Jessica Anderson Letters

To ask Jessica your legal questions, please fill out the form here.


Is there such a thing as a “Financial Separation” available in Nevada, even though the marriage is 17 years old, without having to file for a divorce?

From: Karen

Yes, you can do one of two things.  You can either separate your financials by entering into a post-nuptial agreement that you both agree to and sign.  Otherwise, you can file a Petition for Separate Maintenance (i.e. Legal Separation).

Please let me know if you want to come in to discuss either issue.

Thanks, Jessica

Hi Jessica, My husband and I were living in Reno until I decided to leave him. I am currently living with my parents in Anaheim CA. I tried to submit the divorce here in CA but one of the requirements are to have lived in Ca for the last 6 months. Can I submit the divorce in Reno and how long would the process take? We do have one child and he has no desire of fighting for custody nor I want child support from him. Thank you

From: Eva

Hi Eva:

You definitely need to get divorced in Nevada.  Because you have not lived in California for six months, Nevada is the only state that has jurisdiction over the custody and child support (which by law have to be dealt with in any divorce decree).  The uncontested divorce process is very quick.  It can take only a few weeks.  Please let me know if you would like to have a consultation with me.  I’m happy to give you more information regarding the exact procedure.

Jessica Anderson

In my last court date we asked for mediation they gave us 3 days to contact the mediation office. What if the other party doesn’t contact the office? Well they hold off mediation until they hear from that party? Or well they continue and meet with the party that contacted them? Thank you

From: Chelsea

Hi Chelsea:

Mediation can’t happen unless both parties participate.  The mediator will send a report to the court that he did not contact mediator and the court will either enter another order reminding him of his obligation to complete mediation or at the next hearing he’ll have to answer tough questions from the Judge.

Hope this helps.

Jessica Anderson

Jessica, I divorced my ex 3.5 years ago and we had a business together. I have a court order for him to pay me monthly and he has stopped doing so. I took him back to court but I can’t afford to pay an attorney upfront because of the financial situation he has left me. But he has an attorney. The judge told me to go to the free attorney days at the court which I have tried. The attorneys there feel my case is too far over their head plus it’s during my work hours. I’d have to go every week to get my answers. Do you have any other options for me to be able to get my ex to pay? It’s a difficult situation and I need help. Please advise!!!

Thank you, Terri

It is going to be difficult to find an attorney that is willing to finance the litigation for you.  Most attorneys take credit cards, if that is any help to you.  If you want to come in and talk about your case, I charge $300 for “coaching” consultations.  I’d be happy to point you in the right direction and advise you on what arguments to make, what points are important, etc.  Let me know if you want to come in.


I’m hoping you might be able to help me. I’m 23 yrs old and I have been seperated from my husband for over three years now. He is a Canadian and we got married in Canada in 2008 when I was 18, we were together for about 8 months after we got married, but it fell apart and I stopped pursuing becoming a citizen and moved back home to Carson City.

We have no chlidren and do not have any possessions to split up, so I went down to the courthouse and got divorce papers, filled them out and sent them to him so he could fill them out on his end. He claims he went to a divorce lawyer in Canada and was told those won’t work for him to get a divorce in Canada. Is this true? The only thing I want for Christmas is a divorce. I have had this looming over my head ever since I moved back and I just want it over, but I don’t know how to proceed. Do you know what I can do to finally get a divorce so I can move on with my life?

From: Courtney 

Hi Courtney:

You can get a “status divorce” in Nevada that will be recognized by the United States so long as you have been residing in Nevada for 6 weeks.  You can’t divide any property or get any orders regarding alimony, since the court here does not have personal jurisdiction over your husband, but you can get a judge to declare you divorced.  I can’t imagine that a Canadian court would not recognize a divorce decree issued by a US state but I cannot advise you on Canadian law.  There could be a nuance that I don’t know about  You may want to double check with a divorce lawyer in Canada.  I’m sure you can get a telephonic consultation arranged.

Good Luck!

Jessica, Thank you so much for taking the time to read this email. I’m sure you get tons of these emails every day so I thought I’d try to be one of them! I listen to you lots on Alice! So, I guess it’s worth a shot to ask… Do you/Can you recommend a lawyer (or someone) who can help with me at no charge? I know it’s alot to ask but I’m not able at this time to pay anyone.

I am interested in Divorce help. I do have the Self-Help forms but have not filled them out because I’m really just not sure what/how to do them. We do have a 7 year old daughter so adding that to the mix is difficult. My ex and I have a big problem communicating and there are some substance abuse on his side that makes things SUPER difficult and I just don’t know what to do – custody and all that. I’m sure I just rambled on and on and probably made no sense! Any help you can offer would be amazing! Thank you so much again, for your time and any help!

