What about the kids?: Five common custody questions

Bookmark this
February 12, 2018 By Leavitt Law Firm

People walking into Leavitt Law Firm’s family law office are filled with questions. Attorney Frank Leavitt and his team at Leavitt Law Firm have been handling divorce and custody cases for nearly 30 years, which means they’ve helped clients answer a lot of those questions.

The Las Vegas based attorney said a lot of people’s concerns and anxieties center around what will happen to a couple’s kids.

That’s understandable, Leavitt said.

The right answers help people make better decisions -- saving them time, money and heartache. Below are answers to five common custody questions.

If your question isn’t answered here, you can find more answers on Leavitt’s family law blog.

1) Should I move out?

The answer to this question varies on a case-by-case basis, but generally the answer is no.

“The primary reason is that you can potentially give up your right to reside inside the house while the divorce is pending,” Leavitt said.

When a divorce case starts, a judge issues a ruling called a Temporary Order that often holds throughout the case. This ruling decides things like who lives in the house for the duration of the divorce.

“You risk being kicked out until the divorce is done,” Leavitt said.

That could make it harder for a person to get important documents like passports and old bank statements. And if the kids are still living in the house with the other parent, it lends credibility to an argument to not disrupt their lives further by making them move.

2) Does infidelity matter?

In most cases the answer to this question is also no.

“Nevada is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce,” Leavitt said. That means one spouse doesn’t have to prove any fault on the part of the other spouse.

No fault makes it relatively easy to get a divorce in Las Vegas, but it also means judges don’t give weight to claims of infidelity the way they do in states that accept at-fault divorce cases.

The exception when it comes to custody hearings is if a person had an affair with someone who has a history of convictions for drugs, assault or other violent crimes. In those cases, a parent can argue it would be detrimental to the kids to have that person around.

3) What do we do if we’re not married?

Married couples aren’t the only couples with children. But what do you do if you can’t file for divorce?

The way it works for unmarried couples is one person files a complaint explaining how he or she wants to divide custody.

If the other parent agrees with the terms in the complaint, his or her response would simply say that. Then, the couple could get a stipulated Custody Decree.

4) Where do I file?

What this question really means is: What court has jurisdiction over a divorce case?

“Vegas is a transient area,” Leavitt said. “People are always moving around.”

He frequently sees clients who tell him they live in Las Vegas, but their ex lives elsewhere.

The federal government passed a law in 1997 called the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. It says the place where a child or children lived for the last six consecutive months is their home state, and that’s the court that gets to decide who gets custody.

5) What's the difference between physical and legal custody?

Physical custody means where the kid(s) actually live. Legal custody, on the other hand, defines who is responsible for important decisions like whether to consent to medical treatment and where the kid(s) go to school.

Most Clark County judges give parents joint physical and legal custody.

“It’s just about guaranteed,” Leavitt said.

He knows this can be frustrating for clients, but it’s difficult – barring a criminal history or pattern of abuse – for one parent to gain full custody of the kids.

Working out a schedule for the kids ahead of time can save clients a lot of money, but Leavitt cautioned against trying to divide every tiny detail of a child’s life. For example, the custody agreement doesn’t necessarily have to include who is responsible for haircuts.

“The more specific you get about all these requirements, the more you have to fight about,” Leavitt said.

This article was presented and sponsored by the Leavitt Law Firm. For more information visit their website or call (702) 996-6052.

Recent Articles

Food is personal at Lemongrass & Lime

Food is personal at Lemongrass & Lime

in Food, Sponsored Content

Dee Mallas was just four years old when she started cooking with her family in Thailand and those old recipes are being served at Lemongrass & Lime.

July 18, 2019 By Lemongrass & Lime

Does Every Divorce Need a Divorce Attorney?

Does Every Divorce Need a Divorce Attorney?

in Sponsored Content, Best Of News

Las Vegas is the entertainment, marriage and divorce capitals, so it should not come as a surprise that a divorce experience can be different in Las Vegas.

July 18, 2019 By RIGHT Lawyers

Shrimp cocktail had crowds flocking to downtown Las Vegas for decades

Shrimp cocktail had crowds flocking to downtown Las Vegas for decades

in Food

As far as Mark Brandenburg is concerned, shrimp cocktail ran the mob out of downtown Las Vegas.

July 17, 2019 By Heidi Knapp Rinella

‘Treehouse’ complex planned for downtown Las Vegas in limbo

‘Treehouse’ complex planned for downtown Las Vegas in limbo

in Future Las Vegas, News

A project that promised Australian cuisine, bars and nightlife in Las Vegas’ Arts District is in doubt after construction stalled and the landlord took the operators to court.

July 17, 2019 By Eli Segall


Must Read Articles

Three Basic Immigration Laws You Need to Know

Three Basic Immigration Laws You Need to Know

in Sponsored Content

Immigration is one of the most talked about -- yet least understood topics -- in today’s headlines.

December 26, 2017 By Law Offices of Peter L. Ashman

Bunk bed rooms coming to Las Vegas Strip hotel

Bunk bed rooms coming to Las Vegas Strip hotel

in Future Las Vegas, News

The next phase of the Flamingo Las Vegas’ remodeling project includes 14 new bunk bed rooms along with several bunk bed suites.

December 12, 2018 By Bailey Schulz

Locals’ guide to free and unrestricted Las Vegas pools

Locals’ guide to free and unrestricted Las Vegas pools

in Entertainment News, News

See our list of some of Las Vegas’ top dayclubs, as well as pools that are not restricted to hotel guests.

March 27, 2018 By Al Mancini