If a custody order is already in place, how can I get it changed?
To change a custody order, you will need to go to the court that originally gave you the order and file a motion to modify (change) the order. What you have to prove in court depends on whether you are trying to change an order of primary physical custody or joint physical custody.
Primary physical custody
Generally, if either parent has primary physical custody, a judge will only change the custody order if:
- there has been a substantial (significant) change in circumstances that affects the welfare of the child; and
- it is in the child’s best interest to change to custody order.1
If you are the one asking the judge to change the custody order, it is up to you to prove that the circumstances have substantially changed and that modifying the custody order is in your child’s best interest. However, if you have evidence of domestic violence that you or the judge didn’t know about (or didn’t know the extent of) at the time of the initial custody hearing, then this may be enough to get the order changed (you don’t need to show that anything else has changed since the original custody order was issued).2
If you have joint custody with the other parent, the judge will modify your custody order if s/he thinks it is in the best interest of the child to do so.3
Each county may have a different filing process for modifying a custody order, so you might want to contact the courthouse in your county for more information on what steps you need to take to file a motion. To find the contact information of a courthouse in your county, please visit our NV Courthouse Locations page.
As with all custody issues, we recommend that you first talk to a lawyer. To find a lawyer or legal aid program in your area, please visit our NV Finding a Lawyer page.
1Ellis v. Carucci, 123 Nev. 145, 161 P.3d 239 (2007)
2Castle v. Simmons, 120 Nev. 98, 86 P.3d 1042 (2004)
3 N.R.S. § 125C.0045(2)