From: Elizabeth

Hi Elizabeth:  I’m sorry that you are having trouble with custody issues.  The system can be daunting and custody litigation is very expensive.

There are not a lot of attorneys who can financially afford to work for free but there are some who do as part of their civic duty to give back to the community.  Unfortunately, many young lawyers have substantial student loans to pay off, and other financial obligations,which prevent them from taking pro bono cases.  More established attorneys often have large caseloads and are too busy to devote significant time to pro bono work.  I did a lot of pro bono work in my first few years of practice and try to take a few cases a year.  I just opened a new practice so it is not something I can do at this time.

Have you tried Washoe Legal Services?  When attorneys are interested in doing pro bono work they put their name with WLS.  You should check there.

One service I can offer is called “coaching”.  I can help you fill out the self help forms and give you advice on how to proceed for a $300 per meeting fee.  You would then represent yourself at the hearing.  Please let me know if that is something you would be interested in.
Good luck,
Jessica Anderson


Hello, My name is “B”, and I am writing to you to ask a few questions. I have been in the life of a child, as his mother figure for 8 years now. I refer to him as my step son and he refers to me as his step mother. His father and I have been together for 8 years this June, and we have been engaged for 4 years. Before we got together there was a custody order in place for 50/50 split custody. That worked for the most part, until my stepson “JB” was put into sketchy situations at the other parties house. CPS had stepped in and gave the other side of the family regulations to follow in order for that custody order to work. At some point during the time that the regulations were waiting to be met, JB’s other side of the family left to LA. We were given temporary physical custody by CPS or the Courts. At the time she was not involved with JBs life we tried to file for abandonment, but every 5.5 months she would make contact so CPS wouldn’t allow us to file. For the last 4 years, JB has lived full time with us, went to the school by us, and only has visited the other side of the family few and far between. Never on the original custody order and never with any rhyme or reason. One reason he hasn’t been with that side of the family is because they will only make contact every 45 days or so and when they do want to see him, we have already made plans, he has plans with friends, or he simply doesn’t want to go over there. He is 11 and he doesn’t have a designated place to sleep, and as of recently he didn’t even know where they were living because they moved so often. He doesn’t like the chaos. He’s very high anxiety as it is, so we do allow him to make those decisions, within reason. Last week JB’s other side of the family decided that she wants to go back to the original custody order from 9 years ago. She showed up at our house demanding we give him to her for the week, and even called the police. I know its not a police matter and its a civil matter so the police weren’t at the house long. All of this chaos stressed JB out and he said he does not want to live there. He is worried he would never go to school,(they live over 15 miles from his school and JBs mother doesn’t drive) and he wouldn’t have his own space. So.. My main question… would we file a motion to change custody, or would we just file for full custody in general? Im only involved because I wake up every day, just like his father and go to work to provide for him. I have done this for 8 years. He has a rhythm, and a schedule, and structure, and rules, and amazing grades, is involved with sports.. everything with us. And now, after 4 years of this, its all he knows and she wants to just slip back into the original custody. Is this something we can do on our own, or should we get a Lawyer? What can we do?? We need help! Thank you!


You absolutely should file a motion to change custody.  Under the facts you have described I would also ask for sole physical custody.  JB should have stability and a predictable schedule.  His maternal family should not be able to just “drop” into his life at their convenience.  The standard in all custody cases is best interests of the child.  She will have to show that it is in the child’s best interests to resume visitation.  If she never jumped through the CPS hoops and then moved away, she will have difficulties with this.

The self help center does have a packet to file a motion to modify custody without representation, but obviously people are more successful in these endeavors if they have attorneys.

If you want to come in and talk more about this, please call my office to set up a consultation.




Hi Jessica thank you for taking the time to read this. I am currently married but the marriage is all but over. The one thing that keeps me here is my son. I want to have complete custody of him and be able to move back to my home state. She constantly yells at him daily and I want to take him with me and get him out of that situation. I’ve tried to offer everything from marriage counseling and anger management but none of it has been agreed to and I’m just tired of it. At one point she threatened to take our son and leave. I don’t want her being able to just take him and go to her moms because then I think she becomes the custodial parent. I pay for everything our apartment all the food medical bills etc etc and it’s not even about any of the money all I want is my son with me and safe from any more yelling. I have a journal I’ve been keeping with dates times and specific information on the yelling episodes. I don’t have enough money to get a lawyer and I know her mother has money and can afford a lawyer. I want to do right by having my son with me and I want to end up leaving the state to live where I grew up. I’m so lost as to what to do or how to go about it and naturally I have the fear of loosing my son when I’ve seen more mothers winning custody then fathers. Any information would be so greatly appreciated and thank you so much for your time.

