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Understanding Legal and Physical Custody

Nevada’s child custody laws¬†recognize two types of child custody: “legal custody” and “physical custody.” If you are considering a separation or divorce and children are involved, it is in your interest to understand these types of custody so that you can make informed decisions about your parental rights.

Legal Custody

Legal custody encompasses critical decision-making rights that come with being a parent. This includes the ability to make decisions about the child’s moral or religious upbringing, to make medical decisions and give consent for medical procedures, to receive information about the child, to make legal decisions for the child, to make financial decisions for the child, and to decide how the child will be educated.

There is a legal presumption that it is in children’s best interest for parents to share joint legal custody—that they should equally share the right to make decisions regarding their child.

Physical Custody

Physical custody involves the right of a parent to have “physical” care of a child or to have a child reside in their home. There is a preference that parents share joint physical custody of their children, which gives parents equal rights to have the child in their home and generally means each parent has the child forty to sixty percent of the year. However, courts can also grant sole physical custody to one parent, with whom the child will reside the majority of the time.

In making this decision, courts must determine the best interest of a child and consider factors like:

  • The desires of the child—provided that child’s capacity and maturity to express those desires as to custody.
  • The needs of the child.
  • The health of each parent.
  • The relationship each parent has with the child.
  • The willingness of each parent to facilitate the parent-child relationship with the other parent.
  • The level of conflict between parents.
  • Evidence of parental unfitness.

How Courts May Award Custody

Without any court order or formalized agreement, parents share joint physical and legal custody by default. This means they both have equal rights to possession and to make decisions regarding their child. When parents make agreements or seek orders regarding these rights, then there are several potential outcomes: (1) both parents share joint physical and legal custody; (2) joint legal custody and primary physical custody to one parent; or (3) sole legal and primary custody to one parent

Contact Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P.

Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P. is a small-sized law firm that provides unparalleled service to our clients. Our attorneys have decades of combined legal experience and have a track record of obtaining successful outcomes for our clients. You deserve an experienced lawyer who will effectively advocate for your parental rights. Call Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 227-2280 to schedule an appointment or contact our office through our website.

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