Las Vegas Child Custody Lawyer

Experienced Family Law Attorney in Clark County, Nevada

When a marriage or domestic partnership ends, child custody often poses difficult questions. Sometimes a change in circumstances necessitates modification of a court order or prior agreement as well. Custody disagreements arise in other situations too.

Nevada’s statutes include numerous complex provisions that set criteria and standards for custody of children in the state. The Gersten Law Firm helps you navigate through your custody concerns and issues in any circumstances. With substantial experience in family law matters and an investigative background, Attorney Joseph Gersten uses his analytical and courtroom skills to ensure that your interests are fully protected. Your initial consultation is always free-of-charge.

Nevada Child Custody Laws

Nevada custody statutes include several uniform laws that also are in effect in other states, including the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. In many respects, our state law is similar to custody law in other states.

Nevada Child Custody and Visitation laws, found in Chapter 125C of the Nevada Revised Statutes, contain extensive and detailed provisions. The laws establish rules and guidance for court decisions involving custody disagreements.

The statutes begin with a declaration of state policy on the matter of custody and visitation, which sets the following goals:

1.  To ensure that minor children have frequent associations and a continuing relationship with both parents after the parents have ended their relationship, become separated or dissolved their marriage;
2.  To encourage such parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing; and
3.  To establish that such parents have an equivalent duty to provide their minor children with necessary maintenance, health care, education and financial support.

The law clarifies that the term “equivalent” in item #3 should not be interpreted to mean that both parents are required to provide equal amounts of financial support.

Physical Custody and Legal Custody

Like many other states, Nevada distinguishes between physical custody and legal custody of children. Physical custody involves decisions about where the child lives. Legal custody relates to a parent’s right to make important decisions about matters affecting the child, such as schooling, religion, and medical treatment.

In the absence of a court order relating to custody of a child, parents automatically have joint physical custody and joint legal custody under Nevada law. There are two ways to alter joint custody: by mutual agreement of the parents or by order of a court.

In determining physical and legal custody, the law requires a Nevada court to base its decision on what arrangement is in the best interests of the child. The statute contains specific criteria for the court to use in deciding whether joint physical custody and joint legal custody are in the child’s best interests. A court can order arrangements other than joint custody only if the court makes specific determinations under the law, if both parents mutually agree, or if the child was conceived as the result of a sexual assault.

Resolving Child Custody Disagreements

Regardless of the circumstances giving rise to a custody disagreement, reaching a mutual agreement is the best way to resolve the issues. Sometimes, agreement is difficult to achieve. In many cases, an experienced child custody attorney can help negotiate the terms of a parenting agreement.

In Clark County, if parents file a custody case because they cannot work out the issues on their own, mediation is usually required. The medication process provides parents the opportunity to work with assistance of a neutral third person to develop a parenting agreement. Mediation is not an attempt at reconciliation or counseling. It is an environment for parents to resolves their differences about custody.

Mediation can cover a wide range of issues, including:

  • Legal custody of the child
  • Physical custody of the child
  • Details of holiday and vacation allocations
  • Transportation and exchange details

Re-mediation also is available for parents who created an agreement in mediation previously.

When mediation efforts fail, the court resolves custody issues between the parents using the guiding principles in Nevada law. If your custody case goes to court, representation by experienced custody counsel is essential. Attempting to represent yourself is not in your best interest.

In the court proceeding, your lawyer protects your interests in many ways, including:

  • Identifying the specific statutory provisions that are in your favor, advocating them to the judge and in documents filed with the court;
  • Locating and introducing evidence that supports your position in the case;
  • Continuing to negotiate with the opposing party, in an effort to reach an agreement; and
  • Following all proper court procedures that apply to the case.

All of those tasks would be very difficult to accomplish on your own. In addition, your attorney will be familiar with local court practices and processes, which is a significant benefit in any legal proceeding.

Child Custody Orders

After a court issues a child custody order, compliance is required. Violating a Nevada child custody order is a category D felony, punishable by one (1) to four (4) years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Any violation of a custody order can result in a criminal charge. Common violations include:

  • Concealing or detaining a child, or removing a child from a parent's lawful custody
  • Depriving a parent of visitation rights
  • Removing a child from the court’s jurisdiction without the court’s or the other parent’s consent

If you have concerns or problems with a court custody order, do not violate it. Talk with a child custody attorney to explore your options for securing a resolution.

Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced Las Vegas Child Custody Attorney

If you face custody issues of any type in Las Vegas, Henderson, or elsewhere in Clark County, Las Vegas child custody attorney Joseph Gersten is here to help. Attorney Gersten approaches all family law matters with sensitivity and compassion. He understands the difficulty and emotional stress that accompanies any legal matter relating to children. He will evaluate your case based on his extensive experience and skill and protect your rights and interests.

The Gersten Law Firm also represents clients in criminal matters. If you have been charged with violating a child custody order, Attorney Gersten can defend you against the charge.

Your initial consultation is free-of-charge. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.