From: Brian

Hi Brian:

Full custody is a pretty rare thing and primary custody to one parent is usually only awarded in circumstances of substance abuse, physical abuse or mental health issues.  Even if you can show that mom is deficient in some way as a parent, the State policy encourages frequent visitation with the non-custodial parent, which typically means every other weekend.  I don’t think mothers are favored any more in Nevada, however, joint physical custody (equal time with both parents) is favored.

If you want to relocate to another state, then you need to get permission from the court as part of the divorce.  You would file your complaint and ask for primary custody and permission to relocate.  You will have to show how mom is going to maintain a relationship with your child if you are permitted to move.  Would she be able to afford visitation?  Since you would be the move away parent, you would likely have to pay for at least one half of the costs of visitation- flights, etc.  You would also have to show why that state is a better place for your child to live.

I can tell you that if she has an attorney and you don’t, you are at a substantial disadvantage in a relocation case.  They are really difficult even when you have an attorney.  If you have no one you could borrow money from to pay an attorney, then you should file a motion for attorney fees.  Since you are married, if her mom is giving her money, she should have to share that money with you so that you are on an even playing field.

If you want to come in to discuss this more, please feel free to make an appointment.  775-823-0049.  We charge $200 for an initial consultation.

Good luck,

I have a custody case that was originally done in California Stanislaus county, both parties left the state, me being in Nevada and the father in Washington state. We were told the orders stand until it is opened in another court, I can’t open it here due to the children involved live in Washington with the father. This year is my year for the holidays with them and he isn’t complying with the orders, my question is how can I go about enforcing those orders? I have attempted contacting him numerous times with no reply. He had our 14 yr old daughter text me saying they weren’t coming, is that against orders? I appreciate your expertise in this.

Thank you, Melissa

Hi Melissa:

If the children have lived in Washington for the last 6 months, then Washington is now their home state and is the only state that has custody jurisdiction.  You need to get an attorney in WA, domesticate your custody decree from CA (basically file it in WA so that now it is deemed a WA order) and then proceed in WA to enforce your rights.

It is probably too late to make anything happen for this Christmas through the courts, but you definitely need to bring it to the Court’s attention, otherwise a new status quo may be established.  Perhaps a letter from an attorney in WA will get his attention and make the visit for xmas happen?  You can ask the court to hold him in contempt of court which can carry punishment of fines and even jail time.  What he is doing is in violation of a court order.

Hope this helps.

Hello my name is Amanda I have an ex and we have a baby girl together, we have split up and neither of us have any established custody, my daughter is 16 month old and my ex’s mother lives in Arizona and have never seen her granddaughter, so long story short his mom asked me if she could buy a airplane ticket for my ex and the baby for Christmas. I said he could take her but I am worried that he might not come back. My question is what should I do to make sure he has to bring her back.? Just because there is a return flight doesn’t mean he has to return, he lives with friends and works for a temp company, any help to what I should do would be greatly appreciated. Thank you Amanda in Reno

From: Amanda

Amanda:  First, I would make sure that the agreement you have regarding this trip is in writing.  An email acknowledgement from him regarding when he intends to return your daughter is enough. If for some reason he does not return your daughter and attempts to stay in AZ, you should immediately file a Petition to Establish Custody and Support, in addition to an Emergency Motion for Custody and Pick Up Order here in NV, which, if granted, will allow AZ law enforcement to help you get your daughter immediately returned to you.  Nevada is the child’s home state and the only state that has jurisdiction to enter any custody orders regarding your child, so you would go through the courts here and AZ could not legally enter orders granting him custody.  What you are talking about is basically kidnapping and treated very seriously by the courts.  He would be risking his future custodial rights by engaging in this kind of behavior.

If you need more advice, or if you would like to proceed in formalizing your rights, please feel free to call and make arrangements to come in for a formal consultation.

Good Luck

Hello Jessica Anderson. My ex boyfriend and I have joint custody with our two year old daughter. He lives in Carson city with his girlfriend. He gets our daughter every Friday and every other weekend. I have never met his girlfriend. Now I have come across that she is posting pictures of our daughter on social media websites. I have confronted my ex about this and that I am uncomfortable that someone I don’t know is posting pictures of my child on a social media websites without my consent. He has stated that he has told her, but I have come across that she continued to do so. My question is there any way I can proceed with any legal action towards her?

