Nevada Child Custody Laws

Get to know the child custody laws in Nevada

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Nevada child custody laws favor joint custody. In Nevada, the courts presume that joint custody—rather than sole custody—is in the best interests of the child. If you're planning to file for child custody in Nevada, you should first become familiar with the state's custody statutes. Here's a summary of what you need to know.

Nevada's Child Custody Laws

Whether you live in Nevada, or your children do, it's important to know what to expect before you file for child custody or walk into a courtroom. Generally speaking, family courts in Nevada determine child custody based solely on what is known as "the best interests of the child." But what exactly does this phrase mean? In the state of Nevada, the following factors (in no particular order) are evaluated as part of a best-interests child custody determination:

  • The child's ability to maintain contact with full or half siblings
  • The mental and physical health of both parents
  • The child's physical and emotional needs
  • Any documented or reported history of abuse 
  • The child's relationship with each parent
  • The level of conflict between the parents
  • Whether either parent has committed an act of abduction against the child or any other child
  • Each parent's willingness to encourage a relationship between the child and the other parent

The Child's Wishes and Child Custody in Nevada

Many parents wonder at what age their child will begin to have a say in child custody matters. In the state of Nevada, it is up to the judge to determine whether a child who wishes to express a preference is of sufficient intelligence and emotional maturity to participate in such a decision. In many states, the general threshold is approximately age 12. In Nevada, a judge may choose to allow a younger child to express an opinion (and fully consider it as an equally weighted factor) or may disregard a child's stated preference, regardless of his or her chronological age.

Child Custody's Impact on Child Support in Nevada

Nevada favors joint custody, which can also have an impact on child support determinations. In cases where the parents share equal parenting time, the courts may determine that neither parent shall be required to pay child support to the other parent.

Domestic Violence and Child Custody in Nevada

In Nevada, the court presumes that it is not in the best interests of the child to grant custody to a parent accused of domestic violence. During the evaluation process, the court will consider the following:

  • Any prior acts of domestic violence
  • The likelihood of future acts of violence
  • The severity of the injuries inflicted during any previous acts of domestic violence 

Modification of Child Custody in Nevada

If you've already been through a child custody hearing and lost, you may be wondering how soon the courts will consider a child custody modification. In the state of Nevada, the courts will modify or terminate a child custody order if and when it is determined that the current custody arrangement is not in the best interests of the child. 

For more information about child custody in Nevada, visit the Nevada Domestic Relations statute or speak with a qualified family law attorney in the state of Nevada.

Edited by Jennifer Wolf.