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Dealing with Family Law Issues? Experience Matters. Let a Team of Skilled Lawyers Advocate for Your Interests.
Family law issues are some of the most complex and consequential, as they essentially chart the course of your and your child’s future. At Richard P. Davies, Esq., we understand the mental and emotional toil of family legal cases and will do our best to guide you swiftly through your negotiations. We have nearly 20 years of legal experience and are led by a team of energetic and reputable lawyers ready to champion your interests. Whether you seek to file for divorce or negotiate a child custody or support arrangement, you can count on our firm to deliver. We have handled numerous different types of family law disputes before and thus know how to skillfully negotiate an outcome that fits your needs.
Call Richard P. Davies, Esq. Today
Whatever family law concern you are facing, from divorce to child custody to child support, Richard P. Davies, Esq. is equipped to support you. Our firm has nearly 20 years of experience and comprises a team of approachable and dedicated lawyers who will advocate firmly for your parental and spousal rights.
Divorce Basics in Nevada
In Nevada, you can file for divorce without having to prove that the other spouse was responsible, or at fault, for the breakdown of the marriage. So, to petition for divorce, a spouse just needs to cite one of the following grounds (reasons) for divorce:
- incompatibility (irreconcilable differences);
- insanity that existed for 2 years prior to filing; or
- the spouses have lived separate and apart for 1 year.
Either spouse must also be a resident of Nevada for at least 6 weeks prior to filing.
Note that divorces can either be uncontested or contested. Uncontested divorce is a process where both spouses agree on all issues and terms of the divorce, including how they will divide their marital assets, arrange child custody, and settle child support payments. Spouses petitioning for uncontested divorce just need to file a Joint Petition for Divorce in court.
If both spouses disagree on some or all the terms of the divorce, they should pursue contested divorce, where one spouse will commence the process by filing a Complaint for Divorce and then negotiating the divorce disputes (e.g., child custody, child support, property division) on their own or in court. In general, the contested divorce process can take 3-6 months or longer.
Negotiating Child Custody
Child custody is one important legal matter that may be involved in a divorce or some other family legal proceeding. Recall that there are two types of child custody in Nevada – legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the decision-making power to make choices regarding things like education, religion, and medical decisions, and physical custody refers to where and with whom the child lives. Custody can be either jointly shared or solely granted to one parent. Note that physical custody determines the amount of child support to be given and who is responsible for paying.
It is important to know that the guiding principle for a judge to decide a child custody order is what will be in the child’s best interests, which includes factors like:
- the child’s relationship with each parent;
- the physical, emotional, and developmental needs of the child;
- the physical and mental health of each parent;
- whether the parents have a history of domestic violence or parental neglect toward the child or their sibling(s);
- each parent’s willingness to cooperate and ensure the child’s needs are addressed;
- the child’s wishes, if the child is of sufficient age;
- which parent is more likely to allow the child to have frequent association and a continuing relationship with the other parent;
- the child’s ability to maintain a relationship with any siblings.
Calculating Child Support
Our firm also helps parents negotiate child support payments. While both parents are expected to cover the costs involved in raising their child, usually only one parent, the noncustodial parent, makes actual child support payments, as it is presumed that the custodial parent spends a similar amount directly on caring for the child day-to-day. In situations where the parents share joint custody, the parent with more income pays support.
To calculate the amount of child support, the judge will examine:
- the custody arrangement;
- the number of children; and
- the gross monthly income of both parents.
Gross monthly income is all income received each month, including salary, wages, bonuses, and commissions from employment, as well as any pension or severance pay. It could also include money that comes from any royalties, dividends, or a trust, as well as from Social Security benefits, workers' compensation, unemployment, veteran’s benefits, or disability benefits. Be aware that the court also has the authority to impute potential income to a parent who is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed for the purposes of avoiding child support payments.
Note that parents do have the right to ask the judge to adjust the amount calculated from the above guidelines, as well as to request modification of an existing order. An experienced family lawyer can better help you navigate this process.
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