Navigating Nevada custody laws can be intimidating, but it's vital to understand what it means to have legal custody of a child if you're a parent going through a custody dispute. In today's blog, we break down the legal code you need to know about to understand how custody works in our state.
What's the Goal of Custody in Nevada?
Nevada Revised Statute ("NRS") § 125C.001 (1) provides that the goal in the State of Nevada is "[t]o 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[.]" NRS § 125C.001 (2) goes on to state that the Court should "encourage such parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing[.]"
NRS § 125C.0015 provides that absent an Order that "each parent has joint legal custody and joint physical custody of the child[.]" NRS § 125C.002 (b) provides that there is a presumption that joint legal custody is in the child's best interest if "[a] parent has demonstrated, or has attempted to demonstrate but has had his or her efforts frustrated by the other parent, an intent to establish a meaningful relationship with the minor child."
Furthermore, in Rivero v. Rivero, 125 Nev. 410, 216 P.3d 213 (2009), the Nevada Supreme Court confirmed that joint legal custody involves major decision making for a child with the big decisions being "the child's health, education, and religious upbringing." This requires that parents be able to "cooperate, communicate, and compromise to act in the best interest of the child." Id. citing Mosely v. Figliuzzi, 113 Nev. 51, 60-61, 930 P.2d 1110, 1116 (1997).
A very general overview of legal custody includes, but is not limited to:
- The doctor who will provide treatment for a child;
- Scheduling and notifying of medical appointments;
- Whether or not to enroll the minor child in daycare;
- Follow up after medical appointments;
- Sharing of address, telephone number, and email addresses;
- Notifying the other parent of a change in address, telephone number, and email address;
- Notifying the other parent if the child is staying outside the home (i.e., sleepover, Grandma's house, etc.);
- Changes to the child's physical appearance;
- Where the child will attend school;
- Obtaining school information;
- Sharing school information that comes home and is not readily available through the classroom apps or the school's portal (i.e., parent notifications of activities is usually a big one- Donuts with Dads, Muffins with Mom, picture day, etc.).
We want to be clear that this list is not all-inclusive. There are a lot of components to joint legal custody. The notification components do not give rise to the ability to object unless a specific Court Orders address the issue (an example might be the sleepover provision). Rather, it is about having information related to where the minor child will be located at any given timeframe.
In the event of an Order from the Court, it is important to understand the language contained in the Order and follow the Order of the Court. The failure to follow the Court Order may result in contempt of Court, which is punishable, per violation, by any combination of up to twenty-five (25) days in jail, a fine of $500.00 and/or attorney fees and costs. Moreover, violations of a Court Order if habitual or extreme may negatively impact the ability to make future legal custody decisions and/or physical custody Orders.