If you are going through a divorce or have a child with an unmarried partner, dealing with custody and visitation rights can be one of the most challenging and emotionally-draining aspects of your separation. When dealing with custody and visitation matters, it is important to remember that the Nevada courts always focus on one primary factor: protecting the best interests of your children. With this in mind, there are steps you can take to improve your chances of obtaining your desired custody or visitation rights. First, however, it is important to understand the options that are legally available.
Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody
Custody rights fall into two categories: legal custody and physical custody. As discussed below, the parents can either share rights in one or both categories; or, one parent may be awarded sole custody rights.
Legal custody refers to the right to make major life decisions for your child. This includes things like:
- Where your child goes to school
- What doctors your child sees
- Any religious affiliations
Day-to-day decisions such as what your child eats for dinner or when it is time to buy new shoes generally fall outside of the scope of custody rights, so either parent can typically make these types of decisions alone without involving the other.
Physical custody refers to the right to provide a permanent home for your child. When the parents have joint physical custody (see below), the child will spend a portion of his or her time leaving with each parent. If one parent has sole physical custody rights, the other parent may have an opportunity to spend time with their child during “visitation.”
Joint Custody, Sole Custody, and Visitation Rights
Taking into consideration the best interests of the child, courts in Las Vegas may award joint custody, or they may award sole custody to either parent during a divorce or separation. Joint custody can include both legal and physical custody rights. It is not entirely uncommon for courts to award joint physical or legal custody, while leaving decision-making rights (in the case of joint physical custody) or the right to provide the child’s home (in the case of joint legal custody) to a single parent. However, more commonly in joint custody cases, the parents will share some degree of both types of custody.
When one parent has sole physical custody, the non-custodial parent will typically have rights of visitation. Visitation schedules can vary depending on the parents’ work schedules, living conditions, and other factors, but will always come back to the fundamental consideration of serving the best interests of the child.
Speak with a Las Vegas Family Law Attorney at De Castroverde Law Group
If you are contemplating a divorce or separation and live in the Las Vegas area, the experienced family law attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group can help you evaluate your options and protect your legal rights. To learn more, schedule a free consultation today or call 702-222-9999.