Child custody matters are some of the most complex issues in the divorce process. There are two forms of child custody in Nevada: physical custody and legal custody. Both parents must decide child custody issues during divorce proceedings. Sometimes parents can agree on what’s best for their children. But other times they cannot. If they cannot agree, the child custody issues require negotiation or litigation. Attorneys Jennifer V. Abrams and Vincent Mayo have decades of experience as Las Vegas child custody attorneys. They have successfully represented clients in complex child custody negotiations and at trial.
Physical custody defines who the children will live with and for what time period. Barring any legitimate reason, the family courts prefer joint physical custody. This means the children share roughly the same amount of time living with each parent.
Legal custody means who will make decisions about medical treatments, schooling, and religion for the children. In the majority of the cases, both parents share legal custody. Most importantly, anything other than joint legal custody requires strong proof that it is not in the best interest of the children. In these cases, there is no substitute for a child custody attorney who has a successful track record.
Primary Physical Custody
A parent with primary physical custody will have their children living with them the all, or the majority of the time. This parent is known as the “primary custodian.” They routinely care for their children on a daily basis. One parent may seek primary physical custody in Las Vegas divorce matters. In some cases this may be the most practical decision. For example, if you and your ex are living far apart, or if one parent’s work, or travel schedule makes joint physical custody impractical. In other instances the parents may disagree on what living arrangement is best for their children.
Help is Available to You
Child custody is contested when parents disagree on either physical or legal custody. Sadly, there are cases where one parent is unfit to share physical custody. If one parent has drug, alcohol, criminal or mental stability issues, for example. Seasoned child custody lawyers are the best ones to advise you on this complex issue. In these cases, the court may rule one parent unfit to share equal time. The judge may also find that only one parent should have legal custody. This is rare but happens in extreme cases. Therefore, expert child custody attorneys can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
Your Children Come First
Divorces are difficult on both parents and their children. So it’s important to lessen the stress whenever possible. Here are some guidelines that can benefit everyone:
Don’t blame or badmouth your ex when your children are present. Instead, vent to a family counselor or with adult friends if you need to. The passing of time has a way of lessening the need for venting. But it is a normal thing to do in divorce cases, especially at the start.
Shared physical custody usually requires interaction between both parents. The exchange from one parent to another is brief but can be the most stressful time for your children. So always be civil to your ex during child exchanges. Also let your ex know ahead of time if you are going to be late for an exchange. A simple one sentence text can go a long way to keeping the peace.
Above all, never use child custody issues as a “bargaining chip” for financial gain. This never puts you in a good light. Not for the family courts nor with your children. As your children get older they will see this for what it is.
Contact Our Las Vegas Child Custody Attorneys
Our firm’s attorneys have helped hundreds of clients with their complex child custody cases. Their experience is to your advantage when you can’t agree on all child custody issues. We offer phone consultations as a courtesy to those parents in need of assistance. Please call our office at 702-222-4021.
Child Custody Experts
Contested child custody cases are complex because each family situation is unique. In other words, what’s proper for one set of parents and children may not be right for another. So there are no exact rules that every child custody expert goes by. But the ages of the children and their existing bonds with each parent are important factors. For example, a custody expert will note if one parent is active in caring for their children and the other parent is mostly absent.
There are also different opinions by child custody experts about the effects of divorce on children. There is no one guidebook that every expert uses to support their opinions. Because of all these issues, two separate custody experts can have opposite recommendations on child custody.
The Duties of Child Custody Experts
Child custody experts conduct interviews and provide written reports in contested custody cases. They may also testify in court hearings. Family court judges often rely on their expertise. However, not all experts have the same qualifications. Some have advanced degrees and/or are court certified, while others are not. Some experts have testified for years, others are new to the family courts. As a consequence, a family court judge can favor the expert they believe is more credible. Experienced child custody attorneys know the experts you can count on.
Interviews, Testing, and Reports
Child custody experts begin with an interview and testing of both parents. Your children, other family members, and friends may also have interviews. The expert will form opinions and write a report based on the information they gather. This report is the basis for your positions in a contested custody case so it’s vital that the expert be the right one for your case.
Las Vegas divorce attorneys may call the experts to testify in court. Therefore, it’s critical the expert has the skills to testify because the opposing counsel has the opportunity to challenge your expert. Your spouse’s lawyer can question the custody expert and attempt to find faults in their report and testimony including:
- The process and results from interviews.
- The depth of the interview process.
- Time spent between children and parents.
- The child custody expert’s credentials.
- Opinions made by the expert in other cases.
- Connections between the test results and the expert’s findings.
- Any conflicts of interest.
The Expert’s Role in Your Case
It’s important to know what the role of a child custody expert is and is not. Their role is to act as an unbiased third party on behalf of the welfare of your children. It is not to be an advocate for you. Most of all, their opinions are based on what’s best for the children. So it’s critical that your divorce attorney know the tendencies of the expert before picking one. In short, custody experts are human beings and can have biases. Some favor the mom, some the dad, and others neither parent. That’s why having your lawyer choose the right expert can make or break your case. This is not an area where you want to take chances.
Choosing the Right Child Custody Expert
It’s important that the family court judge respects your child custody expert. Therefore we only retain experts who are certified by the Clark County Family Courts. Many of our custody experts have advanced college degrees. Most importantly, the expert may have previously testified before the judge in your case. Because we focus on divorce and divorce related cases, our child custody attorneys have decades of experience working with child custody experts. This knowledge can give you an advantage in contested child custody cases.
Child support helps insure that children have funds available for their healthy upbringing. Child support payments continue until the child turns eighteen years old, or nineteen if still attending high school. Most people believe child support amounts are a strict calculated formula. This is not entirely correct. Nevada statutes do provide formulas for child support base levels. However, the amounts of these base child support payments can be adjusted under certain circumstances.
Other Child Support Factors
Base child support amounts are available for adjustment. Items such as day care, medical insurance, private school tuition, extra-curricular school activities, necessary health related costs, and other child expenses are all considerations for adjusting the base child support amounts. Our Las Vegas child support attorneys understand how these other factors can change the calculated base amounts. Therefore, their experience in evaluating all the factors may change the total amount of child support.
Child Custody Type
The child custody type is the first factor when calculating base amounts. In cases where one parent has primary physical custody, the payment amounts are based on the income of the non-custodial parent. If physical custody is jointly shared, child support payments are based on the difference of parents’ incomes.
Child Support Payments
Base child support amounts are currently calculated as follows:
Percentage of Gross Monthly Income From $0 to $6,000
|For each additional child add||+2%|
Plus Percentage of Gross Monthly Income From $6,001 to $10,000
|For each additional child add||+1%|
Plus Percentage of Gross Monthly Income From $10,001 and Above
|For each additional child add||+0.5%|
Las Vegas Child Custody Attorneys
Our attorneys handle all forms of contested child custody cases. We offer phone consultations at no charge for all parents needing assistance. Call 702-222-4021 to speak with one of our Las Vegas child custody attorneys. Their decades of experience can be used to your advantage.