When a child’s parents are divorced or are no longer in a relationship with one another, decisions will have to be made regarding child custody. It is important that, absent abuse or neglect, a child should be given the opportunity to form a meaningful relationship with both of his or her parents. For this reason, there is a presumption under Nevada family law that joint custody is in the child’s best interest.
However, in any custody determination, the court’s primary consideration will be the best interests of the child. In determining what these interests are, the court will consider several factors. One factor is whether the child will be able to stay in touch with his or her siblings. Each parent’s health may be considered. The child’s emotional and physical needs are another factor. The child’s current relationship with both of his or her parents is another factor. Each parent’s propensity to allow the other parent to have a relationship with the child may also be considered.
The extent of conflict that exists between each of the child’s parents may also be considered. Whether a parent has abducted the child is another factor. Finally, whether abuse has been committed in the past will also be considered.
When it comes to the child’s wishes, there is no statutory age in Nevada at which these wishes will be considered. Instead, the judge has the discretion to determine whether the child has the intelligence and maturity to express an opinion regarding custody.
Child custody decisions can be very emotional. After all, it is only natural that both parents want to spend a sufficient amount of time with their child post-divorce. However, the child’s interests must come first, and parents must understand that it is likely there will be times when the child is not in their care. Because these decisions are so important, it can help to first obtain legal advice, to better understand how Nevada law will apply to your child custody case.