Getting Primary Custody in Nevada

Getting Primary Custody in Nevada

It’s an unfortunate fact that a lot of relationships will eventually end at some point. While there are still plenty of people who have been with their partners for decades, there are even more relationships that only last a few years. While splitting up is hard enough, especially if you have been together for a while, when there are children involved the whole situation becomes even more traumatic for everyone involved.

In most people it is a natural instinct to try and protect their children. When that parent/child bond is threatened, literally by anything, sometimes that animal brain will take over and we will fight to our last breath for our right to be a part of our children’s lives.

Getting primary custody in Nevada is much less common than one would think as well. Even the worst parents will fight a custody case tooth and nail when their relationship with their kids is threatened. This makes custody cases some of the most highly contested court procedures in Nevada.

Before we delve into just what you will have to do to get primary custody, we need to look at just what primary custody means, as well as the different types of custody that are defined by Nevada law.

Custody and its Definition in Nevada

In Nevada, there are two main types of child custody called physical and legal custody. Most non-legal types will refer to custody and mean the physical custody of the child. Meaning if you have physical custody, you have the physical presence of the child with you, and you are responsible for the child’s care and wellbeing.

If you have legal custody of the child, then you have a say in all the important matters that relate to that child. This means that a parent with legal custody can determine where the child goes to school, what doctors and other health care specialists they see, and most importantly in what geographic location the child lives.

You can do your own research on Nevada statutes regarding child custody, defined by NRS Chapter 125A, and 125C. However, for the sake of this post, we will continue by explaining just how both types of custody can be shared by the parents, and what sort of situations would call for a single parent being granted primary custody of a child.

Joint or Shared Custody

When it comes to both legal and physical custody in Nevada, it is possible for both parents to equally share custody of a child. In this case, having “shared” custody is defined as “joint custody.”

  • Joint Physical Custody. Joint physical custody is when each parent has the physical presence of the child in their custody for at least 40 percent of the time. Most Nevada joint custody arrangements are on a week on, week off custody schedule. This is when each parent has physical custody of the child for one week, then the child goes to the other parent’s house for a week. However, there are many different joint physical custody arrangements that follow a much different schedule.
  • Joint Legal Custody. Sharing legal custody of a child is a bit more complex than physical custody. Since both parents equally share in the decision-making process of where the child will attend school, doctors and treatments, as well as extracurricular activities the child may participate in, there must be a level of cooperation between them. One of the most important aspects of a joint legal custody arrangement is that neither parent can legally take the child out of state, without the written permission from the other parent.

Some Criteria for Getting Primary Custody in Nevada

Primary physical custody means that one parent will have the child in their physical presence the majority of the time. In most primary physical custody arrangements, the non-primary custodian will have what’s called “reasonable rights of visitation.” This means that even though one parent has primary physical custody, the other parent will have a set visitation schedule that must be adhered to by the primary custodian.

In most cases of primary physical custody, the non-primary custodian will still have joint legal custody. This means that even if a parent doesn’t have physical custody, they will still have a say in the important matters regarding the child.

When it comes to establishing a custody order, family courts in Nevada will adhere to making ruling based on the best interests of the child. So, in a case of ruling that one parent will have primary physical custody in a contested matter, that parent must present evidence that shows it would not be in the best interest of the child that the other parent has physical custody. Without this evidence a family court judge will be very unlikely to grant primary custody to a parent in a contested matter.

In Nevada it is the legal preference that both parents equally share physical and legal custody. This way the child has both parents in their lives. In fact, after a separation between parents, it is then presumed that the two parents have joint physical and legal custody, until a court order says otherwise.


If you have found yourself involved in a custody matter, having an experienced custody lawyer representing you is the only way that you can ensure your relationship with your child will be safe. Our children are by far the most important relationships we will ever have, and if that relationship is threatened, you need the very best attorney on your side.

Here at Justice Law Center, we have been fighting for the rights of Nevada parents for over 25 years, and we will fight for you. We offer free consultations so that we can discuss your case in detail before you even must pay anything.

Call us today.


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