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Getting the Final Custody Decree

There are a few more forms that you have to turn in to finalize your custody case. This page explains the process and the different forms so you can turn in your final set of papers to get the final order granted. 

Read each section carefully - every case is different and there are different forms you will need depending on what happened in your case. Your case is not final until the judge signs and files a Decree of Custody!

FYI!

If you have already had a court hearing and you need a final paternity order for the judge to sign, you can download the Paternity Order Packet (pdf fillable).  The paternity order includes everything needed to have the child's birth certificate amended with the correct father's name and a new name for the child (if applicable).  The steps on this page only apply if you are seeking a final custody order.

Questions bw How a final Custody Decree is granted

You are responsible for preparing the final Decree to finish your case.  There are three different ways that a final custody order can be granted:

  • By Default: If the Defendant was served with the summons and complaint but did not file any paperwork within 21 days, the Plaintiff can ask the court to enter a default and grant a final custody order. The Plaintiff may have to go to a short hearing with the judge.  The Plaintiff will typically get a Custody Decree that includes everything asked for in the complaint.  Fill out all of the forms below to finalize your case this way.

  • By Agreement: If both parties reach an agreement on all terms after the case has been filed, they can prepare a final Custody Decree together with their full agreement included. The Defendant must file an Answer and pay the filing fee to do this. Both parties must sign the Custody Decree, and can usually submit the Decree to the judge for approval without a hearing. Start at form 2 below to finalize your case this way. 

  • Granted at a Trial or Hearing: When the judge grants a final custody order at a trial or a hearing, the judge will decide all of the final orders. However, the case is not final until the written Custody Decree is signed by the judge. Usually, the judge tells one party to “prepare the decree.”  Start at form 4 below to finalize your case this way.

Follow these steps to get the final Decree approved: 

Copy bw 1. Fill out the forms.  There are several forms you have to fill out to get the judge to finalize your case.

Clerk bw 2. File the forms. File the completed forms by mail or efiling. 

Judge bw 3. Set a hearing (if needed).  Some judges may want to have a short hearing with you before finalizing the case. 

Online bw 4. Submit the Custody Decree to the Judge. Turn in a proposed Custody Decree to the judge to sign. 

Service by mail bw 5. File the Notice of Entry of Order and serve the other party.  You have to serve the other party with a copy of the final order. 

Learn more about each step below.  

 

Copy bw 1. Fill out the forms

All of the possible forms to get a final Custody Decree are below.  You may need to fill out some or all of the forms; read about each form carefully and fill out the ones that apply to you.  

  1. Default - required if Defendant did not file an answer within 21 days of being served.

    The Plaintiff must complete the default form and submit it to the Clerk’s Office for approval.  Enter the date the Defendant was served on this form (check the Affidavit of Service for the date if you do not remember).  If Defendant was served by publication, the date of service is usually the last date listed under the publication dates on the Affidavit of Publication.

    Default (pdf)  Default (pdf fillable)

    FYI!

    If Defendant made an appearance in the case (in some way that would indicate Defendant planned to participate in the case, such as signing a Waiver), you must send the Defendant a final notice after you get your default approved by the clerk.  The notice tells Defendant you will get a final default order if Defendant does not file anything in 7 days.  Complete the form, file it, and mail a copy to the Defendant.  

    Notice of Intent to Take Default Judgment (pdf)

    Notice of Intent to Take Default Judgment (pdf fillable)

    After mailing, wait 3 business days for the mail to reach the Defendant, and another 7 days for the Defendant to file something to stop the final decree from being approved.  If Defendant still does not file anything after those deadlines, you can turn in the final papers to get a final decree.
  2. Summary Disposition Request - required if you do not want a hearing. This form asks the judge to approve of the Decree without a hearing. Plaintiff usually completes this form. 
     
    Request for Summary Disposition (pdf fillable)
     
  3. Affidavit in Support of Summary Disposition - required if you do not want a hearing.  This form provides some detail about the orders you want the judge to approve.  Plaintiff usually completes this. 

    Affidavit in Support of Request for Summary Disposition (pdf fillable)

  4. Child Support and Welfare Identification Form - required.  This form helps with child support enforcement in the future if needed.

