Ending a short-term marriage with children can be difficult. No matter the length of the marriage, your family court judge is always going to consider your child’s best interests when making decisions about custody, visitation, holiday schedules and vacation time. In Nevada, our child custody laws give our custody judges 13 different factors to consider when deciding child custody (yes 13 factors!). These include:
1.The historical timeshare of the parents with the child
2.The wishes of the child if he/she is “of sufficient age and capacity to form an intelligent preference as to his or her custody.”
3.Any nomination by a parent or guardian.
4.Which parent is more likely to allow the child to frequently see/contact and have a relationship with the other parent.
5.The level of conflict between the parents.
6.The ability of the parents to cooperate to meet the needs of the child.
7.The mental and physical health of the parents.
8.The physical, developmental and emotional needs of the child.
9.The nature of the relationship of the child to each parent.
10.The ability of the child to maintain a relationship with any sibling.
11.Any history of parental abuse or neglect of the child or a sibling of the child.
12.Any history of domestic violence with the parent of the child or the child
13.Any abduction of the child by a parent
So now that you know what a judge will consider, you should look at the following issues when ending your short-term marriage if you have children:
The amount of time the child spends with each parent is usually the biggest issue in any divorce case that involves kids.
We have written tons of articles on child custody so we will keep this section somewhat brief.
If you are ending your short-term marriage and you have children, you will need to address legal custody, physical custody, regular visitation, holiday visitation and vacations just to name a few issues.
For brief refresher…
Legal custody is the right to make decisions about your child. Almost every case in Nevada ends with parents sharing joint legal custody. This means both parents have equal access to the child’s school records, medical records, religious upbringing, etc.
Physical custody is most easily described as the amount of time your child spend with you and the amount of time your child spends with the other parent. Nevada law favors joint physical custody. In Nevada, joint physical custody doesn’t have to be 50/50. It can be a 60/40 split or as long as the child spend 67.5 hours a week with one parent, our judges will consider this joint physical custody.
Regular Visitation: This will depend on whether you have joint physical custody or one parent has primary physical custody. When reaching an agreement on the regular visitation schedule, you should consider the age of your child, your child’s emotional and developmental needs as well as practical issues like where your child attends school or whether or not your child participates in extra-curricular activities.
Some standard 50/50 custody schedules include: week on/week off which looks like this: A 2-2-5-5 schedule which looks like this:Or 3-4-4-3 schedule which looks like this:
In addition to the regular schedule, you will need to consider holiday time and vacation time with your child once you divorce. For more information about creating a holiday and vacation schedule visit our friends at CustodyXChange.Once you have decided on the custodial designations a regular visitation schedule, holidays and vacation time, you will need to calculate child support.
Generally, child support is decided based upon the physical custody designation.
In cases where one parent has primary physical custody, the non-custodial parent’s income is the only income considered by the Court.
The Court will apply a percentage to the non-custodial parent’s gross monthly income to determine the monthly child support amount.
For example, if the non-custodial parent makes $5,000 per month in gross income and there is only one child, child support will be established at 18% of the non-custodial parent’s income or $900 per month.
If both parents have joint physical custody, then both parents’ gross income are considered.
So, if we take our example above and one parent makes $5,000 per month and the other makes $3,000 per month and there is 1 child, we apply 18% to both parents’ incomes. The parent who makes more will pay the parent who makes less the difference. The parent making $5,000 a month owes $900 in child support and the parent making $3,000 a month owes $540 per month. Therefore, the parent making $5,000 per month will pay the other parent $360.
Our example above assumes that there are no statutory caps (maximums) on child support AND that there are no deviation factors.
In dealing with child custody, some other things you might want to consider include:
Communication: How will you communicate with your child when the child is with your ex? Do you want to be able to call every day? Do you want to be able to Skype or Facetime with your child when he is with your ex?
Transportation: Who will do transportation for exchanges? Will the receiving parent pick up the child? Will you meet your ex for exchanges? Will other people be allowed to exchange your child if you cant be there?
Health Insurance: Who will provide health insurance for your child? Will you split uncovered medical expenses? What about braces?
· Where will exchanges take place? Will you meet? Will you pick the child up from school? What if it is summer break?
Schooling: Where will your child attend school? Your school zone? Your ex’s school zone? Private school?
Extra Child Related Expenses: Who will pay for extra expenses like extra-curricular activities, school uniforms or tutoring? Will you split those costs with your ex?
Taxes: Who will get the minor child tax deduction? Will it be each year? Will you alternate?
These are just some of the questions that you will need to answer if you are ending your short-term marriage and you have children. If you are in this situation, we strongly recommend you consult with a family law attorney to discuss your options.