There is no one in this world that are more loved and valued than our children. When that bond is threatened, it can be one of the scariest things that we will ever experience in our lives.

Most often, whenever we find ourselves involved in a court case where the custody of our kids is at issue, we will do everything to fight for the right to be a parent.

While immediately seeking an experienced and talented custody lawyer is most likely the first thing most parents will do, sometimes folks will try to represent themselves in court. These parents may believe that lawyering up will make the case more contentious, or that maybe they think that they cannot afford a custody attorney.

Unfortunately, family court isn’t like a criminal proceeding. In a custody case, just because you cannot afford representation, does not mean you will be provided a lawyer, as it does in a criminal case. Yup, you read that right. Someone being charged with a crime will almost always be appointed a public defender, but a mom or dad fighting for the right to have custody of their children, often must pay for a lawyer.

Whether or not you plan on representing yourself or hiring one of our expert custody lawyers here at Justice Law Center, it is important that you know how custody is defined in Nevada, and just what those definitions actually mean.

Physical and Legal Custody and their Meanings

There are two types of “custody” in Nevada. The first type of custody is called “physical custody,” and is what most of us think custody means. Someone with physical custody has the physical presence of the child with them. This child lives with them in their house, and they are responsible for the day-to-day care of the child.

Legal custody means that the parent has say in most of the important matters relating to the upbring of the child. These matters involve schooling, doctor’s visits, any kind of psychological treatment, among other things. Also, if a parent has legal custody they must be informed and agree if the child is to be taken out of state by the other parent.

If one parent has primary physical custody, that means that they have the child living with them full time. Normally the other parent will have what’s called “reasonable rights of visitation,” if they do not have full custody. There are many instances where one parent will have primary physical custody, and the other parent will have “joint legal custody.” This means that while the primary custodian has the child living with them full time, the other parent still has a say as to where the child goes to school, any medical and psychological treatments, extracurricular activities, among other things that have to do with the child’s upbringing.

Joint physical custody is when both parents equally share custody of the child. This situation generally involves each parent having the child live with them half (50%) of the time. It is very rare in a joint physical custody situation that the two parents will not share equal legal custody of the child as well. Regardless of the physical custody situation, if there is a “disparity of income,” between the parties, meaning one parent makes a great deal more money than the other, there will be a child support order issued by the judge.

Child Support in Nevada          

In Nevada family court, the judge considers a child support obligation to be the child’s money, not the parents. In a divorce, a good lawyer will pretty much use everything as a bargaining chip to work out an equitable settlement. For example, they will do things like reduce the amount of spousal support one party must pay, to allow the other party to get possession of assets like property.

In Nevada, the court will not let a custody lawyer use child support as a bargaining chip to reach a settlement. Your custody attorney couldn’t offer the paying party to have to pay less child support per month, for more visitation. Child support must be paid in accordance with the current Nevada child support law.

 This means that if there is a primary custody order, then the non-custodial parent MUST pay 16% of their gross monthly income in child support every month. In the instance of a joint physical custody arrangement, child support is calculated by something called the Wright v Osburn calculation. This calculation is determined by taking the monthly income of the parent who makes the least, and then subtracting that amount from the monthly income of the parent who makes the most. Then the higher earning parent must pay 16% of that total, in child support each month.

Find Your Custody Lawyer at Justice Law Center

At Justice Law Center, we have been representing Nevada families in custody cases for over 25 years. Our team of custody lawyers all understand how stressful a custody case can be, and we do everything possible to lighten the load.

 Our main priority is getting you custody of your children, so that you can continue to nurture the bond that you have with your kids. Our children need us, and one of the most fulfilling parts of our job here as a custody lawyer, is seeing families reunited so we work as hard as we possible can to see that in all of our cases.

            Call us today for a free consultation.