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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 are the Best Interest Factors found in NRS 125. At Carlson & Work, we have delivered positive results to hundreds of parents who needed their story told and their circumstances listed to. 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.

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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 forms of custody a court will consider (1) Legal Custody and (2) Physical Custody. When you meet with one of Carlson & Work’s experienced family law attorneys, 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

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 what 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

It is not necessary to have a Reno child custody lawyer in a custody case but having a lawyer can give you the advantage of giving proper legal advice which can turn the case in your favor. Not having any legal background can be detrimental to presenting your case in the court of law.

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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