Emergency Child Custody Orders in Nevada: When Can You Get One?

Under Nevada law, judges have authority to issue many different types of court orders relating to child custody. All custody matters are subject to requirements established in state statutes. A specific law governs the authority of a court to issue an emergency child custody order. The circumstances that justify an emergency order are extremely limited.

Temporary Emergency Jurisdiction in Child Custody Cases

For most purposes, a Nevada court has jurisdiction over custody of a child only if Nevada is the child’s home state. To meet the requirement, the child must have lived in the state for the past six consecutive months or is a newborn less than six months old who has lived in the state since birth. However, there are exceptions to the home state rule, one of which relates to temporary emergency jurisdiction over a custody case under NRS 125A.335.

The law states that a Nevada court has temporary emergency jurisdiction “if the child is present in this state and the child has been abandoned or it is necessary in an emergency to protect the child because the child, or a sibling or parent of the child, is subjected to or threatened with mistreatment or abuse.” The term abandoned is defined in another section of custody law as “left without provision for reasonable and necessary care and supervision.”

The statutory requirements are very clear. For a court to exercise emergency jurisdiction in a custody case, an actual emergency must exist. To prove the emergency, the petitioning party must present evidence demonstrating to the court that a child has been abandoned or is in danger from actual or threatened abuse or mistreatment.

The law has additional provisions relating to the term of an emergency order, based on whether there is a previous or future custody determination in Nevada or another state. If there is a custody case in another state, the Nevada court communicates with the other court to resolve the emergency.

Getting an Emergency Custody Order

While the legal requirements for an emergency order may seem straightforward, a child custody matter is subject to extremely complex statutory provisions that the court must apply before awarding custody of a child under any circumstances. In an emergency proceeding, the burden of proof is on the petitioning party to prove that a situation is urgent and constitutes a true emergency that puts the child in danger.

Circumstances that constitute an emergency include those that put a child in physical danger, in the presence of illegal drug use or other criminal activity, at risk for inappropriate sexual conduct, and similar situations. If circumstances do not meet the emergency requirement, the judge will expect the parents to work through custody issues through a non-emergency process.

While a lawyer is not required to file a request for an emergency order, legal representation can substantially improve your chances of getting relief from the court. Retaining an attorney is especially important if the other party is likely to be represented by legal counsel.

An attorney also knows what type of evidence can convince a judge to issue an emergency order. Obtaining the evidence and presenting it in court requires knowledge of applicable laws and rules, as well as courtroom skills. Establishing the facts of the case on your own without legal representation is likely to be a challenging and stressful process.

A child custody lawyer also can help you accurately access the circumstances before you decide on the best strategy to address the situation you face. Many different types of court orders are available to address custody issues.

In some cases, your attorney may discuss the possibility of a restraining order to protect your child against threats of harm or suggest another type of custody request that can be made to the court. Your lawyer also can provide ongoing legal support for custody issues and related family law matters, such as divorce.

Talk With an Experienced Las Vegas Child Custody Lawyer

At The Gersten Law Firm, we assist clients with all matters relating to child custody, including emergency child custody orders. Experienced family law attorney Joseph Gersten understands the sensitivity and emotional aspects of child custody for parents. He approaches every family law case with compassion and understanding, as well as dedication to protecting the interests and rights of the client.

The Gersten Law Firm does not charge for your initial consultation. We serve clients in Las Vegas, Henderson, and elsewhere in Clark County. Call us at 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.

Categories: Nevada Family Law