From: Tabitha

Hi Tabitha:

That is a tough one.  If you are uncomfortable with your daughter’s pictures on social media then you need to continue to voice your concern to your daughter’s dad and hopefully he will understand and respect your wishes.  However, as your daughter’s dad, he also has the right to make decisions regarding your daughter.  If he consents to the posting by girlfriend, then there is really nothing you can do through the courts.  You might be able to get the social media site to take the pictures down.  Obviously, if the pictures are inappropriate in nature, you can contact law enforcement.

This is the inherent problem with sharing custody post-divorce/break up:  You simply can’t control everything that happens at the other house.  The best advice I can give you is to choose your battles.  You don’t want to spend your daughter’s entire childhood fighting about things you can’t control.  An even better idea would be to try to become friends (or at least polite acquaintances) with your ex and your ex’s girlfriend.  If you could express your fears about social media directly to her, she might understand.  I can tell you for certain that your daughter will have a much happier childhood if you guys can all get along.

Best of luck to you.

Hi Jessica, I’m a single mom of a year old baby girl. Her father and I were never married and have been split since before she was born. He is however on the birth certificate and loves her very much. We do the best we can right now with making equal time with her. My question is, is it possible for me to obtain full custody of my daughter? I have no intentions of taking her away from her father, but to protect myself in the future, I’d like to know what my rights are. I’m not originally from Reno and don’t see myself always living here, so what rights do I have as an unwed mother to move out of state with her? When she starts school and I am living elsewhere, maybe, how does the court decide custody in those situations. Though I am more financially stable and have a career that provides for majority of the baby expenses, like I said her father tries and is good intended as a father. I would just like to know that if it came down to it, I would hopefully have primary custody of her and can still live how I want to in regards to moving or sharing custody. Lastly, is it suggested we go to court? And from what I’ve read, NV favors joint custody, so is it impossible for me to obtain joint custody to ensure a stable environment for our daughter? Thanks again, I look forward to your advice Naomi

From: Naomi

Hi Naomi:

First, I think it is great that you and your daughter’s father are able to co-parent.  Good for you.

At this time, without a custody order, you are technically the primary custodian as the mother of a child born out of wedlock, so you could change your parenting schedule.  However, all Dad has to do is file a Petition to Establish Custody and show that the status quo has been joint physical custody since birth and the court would likely award equal parenting time.

Your potential move out of state is a different issue.  Technically, right now, you can move with the child without court or Dad’s express permission (this assumes that you have no custody order-VERY IMPORTANT).  However, if you move, all Dad has to do is file a Petition to Establish Custody.  Since Nevada is your daughter’s legal “home state”, the Nevada court would likely make you return to Nevada with the child and a future move is in jeopardy by what will likely be characterized as “absconding” with the child to another state.

The best thing you can do for yourself and your daughter is continue to share joint custody, assuming this is in the child’s best interests.  I would suggest that you do this formally through the courts so that you guys have a custody order to guide you. Keep very accurate records of who had her when and who does the day to day parenting (i.e. doctors appts, school, dentist appts., play dates, etc.).  If there comes a time when you have a good opportunity and want to move out of state, first you will ask his permission.  If he says no, then you file a petition to relocate and petition to modify custody.  It is always an uphill battle to move when you have two active parents but try to remember that it is better for your daughter to have a meaningful relationship and bond with both parents.  It is difficult to do when one parent lives out of state.

I hope this helps.

Thanks for listening.

I am wondering how visitation would work if I was never married to the child’s father and if he hasn’t really been a part of the child’s life for the last 5 years. At this point I am also not getting any financial help.

From: Ashley

Hi Ashley:

If you want to clearly establish his rights to visitation and his financial obligations, you would need to file a Petition to Establish Custody and Support.  The amount of visitation depends on what the court determines is in the child’s best interests.  The amount of child support will be based on the statutory calculation and based on his gross monthly income.

Hope this helps.  In you need more information, please feel free to call my office and schedule a consultation.

Jessica Anderson

Hi Jessica: First, I think it’s great that you take these questions. I am the stepmom to a very sweet 3.5 year old boy. My husband and I live near a school in which we intend to send our child to (note – I am currently pregnant with said child). My stepson’s mother also lives near a different school. She has already made the assumption that he is to attend this school. She said “I’m the mother and judges favor mom’s so you have no say.” However, our school is ranked number 2 in the state and hers is ranked number 281. My husband refuses to allow his son to attend this school. I’m frustrated a) that she made the assumption it was her decision and 2) her only reason is that our school is “too far to drive.” We have also thought about sending him to a private school, but I assume she would have to pay 1/2 that cost? We have him 4 days a week and she has him 3. I would also like both children to be in the same school even if only for a couple of years. How is this decided? What action can we take? Thank you!

