Best Interest Factors for Determining Child Custody

Posted: 11 September, 2019

There are many myths about child custody, mostly spread through television that can make learning the truth from your divorce attorney confusing. When you look at how the court determines custody, you’ll find specific rules on best interest factors for determining child custody that the courts must look at to make that decision. Pursuing primary custody of your child can be tricky since the courts prefer joint custody.

Nevada had a set of statutes determining these best interest factors for child custody. These statutes set rules on what judges must explicitly take into consideration.

The major factors that will cause a parent to lose custody of their child are domestic violence and child abduction. If you have a record of domestic violence or removing your child from the state, your chances of getting even joint custody are slim.

The judge will then look at how well the parents work together. Nevada’s guidelines try to promote good relationships between the child and both parents. The court will look into how well the parents talk to each other and their willingness to co-parent. Are your conversations polite? Are they focused on the best interests of your child instead of any personal grievances? The more agreeable you and your ex-spouse can be, the better your chances of custody.

How agreeable are you and your ex about visitation flexibility? For example, if your spouse wants to trade weekends, will you say, “No, this is what the court order says, so that’s what we’re sticking to” or will you try to work it out? Remember, the more agreeable you can be, the more favorable the judge will look at your case when determining child custody.

Courts will consider the child’s preferences once they reach a certain maturity level. Nevada does not have a set age. It’s up to the judge to see if the child is mature enough to have a reasonable opinion. Usually that starts between ages 12 and 14, but it depends on the child. This gives the child a voice in the decision, not a choice.

Some people get surprised by the factors the courts do not take into consideration. Finances do not have any bearing on the decision. Being motherly doesn’t get you primary custody either. The courts are almost exclusively looking to promote stability for the child and healthy relationships with both parents.

Fore more information on child custody, read our Child Custody A to Z Guide.


The Las Vegas family court uses the best interest factors to determine custody rulings. Their are around 11 main factors that you should consider if you are looking to file for child custody.