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Child Custody Attorneys in Reno, NV

Reno's Top Child Custody Lawyers

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.

Don’t go through it alone. We will carefully listen to your concerns, and your goals and put together a plan of attack.

Call today to schedule to speak to one of our top family law attorneys. Carlson & Work is Northern Nevada’s #1 rated and reviewed family law firm.

Speak with an Attorney Now!

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Need a Nevada Custody Lawyer? We Can Help

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.

Carlson & Work can assist parties who wish to receive an order from the Court determining child custody, visitation, and child support.  Courts will determine both legal and physical custody of the children during a child custody litigation. The primary basis that a Family Court Judge will consider to determine child custody is the Best Interest Factors found in NRS 125. At Carlson & Work, we have delivered positive results to hundreds of parents who needed their stories told and their circumstances listed. If you need an aggressive and dedicated family law and child custody attorney by your side. Trust in our experience and reputation to deliver the best outcomes for you and your family. 

To find out how Carlson & Work can assist you with your divorce, you can call them at 775-386-2226 and schedule an initial consultation. Carlson & Work helps people from Sparks, Reno, and other nearby areas in Nevada.

WHAT FACTORS DO THE COURT CONSIDER FOR CHILD CUSTODY?

When a court is facing a child custody case, there are several factors that a judge considers to make his decision.

  • 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.

