Nevada’s underlying goals when it comes to child custody decisions are that children have “frequent associations and a continuing relationship with both parents” and that parents “share the rights and responsibilities of child-rearing”. When a parent has a disability that impacts his or her ability to care for their children, this may affect how a court decides to meet these goals.
Under Nevada Revised Statute 125C.215, a court cannot deny parent custody or visitation rights solely because the parent is “deaf, is blind or has another physical disability”. In other words, a court cannot cut off a parent’s custody or visitation just because a parent is physically disabled—to do so is discrimination.
However, when courts decide on issues of custody and visitation, they must do so based on the child’s best interest. Among the numerous factors that courts must consider in determining a child’s best interest are:
- The mental and physical health of the parents.
- The physical, developmental and emotional needs of the child.
- The nature of the relationship of the child with each parent.
In essence, the impact of a parent’s disability on a court’s decision-making truly depends on the nature of the disability and the impact the disability has on the parent’s ability to be a caregiver for the child.
For example, a parent who is completely physically or mentally incapacitated cannot likely meet the physical, developmental, and emotional needs of a child. But this is an extreme example. In reality, many parents live with physical, emotional, or mental disabilities that can fully care for their children and meet their needs.
If a parent’s disability is at issue, then a court will want to hear about how the mental or physical health of the parent, whether the parent can meet the needs of the child, and the nature of the relationship the parent has with the child. This may require the services of medical experts and child experts to give the court the evidence necessary to make a well-informed decision.
Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. is Here for You
If you have a disability and are fighting for child custody or visitation, you need an attorney to advocate for your legal rights. Child custody and visitation decisions have incredibly high stakes and require an attorney who knows what information courts find compelling. The family law attorneys at Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P. are smart, proven advocates, let us help you. Call our office at (775) 227-2280 to schedule a free case consultation or contact our office through our website.