2010 Nevada Code
TITLE 11 DOMESTIC RELATIONS
Chapter 125 Dissolution of Marriage
NRS 125.480 Best interests of child; preferences; presumptions when court determines parent or person seeking custody is perpetrator of domestic violence or has committed act of abduction against child or any other child.

NRS 125.480 Best interests of child; preferences; presumptions when court determines parent or person seeking custody is perpetrator of domestic violence or has committed act of abduction against child or any other child.

1. In determining custody of a minor child in an action brought under this chapter, the sole consideration of the court is the best interest of the child. If it appears to the court that joint custody would be in the best interest of the child, the court may grant custody to the parties jointly.

2. Preference must not be given to either parent for the sole reason that the parent is the mother or the father of the child.

3. The court shall award custody in the following order of preference unless in a particular case the best interest of the child requires otherwise:

(a) To both parents jointly pursuant to NRS 125.490 or to either parent. If the court does not enter an order awarding joint custody of a child after either parent has applied for joint custody, the court shall state in its decision the reason for its denial of the parent's application.

(b) To a person or persons in whose home the child has been living and where the child has had a wholesome and stable environment.

(c) To any person related within the fifth degree of consanguinity to the child whom the court finds suitable and able to provide proper care and guidance for the child, regardless of whether the relative resides within this State.

(d) To any other person or persons whom the court finds suitable and able to provide proper care and guidance for the child.

4. In determining the best interest of the child, the court shall consider and set forth its specific findings concerning, among other things:

(a) The wishes of the child if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form an intelligent preference as to his or her custody.

(b) Any nomination by a parent or a guardian for the child.

(c) Which parent is more likely to allow the child to have frequent associations and a continuing relationship with the noncustodial parent.

(d) The level of conflict between the parents.

(e) The ability of the parents to cooperate to meet the needs of the child.

(f) The mental and physical health of the parents.

(g) The physical, developmental and emotional needs of the child.

(h) The nature of the relationship of the child with each parent.

(i) The ability of the child to maintain a relationship with any sibling.

(j) Any history of parental abuse or neglect of the child or a sibling of the child.

(k) Whether either parent or any other person seeking custody has engaged in an act of domestic violence against the child, a parent of the child or any other person residing with the child.

(l) Whether either parent or any other person seeking custody has committed any act of abduction against the child or any other child.

5. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 6 or NRS 125C.210, a determination by the court after an evidentiary hearing and finding by clear and convincing evidence that either parent or any other person seeking custody has engaged in one or more acts of domestic violence against the child, a parent of the child or any other person residing with the child creates a rebuttable presumption that sole or joint custody of the child by the perpetrator of the domestic violence is not in the best interest of the child. Upon making such a determination, the court shall set forth:

(a) Findings of fact that support the determination that one or more acts of domestic violence occurred; and

(b) Findings that the custody or visitation arrangement ordered by the court adequately protects the child and the parent or other victim of domestic violence who resided with the child.

6. If after an evidentiary hearing held pursuant to subsection 5 the court determines that each party has engaged in acts of domestic violence, it shall, if possible, then determine which person was the primary physical aggressor. In determining which party was the primary physical aggressor for the purposes of this section, the court shall consider:

(a) All prior acts of domestic violence involving either party;

(b) The relative severity of the injuries, if any, inflicted upon the persons involved in those prior acts of domestic violence;

(c) The likelihood of future injury;

(d) Whether, during the prior acts, one of the parties acted in self-defense; and

(e) Any other factors which the court deems relevant to the determination.

In such a case, if it is not possible for the court to determine which party is the primary physical aggressor, the presumption created pursuant to subsection 5 applies to both parties. If it is possible for the court to determine which party is the primary physical aggressor, the presumption created pursuant to subsection 5 applies only to the party determined by the court to be the primary physical aggressor.

7. A determination by the court after an evidentiary hearing and finding by clear and convincing evidence that either parent or any other person seeking custody has committed any act of abduction against the child or any other child creates a rebuttable presumption that sole or joint custody or unsupervised visitation of the child by the perpetrator of the abduction is not in the best interest of the child. If the parent or other person seeking custody does not rebut the presumption, the court shall not enter an order for sole or joint custody or unsupervised visitation of the child by the perpetrator and the court shall set forth:

(a) Findings of fact that support the determination that one or more acts of abduction occurred; and

(b) Findings that the custody or visitation arrangement ordered by the court adequately protects the child and the parent or other person from whom the child was abducted.

8. For purposes of subsection 7, any of the following acts constitute conclusive evidence that an act of abduction occurred:

(a) A conviction of the defendant of any violation of NRS 200.310 to 200.340, inclusive, or 200.359 or a law of any other jurisdiction that prohibits the same or similar conduct;

(b) A plea of guilty or nolo contendere by the defendant to any violation of NRS 200.310 to 200.340, inclusive, or 200.359 or a law of any other jurisdiction that prohibits the same or similar conduct; or

(c) An admission by the defendant to the court of the facts contained in the charging document alleging a violation of NRS 200.310 to 200.340, inclusive, or 200.359 or a law of any other jurisdiction that prohibits the same or similar conduct.

9. If, after a court enters a final order concerning custody of the child, a magistrate determines there is probable cause to believe that an act of abduction has been committed against the child or any other child and that a person who has been awarded sole or joint custody or unsupervised visitation of the child has committed the act, the court shall, upon a motion to modify the order concerning custody, reconsider the previous order concerning custody pursuant to subsections 7 and 8.

10. As used in this section:

(a) "Abduction" means the commission of an act described in NRS 200.310 to 200.340, inclusive, or 200.359 or a law of any other jurisdiction that prohibits the same or similar conduct.

(b) "Domestic violence" means the commission of any act described in NRS 33.018.

(Added to NRS by 1981, 283; A 1991, 980, 1175; 1995, 330; 2005, 1678; 2009, 218, 222)



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