is made regarding child support obligations.
For a parent to be considered unfit, they must be incapable of providing proper care, support, or guidance due to a consequence of their own habit, fault, or behavior toward their child. This can include child abuse or neglect, substance abuse, exposure to unsafe environments, or other behaviors that would endanger or harm the child.
Yes. In cases where there is ample evidence that supports a parent’s claim of a significant change to their circumstances, or circumstances that affect the child, a child custody or support order can be modified. These circumstances include new disabilities or diagnoses, a recent conviction of a crime, unforeseen relocation, and changes in employment. Other special circumstances may apply. A child support attorney can help you determine whether your existing agreements need modification based on new circumstances.