What options are there for legal custody?
There are two types of legal custody: sole legal custody and joint legal custody.
If you have sole legal custody, you alone have the right to make all of the decisions affecting your child’s life.
If you have joint legal custody, you share the right to make decisions about your child’s life with the child’s other parent. To read about when a judge will award joint legal custody, go to When will a judge order joint legal custody?
What options are there for physical custody?
In Nevada, a judge can award sole/primary physical custody to one parent or joint physical custody to both parents. To read about when a judge will award primary physical custody to one parent, see When will the judge give primary physical custody to one parent? To read about when a judge will award joint physical custody to both parents, see When will a judge order joint physical custody?
What is joint custody?
Joint custody means that legal and/or physical custody is shared by both parents. If you get a joint custody order, it’s important to know whether you have joint legal custody, joint physical custody, or both. There is a preference in Nevada for both parents to have a continuing relationship and frequent contact with the child, and to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing after the parents have separated or ended their relationship.1
In Nevada, the judge will assume that awarding joint legal custody and joint physical custody are in the best interest of the child if:
- the parents agree to either or both in court; or
- the parent seeking joint legal custody or joint physical custody has demonstrated (or has tried to demonstrate but the other parent wouldn’t allow it) an intent to establish a meaningful relationship with the child.2
The judge could grant joint legal custody to both parents while still granting sole or primary physical custody to one parent.3 Therefore, even if your child lives with you full-time, the other parent can still have a right to make decisions about your child’s life if s/he has joint legal custody.
A judge will generally grant joint custody if s/he thinks it is in the best interests of the child.3 However, there is an exception for domestic violence victims when it comes to joint physical custody. Read Can a parent who committed violence get physical custody? to learn more.
1 N.R.S. § 125C.001
2 N.R.S. §§ 125C.002(1); 125C.0025(1)
3 N.R.S. § 125C.002(2)