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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.

If an evidentiary hearing is held and it is determined that both parties engaged in domestic violence, the court may attempt to determine which individual was the primary aggressor. In making this determination, the court considers the history of violent acts between the parties, the severity of the injuries, the probability of future injuries, any acts of self-defense that led to the domestic violence and other factors specific to the case. If the court is not able to determine who is the primary aggressor, the presumption will apply to both individuals.

If a parent believes that he or she will be alleged to have engaged in domestic violence, the parent may choose to discuss the case with a family law attorney. By doing this, the individual might be able learn about the presumption and any arguments that can be made against it.

Source: Nevada Legislative, "NRS 125C.230  Presumption concerning custody when court determines that parent or other person seeking custody of child is perpetrator of domestic violence.", October 23, 2014

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