Know the Laws: Nevada
UPDATED May 29, 2012
Please consider getting help from an organization in your area before proceeding with court action. To find an organization, please go to the NV Where to find Help page.
The steps you will need to take when filing for custody and the forms you will need to fill out may be different for each county. To find out exactly how to file for custody in your county, you can contact your local courthouse. Please see our NV Courthouse Locations.
Some pieces of information that Nevada law requires you to give when filing for custody are:
If your or your child's health/ safety would be in danger if the abuser (or another party) saw this information, you can request that it be kept confidential. In that case, the information would be sealed and it can only be released if, after holding a hearing, the judge decides that it is "in the interest of justice" to release the information even after considering any health/safety concerns.**
As with all custody issues, we recommend that you talk to a lawyer. To find a lawyer or legal aid program in your area, please visit the NV Finding a Lawyer page under the Where to Find Help tab at the top of this page.
* N.R.S. §125A.385(1)
** N.R.S. §125A.385(5)
In Nevada, the costs of filing for child custody depend on the county that you live in. You can contact your county courthouse for more information about what the costs of filing are in your district. If you can't afford the filing fee, you can ask whether or not you qualify for a fee waiver. Please see our NV Courthouse Locations page to get the contact information for the court near you.
Although you do not need a lawyer to file for custody, it is highly recommended that you get a lawyer if you can, especially if the other parent has one. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you may be able to find sources of free or low-cost legal help on our NV Finding a Lawyer page under the Where to Find Help tab on the top of this page.
If you plan on filing for custody on your own, you should know that each county in Nevada has a different set of forms for you to fill out. You can start by calling or visiting the civil clerk at your courthouse for more information about the paperwork you will need to file. To find the contact information of a courthouse in your area, go to our NV Courthouse Locations page.
At least two county courthouses in Nevada also have self-help centers that can help you with your child custody paperwork. In Washoe County, you can contact the Family Court Self Help Center by phone at (775) 325-6731 or go to their website. In Clark County, you can contact the Family Law Self Help Center by phone at (702) 455-1500 or go to their website.
If you live outside of these counties, check with your courthouse to see if they have a self-help center, too. Even if you plan on representing yourself, you might want to consider having a lawyer review your papers before you file them.
You can usually only file for custody in Nevada if Nevada is your child's "home state." Note: There are exceptions to the "home state rule" rule - see next section.
Nevada will qualify as your child's home state if:
Note: Leaving Nevada for a short period of time will not change the status as your child's home state.
If you and your child recently moved from Nevada to another state, generally you cannot file for custody in that new state until you have lived there for at least six months. Until then, you or the other parent can start a custody action in Nevada, as long as your child has most recently lived there for at least six months. There are some exceptions - please see the next section.
If you and your child recently moved to Nevada from another state, generally you cannot file for custody in Nevada until you have lived there for at least six months.* Until then, you or the other parent can start a custody action the state you moved from, as long as your child has most recently lived there for at least six months. There are some exceptions - please see the next section.
Here are some examples:
* N.R.S. §§ 125A.085, 125A.305(1)(a)
Yes. You can file for custody in Nevada if either there is no other state that can qualify as the home state (for example, if the child has not lived in any other state for the past 6 months) or if the child does have a home state and:
Figuring out if you qualify for one of these exceptions can be complicated. If you think this law might apply to your situation, it might be best to talk to a lawyer in both Nevada and in the other state that you recently lived in.
For a list of legal resources, please see our NV Finding a Lawyer page.
Also, even if you have not lived in Nevada for six months, you might be able to apply for temporary emergency jurisdiction (power to hear the custody case). Nevada could have temporary emergency jurisdiction if:
* N.R.S. §125A.305(1)(b)
** N.R.S. §125A.335(1)