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CHILD CUSTODY AND PATERNITY
Nevada law favors joint custody of children. NRS 125C.0015 provides that parents have joint
legal and joint physical custody, regardless of marital status, until there is a court order. If you
believe the other parent should not have joint custody, you will need to seek an order from
the court. If you withhold custody from the other parent, without cause, this can severely affect
your custody rights. You should always seek legal counsel when withholding children from
the other parent. Further, the custody schedule you adopt after separation will be considered
by the court. When possible, you should follow a temporary custody schedule to help your
children adjust to the separation.
If either parent questions paternity, then a paternity action should be filed. Once paternity is
confirmed through testing, the case will proceed the same as a custody case. One of the
major differences between a paternity and custody case is that paternity cases are
automatically sealed from public view.
In most cases, the parents will share joint legal custody and make decisions together
regarding their children’s health, education and welfare.
For physical custody, Nevada law starts with a presumption of joint physical custody unless
one of the parents can prove that joint physical custody is not in the child’s best
interest. Nevada case law defines different types of physical custody of children. There are
many myths surrounding joint physical custody, such as that the parties must have equal
time with the children. One example of a joint physical custody schedule is where one parent
has three days of the week, and the other parent has the remaining four days. An
experienced family law attorney can guide you towards the schedule that will work best for
your children’s ages and both parents’ work schedules.
If you and the other parent cannot reach an agreement on custody, you will be required to
attend mediation at the Family Mediation Center. If an agreement is not reached in mediation,
the Court will schedule a trial to decide on custody and an experienced trial lawyer is highly
recommended. Marathon lawyers are highly trained and skilled to both settle and litigate
cases when necessary.