This is the next post in my series on how Las Vegas fathers can deal with child relocation issues. My last article discussed how the Nevada Supreme Court’s recent Druckman decision impacted dads who were on the child’s birth certificate or who had signed an affidavit of paternity. In this post I will address steps you can take, whether or not paternity has been established, if the mother of your child has moved away from Nevada without permission.
Fathers who have established paternity can file for the return of the child if the mother has relocated outside of Nevada without permission
If you have already signed an affidavit of paternity, or on your child’s birth certificate, then you have options if your ex has relocated the child outside of Nevada without your permission. Nevada law will allow you to file a child custody action with the Clark County Family Court as long as your ex and the child have not been gone from Nevada for the last six months or more. Filing a child custody case in Clark County means that the case will be heard here and, under some situations, the Court will order the child returned to Nevada while the case proceeds. The Court may even consider the mother to have abducted the child depending on the circumstances. I discuss the issue of abduction at length in this video:
If you are in the situation described above then you should consult with a Las Vegas child custody lawyer immediately. Once the child has been gone from Nevada for six months then you will likely have to file your case in the state where the mother has moved to. This puts you at a disadvantage for several reasons and should be avoided.
Dads who have not established themselves as the father must typically establish paternity before the Court will order a child returned to Nevada
If you have not established paternity of your child then you are considered to have “no rights” at this time and the mother was within her right to move out of the state without your permission. The good news is that if the child has been gone from Nevada for less than six months then Nevada still has jurisdiction over the case. This means that you can file a case to establish paternity in the Clark County Family Court. At an early initial hearing the Court will order each parent to undergo DNA testing; the mother and child will typically perform the testing in whatever state they have relocated to while a Nevada lab will send your DNA samples to the other state for comparison. A follow up hearing will be held shortly thereafter where the parties will find out the results.
Once paternity is established you can request that you be granted custody of the child in Las Vegas. Factors the Court will look to in considering whether you should have custody include, but are not limited to:
- The nature of your relationship with the child
- The extent to which each parent is willing cooperate with the other
- The ability of each parent to meet the needs of the child
- Whether there is a history of domestic violence against the mother
Again, you should not wait if the mother has relocated outside of the state. Once the child has been gone from six months then you will have to file your paternity action in another state.
In my experience as a Las Vegas fathers’ rights attorney I have handled many matters where a mother has moved without the father’s permission. It is important that you protect your rights. Contact me today for an initial consultation.