Establishing Child Custody in Nevada with a Petition

Petition to Establish Child Custody in Reno, NV

What is a Petition to Establish Child Custody?

When unmarried parents wish to officially determine the custody of their child through the court, they can file a petition to establish child custody. A petition to establish child custody is only used when the parents of the child are not married. Nevada law requires that the children in a petition to establish a child custody case must have lived in Nevada for the past six months before the judge can rule on any orders regarding custody of the child. In order to file a petition to establish child custody a parent must complete the following items:

I. Family Court Cover Sheet

A family court cover sheet is required for any petition to establish child custody. In this form, the parent will list general information about themselves, their child, and the other parent. The court will review this information when the case is filed.

II. Summons Form

A summons form is required to be filled out in order to inform the Defendant (the other parent) that you have filed for custody.

III. Complaint for Custody

A complaint for custody is the official form where the Plaintiff (the parent filing the complaint) will disclose what custody orders they would like the judge to grant. These orders include:

IV. File the Paperwork

The Plaintiff must file the completed family court cover sheet, summons, and complaint for custody through the court either by mail or online. Once the complaint for custody has been filed, the Defendant can respond to this complaint with an answer and counterclaim, where he or she can disclose the orders they or would like the judge to grant.

V. Serve the Defendant  

A copy of all paperwork that was filed through the court must be served to the Defendant in order to ensure that the Defendant receives the forms and has an opportunity to reply to the complaint. The paperwork must be hand-delivered to the Defendant by a neutral third person.

Once these steps have been completed, a judge will most likely schedule multiple hearings to arrange orders on the child’s custody. If the parents are unable to come to an agreement on the case during the hearings, the judge will set a trial. A judge will award custody based on the best interest of the children.

If you are an unmarried parent seeking assistance in attaining custody of your child, call Carlson & Work of Reno, Nevada at 775-386-2226. Our experienced family law attorneys can help simplify the process and guide you through your custody proceedings.


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