Client Testimonials

Carlson & Work
Excellent
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Based on 170 reviews
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Jorge
I recently had the opportunity to work with Carlson & Work for my divorce proceedings, and I must say, their team exceeded all my expectations. From the very first consultation, it was clear that they were not just exceptionally professional but also genuinely compassionate and understanding. Going through a divorce can be an emotionally taxing experience, but the kindness and patience demonstrated by everyone at Carlson & Work made a world of difference. They took the time to thoroughly understand my situation, providing not just legal advive but also a level of emotional support that was deeply appreciated.
Brian C.
These are real people that know the ins and outs of the legal system to put families and regular people like me at ease. It’s effortless to be professional in this occupation, it’s harder to be personal, and Carlson & Work provide just that- legal knowledge and care for a community. Thanks Team, it’s forever appreciated.
Response from the owner: Thank you so much, Brian!
Oscar D.
Carlson & Work treat their clients, como familia. Their thoughtful approach of bringing complex issues to ease, is more than appreciated.
Response from the owner: Thank you, Mr. Delgado!
Alexander W.
If I could give 6 stars I would! I’m very grateful for the help I received from Carlson & Work. I appreciate their attention to detail and willingness to listen to what I expected and needed. I will definitely use them again. Great work from a local firm!!!!
Response from the owner: Thank you for the awesome review!
Casey G.
Great firm! Great lawyers!! You won’t go wrong hiring Carlson and Work!
Response from the owner: Much appreciated!
EMILIO PEÑA R.
Carlson & Work is the team you need in your corner! Amazing experience end to end.
Response from the owner: Thanks for choosing our team!
Pablo Emilio Mendoza R.
No one wants to deal with an ugly legal case but if you have to, this is the team you need!
Response from the owner: Thank you, Pablo. It’s an honor.
Emilio M.
Mathew and his team handled my case with class and determination. I would highly suggest reaching out if you're in Reno looking for a top notch team.
Response from the owner: Thanks so much!
ESTRADA NU?EZ A.
Was told my criminal case was unbeatable. Thankfully, IDidn't listen and called Attorney Work.
Response from the owner: Thank you for giving us a call!
ARJAN ESTRADA N.
In a small town like Reno, it's hard to find a team of attorneys as skilled and that which would rival a major market firm, Carlson & Work is the exception.
Response from the owner: Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
スロー
There's Carlson & Work, then the rest. They're just not in the same league.
Response from the owner: ❤️❤️❤️
NOE SANTOS C.
Mathew and his team are stand up, honest and humble law professionals. I never felt spoken down to, not listened to or worried about communication. They are the best in the game!
Response from the owner: Thank you so much! We work hard for great family law outcomes!
Hugo O.
Five stars doesn't come close to how much I owe Rebekah, but I would proudly recommend her to any friends or family looking for a fantastic family law attorney.
Flavio G.
No one wants to need an attorney, but if you ever do, this is your place! A+ employees and process.
Michel M.
The entire team was patient, thoughtful and kind throughout a very difficult case. I was represented by Kathleen, she was honest and fair throughout the whole process.
daniela G.
Without a doubt, the best law firm in Nevada. Plain and simple.
Kimberly A.
Carlson and Work is absolutely top notch in everything they do, communication, preparation, honesty, everything about the way they operate their firm is top flight and refreshing. If you’re in a bind, give the a ring!
Fer A.
If you need someone in your corner, during the most challenging parts of your life, Mathew Work is the kind of guy you hope to have in your foxhole with you. He will fight tooth and nail for you like family and speak to you with bluntness lost in these times. He is simply the best.
Ana A.
I can’t thank Mathew, Rebecca and the team for everything they have accomplished in such a short amount of time, in a couple months, I went from hopeless to so hopeful about what my future and my family’s future holds!
Jacqueline
I had the opportunity to work with Rebecca Carlson and Nichole in my custody case. They were compassionate, professional, and always told me how it was, even when the news was difficult. I really respect their humble approach to dealing with clients and their willingness to explain things multiple times to make sure I understood exactly what was happening throughout the entire process of my Litigation, if you’re in a bind, these are your people!
Saira M.
The entire team at Carlson Work was communicative, kind, and very honest throughout my entire time with them. I was represented by a previous firm, and this firm was able to accomplish in four months with the other firm, couldn’t accomplish in nearly 2 years regarding my custody case five stars isn’t enough to express my gratitude to the team.
STEPHANY JACQUELINE SÁNCHEZ M.
Carlson & Work is made up of kind people with hearts of gold who are willing to go to battle for their clients! I am so grateful they still build business on principles!
SAMPEDRO HOYOS NOE R.
Kathleen fought for my family like she was part of it. I'll never forget the life changing impact attorney Mangan has made for the health and well being of my children.
Marco Antonio Zepeda G.
If you're dealing with family law stuff, you've got to check out Rebecca and her team at Carlson & Work. They really know their stuff and they get how tough these situations can be. Rebecca is super understanding and makes you feel like you're not just another case. Her team is all about making things clear and less overwhelming for you. They're really supportive and make a hard process a bit easier to handle. Seriously, for anything family law-related, Rebecca and her crew are the people you want on your side. They're awesome.
Paul A.
Matthew Work is a lawyer who's not just great at his job, but he's also super kind-hearted. He really listens and cares, making you feel supported and not just like another case. It's like talking to a friend who knows all about law. He makes the whole legal thing feel less scary and more human. It's awesome to have a lawyer who's not only smart but also genuinely cares about you.
Response from the owner: Thanks so much for the kind words.
MENDOZA OSEGUERA SAYURI Y.
The entire support staff was on top of communication and made working with the attorneys streamline. I really appreciated that I was always kept up to speed and given option to collaborate with the progress of the case. I can’t recommend this team enough. Five stars.
