Domestic Violence in Child Custody Cases

How Do Domestic Violence Issues Affect Custody Litigation in Nevada?

As an experienced Las Vegas Child Custody Attorney, having practiced and dealt with these specific issues for over twenty years, it is quite common to have a child custody matter where one parent alleges that the other parent has engaged in domestic violence.  This may be true or it may not be true, as many parents try to use allegations like this to obtain an upper hand in their custody proceedings. But how do Nevada Court’s deal with domestic violence issues once they have been raised, and how does it affect your case?

Domestic Violence in Child Custody Cases

Motions for Temporary Orders When DV is raised

If there truly is an immediate domestic violence issue in a child custody case, usually a Motion for Temporary Orders is filed with the Court and the alleging parent will apply to have the Motion date “shortened” so that the issue can be heard as soon as possible by the Court.  The moving party files the Motion, and supporting documentation and affidavits to have the order signed by the Judge to shorten the normal hearing date. Depending on the Judge’s calendar, a matter could be heard within a few days. The other party must be personally served with all of the relevant pleadings so he has notice of the hearing, though not much of an opportunity to respond if the hearing is set just a few days out.

The Initial Court Hearing on Domestic Violence Issues

Judges in Family Court have a lot of discretion to really do whatever they want to do. This first court hearing can have a huge impact on the rest of your case.  If DV was raised and the hearing was shortened, the judge knows that the responding party and probably the moving party didn’t really have a lot of time to get the full picture together to put before the judge.  Though the moving party obviously had as long as they wanted to get their stuff together before actually filing the motion, so it could have been months, or literally just a day because it was a true emergency. Due to this, it is highly likely the Judge will allow a lot of leeway on arguments and evidence, even if it wasn’t attached to the initial motion as evidence.  

The judge may even allow sworn testimony if it is a real emergency so that she can make the best decision that she can in this situation.  Once the Judge hears everything, she will make her temporary orders for custody, timeshare, and visitation, and likely order an assessment or evaluation, as well as allow Discovery to commence, so that the parties can properly prepare their cases.  The judge will also likely send the parties to Mediation to try and resolve the issues after the initial order is made as Mediation is mandatory in Nevada Courts. Orders for drug testing could also result if any of those allegations are raised at the hearing as well.  Depending on what happened at the hearing, will depend on how far off the next hearing will be and what will be ordered.

How Nevada Court’s handle Domestic Violence

Ultimately though the court is required to have an Evidentiary Hearing if the parties don’t agree at Mediation.  Evaluations and Assessments can help lead to the parties settling the matter. However, if the parties don’t settle the court has no choice but to have an Evidentiary Hearing, which is essentially the same thing as a Trial.  Regarding the domestic violence issue, If you have a recorded history of domestic violence, it creates a rebuttable presumption that granting you primary custody would not be in your children’s best interests. You will be offered an opportunity to rebut that presumption at the Evidentiary Hearing. 

But if you fail to do so, you will not receive primary physical custody or joint physical custody of your children. It might also affect whether you get joint legal custody also. If this happens, it does not indicate that you will never ever see your kids. The custody schedule and terms might be limited to safeguard your kids as the judge sees fit. Depending upon the domestic violence offenses, a judge may take measures like prohibiting overnight visits or need you to have monitored visits. The Court might use a therapist as the manager, or a relative. The court may even need you to finish an anger management course, or put in place other conditions that they believe will ensure everyone’s safety.

Contact A Las Vegas Custody Law Firm

Domestic violence accusations in the Las Vegas Court system are severe and can have a significant impact on your life and the life of your kids. If you have accusations of domestic violence in your case you ought to call a skilled Las Vegas child custody legal representative before the case even starts and before documents are even filed if possible. If you have a DV emergency you should begin gathering your evidence as soon as possible. Huggins Law Office has been helping moms and dads with custody cases that have domestic violence problems for over twenty years.  If you have an issue with domestic violence and need the help of an experienced attorney we offer our initial consultation as a free consultation. So give us a call, you have nothing to lose. Our rates are reasonable and we have the experience you need. Call us at (702) 387-4014 to schedule your appointment today.