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Las Vegas Divorce Law Blog

Testifying in court in a Nevada domestic violence case

Those who have been the victim of domestic violence or who have witnessed a domestic assault may be asked to testify about that incident. Testimony is generally taken during the trial itself, and it is used to prove that person accused of domestic violence committed the crime. If the charge is considered a misdemeanor, the case will be heard in front of a judge without a jury.

Anyone who is asked to testify in court may seek assistance from a victim witness advocate. This person will be available throughout the trial process to listen to that person and can work with the court to address any witness concerns. It may also be possible for an advocate to accompany a witness to and from the courtroom. A witness only has to testify if he or she has been subpoenaed to do so. Witnesses may include individuals who saw the abuse happen or a police officer called to the incident.

$1 billion divorce settlement deemed a disappointment

Nevada residents may have heard about the divorce of a 58-year-old woman from her oil tycoon husband. She is planning to appeal an Oklahoma divorce settlement ruling that awarded her almost $1 billion. The couple was married for 25 years, had two children together and had no prenuptial agreement. Experts in high asset divorces expected that the judge would have given the woman as much as $8 billion, which would have made it the most expensive divorce ever.

Lawyers for the woman claimed that the majority of her husband's worth was due to his skill and that she allowed him to succeed from his hard work. However, attorneys for the man claimed that the rise in his net worth was due to the rise of oil prices and other factors outside of his control. Therefore, his wife was not entitled to a larger share of his estimated $20 billion net worth.

How does one establish paternity?

Nevada parents may need to establish paternity whether they are the mother or father of a child. If a mother is married, it is assumed that the husband is the father of a child. In all other circumstances, paternity must be established for the mother to collect child support and for the father to exercise his rights as a parent.

If both parents agree on who the father is and the father wishes to acknowledge paternity, the parents can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity. If the father is a minor, his parents must sign another form giving him permission to sign the acknowledgment. If the father will not acknowledge paternity or the mother does not know who the father is, she can contact the local Child Support Office. The Child Support Office can also help in locating the potential father or fathers, and paternity tests can be ordered.

What is a protective order?

There are times in Nevada when a person may need to obtain an order of protection against another person with whom he or she has had a previous relationship. The purpose of a protective order is to either make the other person do some specific thing or to refrain from doing something and thus to help make the protected person safer while preventing the restrained person from causing potential harm.

Protective orders are often issued in cases of domestic violence. A victim of abuse or violence may need to obtain a protective order to prevent the other person from contacting them or attempting to do so through a third party.

Nevada penalties for failure to pay child support

The state of Nevada takes failure to pay child support very seriously and provides several possible penalties in order to compel the delinquent parent to pay. Penalties can start as soon as a parent is one month behind on the court-ordered child support.

When a parent is delinquent by one month, the state will assess a 10 percent penalty and add it to the balance owed unless the delinquency was due to the fault of an employer who was supposed to send the child support payment to the state. If a delinquent parent dies, Nevada will make a claim against his or her estate for the amount that is in arrears.

How is child support calculated in Nevada?

Noncustodial parents in Nevada may want to know how the amount of child support they pay is calculated. The basis for this determination as it is outlined in the Nevada Revised Statutes uses a mathematical formula based on the parent's gross monthly income. The amount may be adjusted if the noncustodial parent owes support for another child.

A child support obligation in regard to a single child is 18 percent of the noncustodial parent's income for one child, 25 percent for two children, 29 percent for three children and 31 percent for four children; an additional 2 percent is added for each child beyond the fourth.

Relocation and child custody for Nevada families

Economic fluctuations in the state's economy can trigger changes for families, occasionally prompting a need or desire to leave the state in search of better employment opportunities. In other cases, promotions or transfers can affect residency. Parents may even seek a new environment that allows them to be closer to family members. However, the impact on a child custody case can be significant because relocation of a child can create obstacles to nurturing the relationship between the child and the parent who remains in Nevada. For this reason, relocation requests receive a high level of attention from the court system.

In seeking permission to relocate with your child, it may be important to demonstrate your reasons for leaving the state and for explaining why these needs cannot be met in Nevada. At the same time, it may be important to demonstrate a willingness to help in facilitating parenting time between your child and the other parent. As you pursue such a request, our attorneys may be helpful for effectively addressing the concerns of the court and of the other parent.

Modifying a child support order in Nevada

In Nevada, some child support orders can be modified, but there are rules about when an order can be modified. Generally, a modification request cannot be issued until the order is at least three years old. However, anyone can request a modification if a change of circumstances has occurred, such as when a parent loses a job and cannot continue making payments at the current amount. Modification requests that ask for a 20 percent minimum change may qualify for a change of circumstances adjustment.

When someone wants to request the modification of a child support order, he or she must contact the district attorney's office about mailing an application. Requests are considered based on whether a case meets federal and state guidelines for an adjustment, and the review process cannot be stopped after it begins. Requests are also reviewed for modification if a divorce decree did not discuss health insurance.

Paternity disputes in Nevada

In Nevada and across the nation, fathers are expected to help support their children. However, there are situations where a man suspects that he may not be the father of a child. The state will order tests to determine the paternity of the child in question in several situations. If a man believes he may not be the father of the child, then he can write a letter to the Chief stating his concerns and requesting further testing.

The courts will also require paternity testing if the mother or guardian of the child does not know who the father is and provides the Chief with the names of more than one individual. There are also situations where the courts may believe that the validity of a paternity claim is in question.

Understanding presumptions against domestic violence perpetrators

Nevada parents who have a history of domestic violence have an uphill battle in acquiring child custody. There are certain procedures that a court must follow if it finds that a person committed domestic violence before he or she can pursue custody.

The court presumes that awarding sole or joint child custody to a person who has a history of domestic violence is not in the best interest of the child. However, this presumption can be rebutted. A history of relevant domestic violence incidents pertains to any acts of domestic violence that are made against the parent of the child, the child him or herself, or any other individual who resides with the child. If the court determines that there is a history of domestic violence, it must establish findings of fact that support that this violence transpired and that the custody arrangement or visitation arrangement will protect the child and any other victim from future acts of violence.