diana marlene salas S.
I was referring to Mathew Work for an injury case by my Barber, he was all the hype and more. Down to earth guy and spoke to me like a human throughout the process. Very happy with my settlement and the way my case was managed by Mathew.
Argut S.
I went through a very long child custody battle with Rebecca. She never gave up on me, never lost hope, and in the end I was awarded primary physical custody. Thanks to her hard work.
Kimberly C.
I am extremely pleased with the firm's handling of my case. Their expertise and support throughout the process were invaluable. Everything was conducted in a timely and professional manner. The outcome exceeded my expectations, and I highly recommend their services to anyone facing similar legal challenges.
Response from the owner: Thank you so much for the kind words! We greatly appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day.
Emmanuel G.
Five. Stars! This law firm is one of the best businesses and group of professionals I've ever worked with. Look no further it doesn't get better in Reno.
Response from the owner: Mr. Garcia, thank you for taking the time to share this. It means a ton to us.
jessica ramirez R.
Mathew and Lauren were the two attorneys I interfaced with during my case. They were both patient, dynamic and honest. They set expectations and kept me up to speed throughout the entire court process.
Response from the owner: Thank you Jessica! We agree, Lauren is an amazingly hardworking attorney.
EDWARDO “CK” H.
I can’t think you all enough. You were patient, kind, dedicated for the last six months, and we finally achieved the results. We set out too. If you’re like me and looking for honest and aggressive, legal assistance, this is your team.
Response from the owner: Thanks Ed! We are thankful for you.
Abbie
Mathew and his team were incredible to work with. Obviously, anytime you’re working with an attorney. It can be otherwise stressful but somehow this team makes it very stress-free and personal.
Response from the owner: Thans Abbie! We do our best to do what's right for our clients! Thank you for taking the time to share your kind words.
Eren S.
I've got to give some real talk about my attorney, Mathew. At first, he might come off a bit rough around the edges, and I won't lie, it took me a minute to get used to it. But, as time went on, I started to truly appreciate that side of him. It's like his no-nonsense approach is actually one of his strengths. He cuts through the fluff, gets down to business, and genuinely has your back. Weirdly enough, I've come to love that about him. If you want someone straightforward and fiercely on your side, Mathew's the real deal.
Response from the owner: Thank you so much for the kind words and taking the time to share this!
Louis D.
I've got to share about my experience with my custody attorney, Lauren. Going through a custody battle is never easy, but Lauren was a true anchor throughout. She didn't just feed me legal jargon or false promises. She was honest from the get-go, even when the truth was hard to swallow. And you know how sometimes it feels like you're in the dark with legal stuff? Not with Lauren. She made sure I was always in the loop and understood each step. It felt like I had a friend guiding me, someone genuinely on my side. If you're diving into the maze of custody battles and need a steady hand, Lauren is the one you'd want by your side. She's been a godsend.
Response from the owner: We agree, Lauren ROCKS!
Alessandro S.
Had to write this about Mathew Work – he's such a breath of fresh air in the legal world. I've met lawyers before, but none as approachable and genuine as him. The whole time we worked together, he kept things real and was straight-up honest, no sugarcoating. It felt like having a knowledgeable friend on my side, guiding me through everything. If you're looking for someone down-to-earth and trustworthy, Mathew's your guy. So glad I found him.
Response from the owner: Mr. Work.. WORKS really hard to help all his clients. Thank you!
Welen E.
Lauren Driscoll stands out as an exemplary attorney in the realm of family law. Her intelligence and keen understanding of the intricacies of the legal system are commendable. More than her vast knowledge, it’s the way she took the time to meticulously explain the family law process to me that left a lasting impression. With Lauren, I felt informed, empowered, and confident at every turn. I can’t express enough gratitude for her guidance and support throughout the entire process. Highly recommended!
Response from the owner: Isn't she great! We are very grateful for your kind words.
Toby H.
Rebecca Carlson is an exceptional attorney. Her aggressive approach ensured we were always a step ahead, and her meticulous preparation before trial was evident. Meeting with Rebecca to discuss questions was invaluable; it not only showcased her commitment but also significantly eased my nerves. Truly grateful for her unparalleled dedication and expertise. Don’t wait, call this girl today!
Response from the owner: We couldn't agree more, Rebecca is one of the hardest working women you will ever meet. Thank you for recognizing her hard work.
Zhang A.
Rebecca was absolutely spectacular throughout my case. She exceeded at preparatory efforts and I felt reassured knowing what was coming next. What a pleasant surprise working with lawyers! Five stars!!!
Response from the owner: Thank you so much for your amazing review!
SOLIS CAMACHO MARIO A.
I was referred to Rebecca by a close friend, who had similar positive results. She is an absolute force to be reckoned with. Five stars!Thanks Becca!
Response from the owner: Thank you for the awesome review! We appreciate you!
Maria M.
Rebecca is an amazing lawyer who really gets it. She took the time to listen to all my custody concerns, showing she truly cared. Not only did she understand what I was going through, but she also worked wonders in court. Thanks to her, we got great results. It felt like having a friend in my corner who also happens to be a legal whiz!
Response from the owner: We always work hard to try to understand our clients at a personal level. Thank you for seeing that quality in us and sharing your opinion!
omar O.
What sets Mathew Work apart is not only his legal acumen but also his dedication to achieving the best possible outcome for his clients. He fought tirelessly on my behalf, and the results exceeded my expectations.If you're in search of an attorney who combines expertise, compassion, and an unwavering commitment to your case, I wholeheartedly recommend Mathew Work. He is a true advocate for justice, and I am grateful to have had him by my side.Thank you, Mathew , for your outstanding legal representation and for making a positive impact on my life.
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Nevada Custody Laws

