This is the next post in my series discussing when Las Vegas, Nevada fathers may be able to modify child custody following a parental abduction. The last article explained how the discovery process is used to gather evidence needed to support the request to change custody. It is essential to have sufficient supporting facts and documentation to support your request for a modification of the court’s existing order. Engaging a family law attorney with experience in trial preparation will help you identify meaningful evidence. In this post, I will explain what Las Vegas dads may expect during a custody trial. Legal proceedings, especially those that impact your parental rights, can be stressful and intimidating. I cannot overemphasize the importance of retaining counsel with trial experience to help you navigate the process. If you need assistance, contact my office today to speak to a lawyer.
Family law trials in Clark County are bench trials. This means that unlike other types of trials, the custody modification proceeding will not be decided by a jury. Instead, the final decisions will be made by a judge. Each side will make an opening statement at the start of the day. An opening statement is an opportunity to provide an overview of the facts and legal theories that will be presented during the trial. This is not a time for arguing with the other party’s position, but rather an introduction of each party’s case. The plaintiff will then present their evidence and witnesses. Once finished, the defendant will have the opportunity to present their own evidence and witnesses. Each party may cross-examine witnesses called by the other. The plaintiff may then “rebut” any claims made by the defendant. Following closing arguments, the judge will deliberate the information provided during the proceeding and deliver the final verdict.
As in any request to modify a custody ruling, the judge will review the specific facts of each situation to determine if such a change is in the best interests of the child. While strong evidence demonstrating that an ongoing pattern of parental abduction or withholding the child will be important, the judge’s analysis will include additional factors as well. Information about whether either parent has a history of violence or abuse, the child’s physical and emotional needs, the mental health of both parents, or school performance may also impact the final determination. Evidence obtained during the discovery process such as text messages, phone records, medical reports or witness testimony may be essential to showing that a custody change will be in your child’s best interest. It is imperative to provide as much supporting information as possible to the judge during the trial.
A knowledgeable custody attorney can help Las Vegas fathers present a compelling case to the judge at trial. I have experience in child custody trials and am ready to assist you. Contact my office today to speak to a father’s rights lawyer.