During a divorce, the most contested issue is often child custody and visitation. There are two type of custody:
- Legal custody involves decisions regarding the upbringing of the child, such as education, religious affiliations, health care, and extra-curricular activities.
- Physical custody involves with whom the child will live.
In each custody matter, the court begins with the notion of equal-footing for the parents, with the goal of achieving the absolute best interest of the child. Regarding legal custody, the parents are usually awarded joint legal custody. In rare cases where one parent has displayed a blatant disregard for the child’s best interest, the judge will award sole legal custody to the other parent.
Physical custody is an entirely separate matter, and is not connected to the determination of legal custody. There are a few possible outcomes regarding physical custody. One parent may be awarded sole physical custody, or the parents may be awarded shared or “joint” physical custody. When determining physical custody and the best interest of the child, the judge considers elements such as the age of the child, the work schedule of each parent, the mental and physical health of each parent, the physical and emotional needs of the child, any history of abuse or neglect, and which parent will best promote the relationship between the child and the other parent. If the child is old enough, the judge will also consider his or her preference. A shared or joint custody arrangement does not necessarily mean each party has custody of the child exactly fifty-percent of the time. While a shared physical custody arrangement may be as simple as an every-other-weekend arrangement, joint physical custody is specifically reserved for a 60/40 timeshare arrangement.
Contact a Nevada divorce attorney at (702) 731-0000