Do Nevada Courts Favor Mothers Over Fathers in Child Custody Cases?
Today’s topic deals with a misconception that we have here in Nevada that the courts favor mothers in custody cases. I received a call from a gentleman who is in the middle of a custody battle and he stated that he wanted an attorney who knew how to handle custody matters in Nevada courts because he understands that Nevada favors mothers in custody and he wanted to fight for his children’s custody rights. This is a misconception that I get quite a bit here in the office. People, for whatever reason, are under the impression that Nevada courts favor mothers over fathers in custody battles.
I think this misconception stems from past history where mothers were the primary caretakers and most of them were stay-at-home moms. At that time there was a rule that was called the Tender Years Doctrine which held that a newborn needed to be with its mother for the first two years of its life. This belief is no longer the norm.
In Nevada the statute specifically states that preference must not be given to either parent for the sole reason that the parent is the mother or the father of that child. Nevada does have a presumption of joint custody and judges use the best interest of the child in determining custody.
So, whenever we are faced with a custody battle, I always explain to my clients that the judges will start with a presumption that both parents are important in the child’s lives and therefore they will look to a joint custody schedule unless we can prove otherwise. As always, when making a decision that has to do with children the courts will always look to determine what is in the best interest of the child. I know that we throw that verbiage around quite a bit, “best interest,” but there are a few factors that the judges specifically look at when determining what is in the best interest of a child:
- Any history of child neglect or abuse by a parent
- Any incidences of domestic violence, abuse, neglect from a parent to a child
- Sometimes the judge looks at the wishes of the child depending on the child’s age and maturity
- The ability of a child to maintain a relationship with siblings
i.e. If one parent has children from another marriage and that child does not get to spend time with those siblings.
- The level of conflict between the parents
- The ability of the parents to cooperate to meet the child’s needs
- The mental and the physical health of the parents
- The physical and the emotional needs of the child
- The child’s relationship with each parent
These are factors that the court looks at in determining what is in the best interest of a child before making any decisions that pertain to the child. So please remember that Nevada does not favor one parent over the other one when it comes to custody, and the courts are always looking to begin custody with a joint-custody agreement, as the courts feel that it is in the best interest of the children to have both parents in their lives. I hope this has cleared up this misconception to some degree. If you have questions, or would like to discuss your particular situation in depth, please do not hesitate to contact our office to set up a one-on-one consultation. To reach out office contact us at (702) 998-1188, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by scheduling a consultation online.