What factors will a judge consider in child custody decisions?

Posted by David Jacks | Nov 23, 2015

On behalf of The Jacks Law Group posted in child custody on Thursday, April 16, 2015.

A significant percentage of men and women wear two different hats in a marriage: spouse and parent. This distinction is very important when they decide to file for divorce. A characteristic that makes a person frustrating as a spouse does not necessarily affect his or her ability to parent, which is one reason why child custody laws are based on the “best interests of the child.”

In Nevada, family court judges always prioritize the needs of the child when making custody decisions or approving an out-of-court agreement. A judge's goal is to find a custody arrangement that will foster the well-being of the child, from his or her physical security to emotional and mental health, and maintain the relationship with each parent where possible.

A judge will consider many different factors set out by Nevada Revised Statute 125.480 when making this decision. These factors include:

  • The preference of a child the court deems mature enough to make decisions
  • The preference of the parents or a guardian
  • The nature of both parent-child relationships
  • The likelihood that one parent will foster the child's relationship with the other parent
  • The ability of the parents to cooperate when caring for the child
  • The level of conflict between the two parents
  • Each parent's physical and mental health
  • The needs of the child, in regards to their emotions, physical health and development
  • Relationships with other siblings
  • Whether or not there is a history of physical, mental or emotional abuse or neglect
  • Domestic violence committed by one parent against any family member
  • If one parent has taken the child without the other's permission or denied access to the child

Every single child custody case is different, and a judge has wide discretion to weigh one factor more heavily over another, which is why parents should always have an attorney on their side. Even when parents can agree on all aspects of their divorce, a family lawyer can help ensure that their agreement protects their interests, covers all the necessary bases and is easy to implement.

About the Author

David Jacks

David Jacks is a seasoned attorney and founder of The Jacks Law Group, PLLC, in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada. Born and raised in Las Vegas, he served as an Animal Care Specialist in the U.S. Army before transitioning to a career in law. He earned his BA in Political Science from UNLV and his JD from Arizona Summit Law School. David’s practice focuses on family law and personal injury cases, including divorce, child custody, and car accidents. He is recognized for his professional excellence and has received numerous awards. David is actively involved in the legal community and various professional associations.

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