    Child Support and Welfare Identification Form (pdf fillable)

  5. Seminar for Separating Parents ("COPE") Certificate - required. Complete the seminar for separating parents and file a certificate of completion. You will receive a certificate of completion after you attend the class. For more information, see Seminar for Separating Parents.
     

  6. The Custody Decree - required. The Custody Decree is the final order that includes all the final custody orders. How you fill out the Custody Decree will depend on how you are getting the final decree:

    • For a Default Decree: Everything in the proposed Custody Decree should match everything you asked for in your complaint.
    • If both parties are signing the Custody Decree: The Custody Decree must include all of the agreements between you and the other parent. You both must sign the Custody Decree.
    • If there was a hearing or trial: Everything in the proposed Custody Decree must match everything the judge ordered at your hearing. You should obtain a copy of the “minutes” from your hearing from the Court Records department. Make sure everything included in the minutes is included in the proposed Custody Decree.

    Custody Decree (pdf)

    Custody Decree (pdf fillable)

TIP!

If the judge approved of a Parenting Agreement that you and the other parent mediated at FMC, you may want to attach the Parenting Agreement as an “Exhibit” to the Decree instead of the blank visitation schedule that is included with this form. This will make sure your full custody and visitation schedule is included in your final custody decree.

 

Clerk bw 2. File the forms

File all the documents above, except the Custody Decree, with the court. Just like with your initial documents, you can file the papers in one of three ways:

  • Online through eFileNV.   
  • By Mail (Family Court Clerk of Court, 601 North Pecos, Las Vegas, NV 89101).
  • In person at the Family Courthouse (check our How to File page for hours and more information)

 

Judge bw 3. Set a Hearing (if needed)

Some judges want to see the parties in court before approving a final Custody Decree.  Check with your judge's staff about this.   

If the judge wants you to appear in court before approving the final Custody Decree, you have to set an "uncontested" hearing with the judge.  You can do this by filling out a "Setting Slip" and filing it.  A clerk will set a court date for you when you file the form. 

Uncontested Setting Slip (pdf fillable)

CAUTION!

An Uncontested Setting Slip is only used in cases where the judge just needs to approve final orders (because there is a default or there is a full agreement that both parties want to put on record).  Do not use this form to set a hearing if there are issues with the other parent that you want the judge to settle.  Instead, visit Motions for Temporary Orders to find the paperwork to get a hearing with the judge.

Bring your proposed Custody Decree and all of your other legal documents to the hearing.  The judge will ask some questions to make sure the custody order is in the best interest of the children.  If the judge approves, let the judge know that you have an order so the judge can sign the order immediately. 

 

Online bw 4. Submit the Custody Decree to the Judge

You must turn in a decree to your assigned department to review.  If you do not know what department your case was assigned to, you can look it up here: https://www.clarkcountycourts.us/Portal/

If you did not already fill out a proposed Custody Decree with the rest of your forms, make sure to do so now: 

Custody Decree (pdf)     Custody Decree (pdf fillable)

*You can mail the decree to the address below or you can email it to your assigned department.  If you want to email it, check the Department Letter assigned to your case, and email it to the correct email below:

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You can also mail your original Custody Decree to the Family Courthouse (601 N. Pecos, Las Vegas, NV 89101).  

The judge will review the Custody Decree, and if everything is completed properly, the judge will sign the Decree.  If there is a problem with the paperwork, you will receive a memo from the judge’s staff letting you know what needs to be fixed. You will have to fix the problem and resubmit the Decree.

 

Service by mail bw 5. File a Notice of Entry of Order and serve the other party

You have to serve the other party with a copy of the final Decree by filling out a Notice of Entry of Order, filing it, and serving it. The Notice of Entry of Order triggers the timelines for anyone to appeal. If this is not filed, the other party may be able to appeal the order months or years later!

After you get the signed and filed final Custody Decree, fill out the Notice of Entry of Order and attach a copy of the Custody Decree.  You will have to serve the other party with a copy the same day you file it, so be sure to fill out the Certificate of Mailing at the bottom.

File the Notice of Entry of Order (with a copy of the Decree attached). 

Notice of Entry of Order (pdf fillable) 

Make a copy of the Notice of Entry of Order (with the Decree attached) and mail it to the other party. You can mail it by regular mail.