Fathers are often under the misbelief that a mother has all the rights in a child custody case. Nevada has historically been a “shared custody” state. This belief in equal parenting was expanded by the Nevada Supreme Court in the Rivero v. Rivero decision. The The Rivero decision defines when a parent does and does not have joint custody of a child. This article is meant to discuss how Rivero defines custody and how the decision impacts the rights of Nevada fathers.

Nevada child custody law before the Rivero decision

Nevada is a state which presumes joint custody of children. In other words, Family Court Judges generally must begin a case from a belief that parents should share custody equally. Joint custody in Nevada historically meant that each parent would have custody of the child for an equal amount of time. A Las Vegas father, therefore, was not considered to have shared custody of his child even if the child was with him three days per week.

The Nevada Supreme Court redefined child custody in 2008 when it decided the case of Rivero v. Rivero. In this decision, the Court held that a parent’s custodial timeshare did not have to be exactly equal for a parent to be considered as having joint custody. The Court held that a parent would be considered as having joint custody if they spent “substantial time” with their child. This decision impacted several areas of Nevada family law. The decision, however, was vague and lacked definition of what would be considered “substantial time.” This left many unsure as to whether a person’s custody situation was to be considered joint or not.

The Court again redefined child custody when it clarified the Rivero decision in 2009. Under the modified decision, a parent now has joint custody of a child if he or she is with the child at least forty percent of the time. So, under current law, a Nevada parent has joint custody as long as they care for their child at least three days per week.

The Rivero decision impacts Las Vegas fathers in cases involving child custody, child support, and child relocation

The Rivero decision impacts Las Vegas, Nevada fathers in a variety of ways. A father has joint custody of his child if the child is with him at least forty percent of the time. This means that father who has his child three days per week will not have to pay Nevada child support if the mother earns more than he does. Also, a father who has his child three days a week will pay a reduced (called an “offset”) amount of child support if he earns more than the mother. Also, more fathers will stand a better chance opposing cases involving relocation of a child outside of Nevada as it is more difficult to move in cases where parents enjoy joint custody of children.

Rivero is a continued part of a national shift towards Courts believing in equal parenting. Again, Nevada is a state which presumes that custody of a child should be shared. If you are a Nevada father, therefore, you can walk into Court knowing that the law does not favor the other parent simply because she is the mother. Attorney Kari Molnar has successfully gained custody for Nevada fathers as well as mothers.