This is the next post in a series of articles discussing the importance of establishing paternity in Las Vegas, Nevada. My previous post provided an overview of what fathers can expect during Clark County’s mandatory mediation in child custody cases. It also stressed that any agreement tentatively reached during the mediation session should be reviewed by the party’s divorce attorney prior to being finalized. This may help avoid any unintended consequences of the custody agreement on other elements of the case, such as child support or spousal support obligations. In this article, I will address how a judge will determine whether back child support or compensatory visitation will be awarded when paternity is established. If you need assistance with a child custody or paternity matter, contact my office to speak with a Las Vegas fathers’ rights attorney.
For reasons previously discussed, it is important for father’s to quickly establish paternity of their child. A common concern from many who face this decision is what obligations they will face related to back child support. It is important to be aware of how this determination may impact you. Under Nevada law, once paternity for a child has been established, a judge can order the father to pay back child support for up to four years prior to the date the initial petition is filed with the court. For example, if a child is two years old at the time the petition is filed and the legal process takes three months to complete, the father will be required to pay two years and three months of back support. If the child is ten when the father establishes paternity and his case takes six months, he will be ordered to pay four years and six months of back support while also being responsible for future payments. When possible, establishing paternity as soon after the birth of the child will help reduce large back child support obligations.
When paternity is established, the judge will also consider the father’s custody rights and visitation schedule. In some cases, the court will evaluate whether the father is entitled to compensatory visitation. In other words, does the father’s situation entitle him more than standard visitation to make up for “lost time” with the child. For obvious reasons, if dad was voluntarily absent from the child’s life and brought to court by the child’s mother for paternity and back child support, a judge will be less concerned with granting compensatory visitation. On the other hand, if a father was unaware of the child’s existence or was denied access to the child while seeking to establish paternity, a judge may grant additional visitation. Depending upon the age of the child and other factors related to the child’s best interest, a court may implement the visits on gradual basis.
Each family situation is different. My office is dedicated to representing Las Vegas fathers in paternity and custody matters and treats each client with the respect they deserve. If you need assistance with a family law matter, contact my office today to speak with an attorney.