Child Custody Laws in Nevada focus heavily on the best interest of your child. Reno family law courts will consider many factors when determining the child custody that is best for your child. The best interest factors found under NRS 125(c) will serve as a guiding light to assist the court in determining child support and child custody. One of the courts biggest concerns will be which parent displays the tools to best support the emotional and physical needs of their child as well as which parent is the most willing to work with their former spouse to put their child’s needs first.

Under Nevada law, there are two types of child custody a court will consider (1) Legal Custody and (2) Physical Custody. When you meet with one of Carlson & Work’s experienced child custody lawyers, we will formulate a plan of attack to achieve your child custody and visitation goals.

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

In addition, legal custody pertains to major life decisions surrounding the children such as medical or educational choices. Parents typically share joint legal custody of children even if one parent sees the children more often than the other, but sometimes the Court will award sole legal custody to a parent based on certain circumstances. When parents ordered to share legal custody have a dispute about a decision regarding their children, parents can ask the Court to decide in their favor.

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.

In Nevada law, 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 family law and custody lawyers can assist in is determining (1) the schooling of their child including where the child attends, (2) the religion of their child, and where the child attends (3) any medical decisions as they relate to your child. 

For more information, read our related article that explains how physical and legal custody are different in Nevada

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.

Physical custody relates to determining the schedule in which the children visit with each parent.  Physical custody and visitation in Nevada are determined by the Nevada Best Interest Factors.  

In Nevada law, 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. 

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 decisions.

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. about their child, and further, have to consult with one another regarding these major decision.

How Child Custody is Determined in Nevada

When a court is facing a child custody case, there are several factors that a judge considers to make his decision. Ultimately, the judge will decide based on whatever is in the “best interest” of the children. At Carlson & Work, our qualified family law attorneys can help prepare you for your child custody case.

Best Interest of the Child

The best interest of the child refers to the judge’s process of deciding which parent is best fit to take care of the child and which custody arrangement will benefit the child the most. The best interest of the child standard is meant to protect the well-being of the child.

Primary Factors Considered for Child Custody

While the court considers many factors when deciding a child custody case, some of the main factors that are looked at include:

  • The age of the children: judges tend to give the mother custody of younger children.
  • The living situation of each parent: the parent who stays in the family home is more likely to get custody of their children.
  • The willingness of each parent to support the other’s relationship with the children.
  • The relationship between the children and each parent prior to the divorce.
  • The children’s preferences:
  • The ability of each parent to provide continuity and stability to the children’s life.
  • Any history of abuse or neglect by either parent.
  • The parent’s ability to provide for the children’s physical, emotional, and medical needs.
  • The mental and physical health of both the parents and the children.

Nevada Child Custody Law FAQs

Child custody battles can be complex and emotionally challenging. An experienced attorney specializing in family law understands the intricacies of child custody laws and has extensive knowledge of relevant legal processes. They can guide you through the legal system, explain your rights, and provide sound legal advice tailored to your specific situation. 

An experienced child custody attorney can assess your case, gather necessary evidence, and effectively present your side of the custody dispute. They can assist in obtaining relevant documentation, such as financial records or character references, and develop a strong argument to support your desired custody arrangement.

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.

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.

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).

Yes, in Nevada 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

In Nevada, there are consequences for child custody order violations.  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

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