Nevada Parenting Plans and Custody Agreements
You can write up your own parenting plan (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own agreement, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.
When creating a parenting plan (custody agreement) in the State of Nevada, it is important to be aware of the laws of the State.
The laws pertaining to child custody and visitation can be found in the Nevada Revised Statutes, Title 11-Domestic Relations, Chapter 125, Dissolution of Marriage.
While the title of the chapter indicates it s about divorce, the laws in Chapter 125 apply to all couples seeking to litigate child custody, not just married ones.
The Statutes clearly define the factors the court considers when determining custody of a child. By learning the requirements of the law and what the court expects, you will be better prepared and more likely to have a favorable outcome in your court case.
In the State of Nevada, the best interest of the child is the sole consideration of the court when determining custody of a child. As you create your agreement, it is important to know and consider the factors and circumstances the court considers.
In order to determine the best interests of the child, the court considers all relevant factors, including, but not limited to, the following (NRS 125.480.4):
- The wishes of the child, provided the child is of a sufficient age and maturity level to state a preference
- The custodial preferences of the parents
- Which parent is more likely to permit the child to have a continued relationship with the other parent
- Whether or not the parents are hostile or combative with each other
- The ability of the parents to work together in order to meet the needs of the child
- The physical and mental health of each parent
- The child's physical, developmental, and emotional needs
- The existing relationships the child has with each parent and the nature of these relationships
- The need to maintain a relationship with any siblings the child might have.
- Whether or not there is any evidenced history of child abuse or neglect committed by a parent to the child or a sibling of the child
- Whether or not there is evidence of any domestic violence against the child, a parent of the child, or any person residing in the child's home, committed by a parent seeking custody
- Whether or not either parent seeking custody has committed an act of child abduction against the child
This list contains only some of the factors that you must consider for your agreement. Basically, you need to think about every aspect of your child's life and make an agreement that allows your child to thrive in the new family situation. If you always keep this idea in the back of your mind, you will make a good agreement for your child.
It is presumed that it is not in the best interests of a child for a parent (that has committed an act of domestic violence against the child, the other parent, or any other person in the child's home) to have either sole or joint custody of the child (NRS 125.480.5).
Special provisions shall be made to protect the child from parents that are abusive, violent, have substance abuse problems, have abducted or attempted to abduct the child, have committed and been convicted of violent or certain sexual crimes, and/or exhibit any behavior that will likely prove to be detrimental to the child.
Visitation with such a parent may be limited, supervised, or denied by the court, depending on the circumstances.
The type of custody that is best for your child really depends on the situation and all of the factors involved. It is up to you and the court to decide what is best for your child and what would best serve your child's specific needs.
It is presumed that when parents agree to share joint custody, joint custody is in the best interest of the child, unless evidenced factors indicate otherwise (NRS 125.490).
This is where the parenting plan factors in. By working in cooperation with the other parent to create a mutually agreed upon parenting plan, you will not only avoid having your custody and parenting arrangements be determined by an evaluator or the court, you will be making progress towards co-parenting your child in a restructured family.
Being able to cooperate with each other is always in the best interests of the child.
Your parenting plan can include any agreement or stipulation that is relevant to the child. Here are some basic components you may wish to include in your Nevada parenting plan:
- A declaration as to the type of custody the parents shall have
- Whether or not one parent's home shall be designated as the child's primary residence
- A child visitation schedule that includes a regular residential schedule and a schedule for holidays and vacations
- A statement delegating specific authority over major decision making, such as the child's education, healthcare, religious upbringing, to each, either, or both parents
- A method of dispute resolution to resolve any future conflict
- Provisions to modify the parenting plan in the future as the needs of the child change as s/he grows and matures
- Provisions for the transportation of the child between exchanges, such as the location of the exchanges, who will transport the child (and when), and who will be financially responsible for the transport
- An agreement on telephone and electronic communications between the parent and child
- Whether or not one or both of the parents is permitted to remove the child from the area or state, and any stipulations for doing so
- A first right of refusal clause that offers a parent additional time with the child, prior to the other parent calling a baby-sitter
- Stipulations related to relocating the child, such as advance notice, any geographical limitations, and who will pay for the additional expense if the move is farther away
- Anything that is a concern or issue may be included in the parenting plan
Careful thought and consideration should be excised when developing the parenting plan. The parenting plan will serve as the "rules" for co-parenting your child and will become a binding contract, as long as it is accepted by the court.
By creating your parenting plan in accordance to the law and the best interests of the child, your chance of a successful outcome is greatly improved.
The top fifteen cities in Nevada (by population, US Census Bureau, 2008) are: Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas, Reno, Sunrise Manor, Paradise, Spring Valley, Enterprise, Sparks, Carson City, Pahrump, Winchester, Whitney, Summerlin South, Sun Valley.