This is the next article in my series on the handling of Las Vegas child custody cases in which a Court has granted “teenage discretion” in regards to visitation schedules. My last article discussed the limits upon a teen in deciding which parent they will spend time with. It is important to understand that, under Nevada law, a teen may be granted permission to choose where they spend their time, but they must follow the spirit of the custody order. This means that a child, who is under joint custody of his or her parents, must split their time between the two households. In this article I will discuss how “parental coaching” impacts the Court’s allowance of teen choice. If you or a loved one are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a fathers’ rights lawyer.
Teenage discretion is, in part, based on the fact that Clark County Family Court Judges will consider “the wishes of the child” when deciding on a custody arrangement. The more mature a child’s thought process is, then the greater the weight which a Judge will give to that child’s preferences. There are, however, other factors which the Court must consider in custody situations. These factors include the responsibility of each parent to promote a relationship between their counterpart and the child. If one parent is prompting a child, who has discretion, to spend more time with them, and to ignore the other parent, then the Judge may rescind the child’s discretion.
Suppose a parent is telling a child, who has been granted discretion, that the child can gain concessions by choosing to stay at their residence. These concessions can be more spending money, allowing a boyfriend or girlfriend to “stay over” more, less supervision, etc. This form of bribery/coaching would likely be viewed as an attempt by the offending parent to frustrate the relationship between their counterpart and the child. This type of effort would be frowned upon by the Judge. It would violate the requirement that a parent promote a relationship between their counterpart and the child. Also, it would bring into question why the child is choosing to stay with a particular parent. In other words, coaching a child to exercise their discretion can result in that discretion being rescinded by the Court.
The first step in modifying a custody order, based on parental coaching, is to file a Motion with the Court. The Judge will hold a hearing and, depending on the circumstances, may issue a temporary change in custody. A trial date may be set so that the Court can decide how custody should be handled on a more permanent basis. How the Court will rule in any given situation is always going to depend on the specific facts of the case. It is, therefore, important that you discuss your situation with an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible.
If you believe that the mother of your teenage child is coaching them to exercise their discretion, then contact my office today to speak with a Las Vegas fathers’ rights lawyer. I devote my practice to the handling of family law and I am experienced in handling such matters. I pride myself on providing quality service and I am ready to assist you.