When a Court makes any determination of child custody or visitation, the Court’s goal is the best interest of child. In every divorce involving minor children, legal and physical custody must be defined. Legal custody is which parent has the right and responsibility to make parenting decisions; physical custody is whose custody the child will physically be placed with. Joint custody is considered to be all situations in which parents share a 60/40 or closer share.
If parents disagree about child custody or visitation, they typically are required to utilize the Court’s Family Mediation Center. The Family Mediation Center is a third party that will attempt to foster agreement on the issue, and attorneys are not usually involved at this stage. The goal of mediation is to develop a Parenting Plan which specifies legal custody, physical custody, and a visitation plan. Upon failure of mediation, the case may be referred to an outside professional, such as a therapist, for an assessment of the charges the spouses are making about the character and fitness of parenting. If all of the aforementioned steps fail, the Court can order an evidentiary hearing on the issue of child custody and visitation.
Child custody litigation can be between parents, neutral third parties like relatives, or foster parents. Nevada presumptively favors a natural parent prior to third parties, even if a better placement for the child may exist. This litigation is never truly final – it can be modified any time until the child has been emancipated.
Attorney Maryam Vasek is well versed in custody matters and is able to navigate even most difficult of custody battles.