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Legal Information: Nevada


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July 14, 2020

How will a judge make a decision about custody?

A judge will make a custody order based on what s/he believes is in the best interest of the child.  Judges generally prefer to award sole or joint custody to the child’s parents (as opposed to other relatives) if this is in the best interest of the child.  The court will not automatically give preference to the mother or father just based on his/her gender.1 

Judges look at the following factors when making custody decisions about what is in the best interest of the child:

  • the wishes of the child (if the child is of “sufficient age and capacity to form an intelligent preference” as to his/her physical custody);
  • any nomination of a guardian for the child by a parent;
  • which parent is more likely to allow the child to have frequent contact and a continuing relationship with the non-custodial parent;
  • the level of conflict between the parents;
  • the ability of the parents to cooperate to meet the needs of the child;
  • the mental and physical health of the parents;
  • the child’s physical, developmental, and emotional needs;
  • the quality of the child’s relationship with each parent;
  • the ability of the child to maintain a relationship with any siblings;
  • any history of abuse or neglect against the child or a sibling of the child;
  • whether either parent has abducted the child or any other child;
  • whether either parent (or any other person seeking physical custody) has committed an act of domestic violence against the child, a parent of the child, or any other person living with the child; and
  • whether either parent (or any other person seeking physical custody) has committed an act of abduction against the child or any other child.2 

For more information on how domestic violence affects a judge’s decision about custody, go to Can a parent who committed violence get custody?

1 N.R.S. § 125C.0035(1)-(3)
2 N.R.S. § 125C.0035(4)