Determining Who Gets Custody
If you’re a parent and have decided to get a divorce, one of the first things you think about is your children and how you would divide the time up between the two parents. If you and the other parent are on good terms the best option would be to sit down and talk about it to decide what works best for the two of you. A lot of parents aren’t communicating, and that’s why they are getting a divorce in the first place, so in this case, you’d need additional intervention from the court.
Whether you are going through a divorce or not, you will need to establish a legally binding custody arrangement for the benefit of both you and your child. If you need to go through the family law court to determine child custody, rather than through negotiation or mediation, you are putting these decisions into the hands of a judge.
The first thing you should do before turning it over in the hands of a judge is to hire a lawyer and see how the judge decides who gets the kids in Clark County.
There are 3 different types of custody arrangements in Clark County.
- Joint Physical Custody which means that each parent gets the child at least 40 percent of the time. Judges typically award this custody unless something shows that one parent isn’t fit for custody of the child.
- Primary Physical Custody which means one parent has the child more than 60 percent of the time. The other parent gets parenting time or visitation rights.
- Sole Physical Custody which means one parent has the child 100 percent of the time and the other parent has no visitation rights or extremely limited and possibly supervised visitation. This is not ordered very often.
If no court order is obtained for custody arrangements then this means both parents automatically have joint physical custody. Most of the time if the parents cannot agree on custody arrangements they are ordered mediation by the judge and they have an unbiased party to sit with them and try to help them come to an agreement on their own. If that doesn’t work out then you go before a judge and the judge will decide based on what’s in the best interest for the child.
There are many factors that the judge will consider when making this decision. Some of the factors are:
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- The child’s relationship with their siblings or other individuals in each parent’s household
- The child’s involvement in their community
- Which parent has acted as the child’s primary caretaker in the past
- Each parent’s physical, emotional, and mental health
- Each parent’s ability to care for their child
As the court looks at each parent’s abilities when it comes to caring for the child they will also consider the parents’ work schedules, locations, lifestyle, home stability, and any history of domestic violence or abuse. The court will also consider the child’s wishes regarding the parenting plan if that child is considered mature enough to make a decision.
Even if you have all these facts, it’s important to know that every situation is different. Your case may not work out the same as someone else’s. When going through a divorce with children or even a separation it’s important for you to discuss your situation with an experienced child custody attorney for advice particular to your case.