WomensLaw is not just for women. We serve and support all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

Important: Some courts are hearing cases virtually due to COVID. See our FAQ on Courts and COVID-19.

Legal Information: Nevada


View all
July 14, 2020

Who can file for custody? Can a non-parent get custody?

Although normally one or both of the child’s parents are the ones who would file for custody, it could be possible that a person other than a child’s parent can apply for custody.  The laws states that the first preference for custody of a child should be the child’s parents or parent.1  Before the judge gives custody to any person other than a parent (unless the parents consent), the judge must determine that giving custody to a parent would be detrimental (harmful) to the child and that giving custody to a non-parent is required to serve the best interest of the child.2  If custody is going to be given to a non-parent, judges will award custody in the following order of preference unless the best interest of the child conflicts with this order:

  1. To a person(s) in whose home the child has been living if it is a wholesome and stable environment;
  2. To a relative of the child (within the fifth degree of consanguinity) who the court finds to be suitable and able to provide proper care and guidance for the child; it doesn’t matter if this person lives in Nevada or in another state;
  3. To any other person(s) who the court finds to be suitable and able to provide proper care and guidance for the child.3

As with all custody issues, we recommend that you talk to a lawyer about this. To find a lawyer or legal aid program in your area, please visit the NV Finding a Lawyer page.

1 N.R.S. § 125C.0035(3)(a)
2 N.R.S. § 125C.004(1) 
3 N.R.S. § 125C.0035(3)(b)-(d)