Child Custody in Nevada

Child Custody can be complicated and highly emotional. If you are experiencing a divorce, separation or were never married, we can assist you in getting a court order to protect your custody rights and access to your children. 

The legal terminology used for child custody is often confusing. Although many people have a general understanding of the meaning of child custody, not everyone knows the difference between legal custody and actual custody.

If you do not have a complete and comprehensive written understanding of the contents of the child custody agreement, many entanglements may occur. It is why you should always consult with a lawyer who practices child custody law in Nevada and knows how to ensure that you are adequately represented, and your rights are fully protected.  Our team of attorneys has 20+ years of family law experience from highly complex, contested custody cases to mutually agreed upon custody arrangements.

Not sure what to do? Consult with an attorney.

Call our team at (702) 318-5060

How is child custody determined in Nevada?


Physical Custody is where the child spends his/her time and Legal Custody refers to who carries the basic responsibility for the child, ability to access information, and make major decisions regarding the child (school, healthcare, religion).

The standard in Nevada is for parents to share joint physical & legal custody. Joint Physical Custody expects that each parent will have the kids at least 40% of the time. If one parent will have the kids more than 60% of the time, they may be granted Primary Physical Custody, giving the other parent visitation. Judges do not order Sole Legal or Physical Custody often, although it is certainly a possibility.

Related Article: Cannabis or Custody?

Can I get a child custody order modified in Nevada?

First things first, you need to make sure that the Nevada courts have jurisdiction for your custody case. It will be expected that the child(ren) involved in the custody proceedings will have lived in Nevada for at least six months prior to any court case being initiated.  However, Nevada can exercise jurisdiction if the court in another state determines that:

  1. It no longer has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction (NRS 125A.315)
  2. That a Nevada court is a better forum (NRS 125A.365);
  3. A court of this state or a court of the other state determines that the child(ren), the parents and any person acting as a parent no longer reside in the other state.

Even if none of the above are applicable, Nevada can take jurisdiction in cases of an emergency, such as abandonment or or abuse, in order to protect the child(ren). Emergency jurisdiction is often temporary, but can become permanent given the right circumstances (for example, no other state has jurisdiction). NRS 125A.335


Parents automatically have joint legal & physical custody rights to a child unless a court orders otherwise.

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Child Custody: Best Interest Factors

Jones & LoBello will advise you in advance as to the potential pitfalls and perils that you face, and will utilize our years of experience in the field of Family Law to protect your child's best interest.

Child Custody | Social Media

These are the factors that Nevada courts address when evaluating the best interest of the child:

    • The wishes of the child if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to express an intelligent preference;
    • Any nomination by a parent or a guardian for the child;
    • Which parent is more likely to allow the child to have frequent associations and a continuing relationship with the noncustodial parent;
    • The level of conflict between the parties;
    • The ability of the parents to cooperate to meet the child’s needs;
    • The mental and physical health of the parents;
    • The nature of the relationship of the child with each parent;
    • The physical, developmental and emotional needs of the child;
    • The nature of the relationship of the child with each parent;
    • The ability of the child to maintain a relationship with any sibling;
    • Any history of parental abuse or neglect of the child or a sibling;
    • Whether a parent has committed an act of domestic violence against the child, parent of the child, or person residing with the child;
    • Whether the parent has committed an act of abduction against the child or a sibling.

Reference: NRS 125C.0035

Do Nevada courts favor the mother or the father when determining Custody?

Nevada courts prefer that custody arrangements are joint between the mother and the father, with no preference to either based solely on that role. Child Custody is a decisions require the court to look a Nevada law and what it considers the Best Interest Factors for the child(ren).

Custody and Relocation

It is not uncommon for one parent to want to move to another city or even state with the children.  In situations where the physical distance of the move would be substantial and thereby limit the opportunity for parents to share joint physical custody, the relocating parent has the burden of showing that the move is being made in good faith and based on legitimate grounds (i.e. not for the purposes of taking away custodial time from the other parent or to obtain a more favorable child support order).

When making a decision on a relocation request, the court will consider the same factors outlined in the best-interests standard.  More specifically, the court will weigh whether the relocation is likely to improve the quality of life for the child and whether there will be a realistic opportunity for the non-relocating parent to maintain a beneficial relationship with the child if the relocation is granted.

Source: NRS 125C.007


Related Article: Relocation Requests in Nevada

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Seminar for Separating Parents

Parents going through a divorce or separation are expected to complete the Seminar for Separating Parents. The objective of the course is to minimize the effects of the divorce or separation on the children and to learn how to work with each other when parenting for the ultimate benefit of the children.  The Seminar is available in-person or online, in both English and in Spanish.

Related Articles: Effective Co-Parenting through Our Family Wizard

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