father playing with young daughter outsideThis is the next post in my series on how Nevada law applies to Las Vegas fathers when no child custody order is currently in place. My last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. It also stressed the need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible if you are involved in a legal dispute. It is important that you speak with counsel sooner, and not later, as waiting to file an action may lead to the Court leaving the current situation in place. In this article I will discuss why establishing paternity is the first step in such situations. If you are in need of assistance then contact my office to speak with a lawyer.

Paternity must be established in Nevada prior to seeking a custody order

Nevada law requires that paternity must be established prior to any custody order being entered by the Court. This is due to the fact that, without an establishment of paternity, the biological father is not considered “dad” in the eyes of the law. This means that if a mother is not allowing a dad visitation with the child then he will have no recourse. Conversely, a male will also have no obligation to pay child support or medical expenses if paternity has not previously been established. Both the mother and the father should realize, however, that once paternity is established then the Court may very well order “compensatory visitation.” The Judge will also require the father to pay back child support.

The foregoing can be explained by way of example. Suppose that Jack and Jill have a child together but paternity has never been established. The child is now five years old. Jack has paid no support and Jill has not allowed Jack to see the child for the last year. Jack files a paternity and custody action with the Clark County Family Court. The Court will order the parties to take a paternity test and, once the test establishes parentage, a temporary order will be put in place. By the time the matter is concluded, Jack will typically have either joint physical custody or a regular visitation schedule. The Judge may also give Jack additional visitation, for a period of time, to compensate for the denial of visits by Jill. Also, the Court will order Jack to pay back child support to Jill. While how the Court will rule in any given situation will always depend on the facts of the case, this example explains a common chain of events which occurs.

Las Vegas fathers can establish paternity and custody by filing a case with the Clark County Family Court

The first step in establishing paternity and a custody agreement in southern Nevada is to file a Petition with the Court. A Motion requesting the establishment of paternity and custody will be filed and a hearing will typically be held within four to six weeks. At the initial hearing, the Court will send the parties for paternity testing and a return Court date will be scheduled. If the test establishes that the male is in fact not the father then the case will be dismissed. If the test does establish positive paternity then the Court will place a temporary visitation and support schedule in place. This will give the parties a sense of structure while the matter proceeds through the legal system. The parents will attend a mediation to see if they can agree on custody. If no agreement can be reached then the case will proceed to trial. The handling of such matters can quickly become complicated and it is important that one retain an experienced attorney to assist them.

I am a Las Vegas fathers’ rights lawyer who is experienced in the handling of child custody cases. I will use your initial consultation to learn the facts of your situation and to help you understand what to expect as your situation moves forward. I understand that this is an important time in your life and my office will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us online or by telephone to schedule an appointment.