From: Sue

Hi Suzanne:

I assume that bio mom and dad have joint legal custody- in which case, neither parent gets the “veto” power over the other.  They have to agree on a school or they have to put it to a mediator, co-parenting coordinator or their Judge.

You certainly have great arguments in your favor, that your school is better ranked and that you have a sibling that will go there.  Unfortunately, the baby isn’t of school age yet so that argument isn’t as strong as it would be if the sibling were already attending the school you want your son to go to.  Who knows where you’ll be in five years?  You may move, etc. (arguments I would make if I represented bio-mom).  You also have him more, which is another argument in your favor-although the schedule is still within the parameters of joint physical custody, so probably not the strongest argument.

These cases are always tough to deal with and are 100% governed by what is in the child’s best interests.  In a perfect world both parents would live in the same school zone and this would not be an issue.  Ultimately, it may come down to which school offers the best opportunity for both parents to be actively involved in school (which is in the child’s best interests).  For instance, if her school is on dad’s way to work, but mom will have to drive 20 miles in the wrong direction to get him to your school, she may get her way.

FYI if she made those offensive comments in email or text, save them.  That kind of mentality may be the deciding factor for the Judge.

Also, unless their custody agreement provides for shared expense of private school that is not likely something a court would order.

If she won’t budge from her position then you need to get a ruling on the issue far in advance of the time he starts kindergarten.  If he is enrolled at her school it is going to be more difficult to change after he starts going there.  Judges like to keep the status quo.  So if you are going to do something, you need to do it soon.

I hope this information helps.  Let me know if you want to come in for a consultation.  823-0049.

Happy Holidays!  Thanks for listening.


I am 8 months pregnant. The father has not been in the picture and hasn’t help pay any doctor bills, let alone show up to the doctors appoinments. And if he doesn’t sign the birth certificate does he have any legal rights to my child? This has been a roller coaster love/hate relationship. When I conceived the baby we both planned to have a baby. However, it seems the father wants no part or cares about how the baby has been thriving. I am just wondering if I wanted to move outof state I wouldn’t need his permission if he isn’t on the birth certificate, is that what I am to understand? Thank you. At a Loss…..

From: Amber


If he is not on the birth certificate and there is no court order establishing his custody rights, then you can move without his permission.  If there is an order you MUST have his permission otherwise it is a class D felony to remove the child from the state.  If you want child support from him then you will have to establish paternity and get the district attorney on board to collect from him.  If he ever wants to see his child, all he has to do is file a petition with the court for visitation and the Judge decides if it is in the child’s best interests to have a relationship with Dad–so this issue may follow you wherever you go depending on how much involvement he wants to have.

If you want to come in for more information, please give me a call.

I hope this helps.

Best of Luck!

How does a Pro-Per individual request a custody case to be heard in a new dept in the same county? I asked the 3rd floor receptionist at the court house who referred me to the self help desk. The self help desk said there was no form to request it and didnt have an answer. I have a divorce case from 07 that custody has been heard in a specific dept and I feel the judge is bias and I have never won a motion in 6 years. The last motion i submitted for modification was automatically denied before mediation or a hearing was granted to consider the motion. I am at my wits end, no one has answers for me.

From: Sharon


It is extremely difficult to get a Judge removed from a case for bias.  If your motions are being automatically denied, it probably means that you are doing something procedurally improper.  I suggest you retain an attorney to at least file the proper motion.  The system is not very user friendly and if you have issues that need to be presented to the court, an attorney can help you.  If you can’t afford an attorney, then you should go to Washoe Legal Services or Lawyer in the Library.

Good Luck!

I divorced my ex husband almost 2 yrs ago, we have 2 daughters together and in the divorce decree it was ordered that he pay said amount for child support and that he have them every Friday night.

Well, he only paid said amount for about 3 months and has only had the girls like 5 Friday’s in almost 2 yrs. I have them full time and work and he isn’t paying for anything concerning them. He hasn’t helped with medical expenses or even come to visithis kids when they were sick. Didn’t even call. He lives like two buildings away from us in the same apts and only sees the girls like once or twice a month for a couple minutes and then leaves, If that…

I’ve had to get a restraining order on him before due to threats and I would like to terminate his parental rights because I don’t think he deserves to have a say in raising them, do i have a chance of getting that? Or should I simply take him to court for child support. I’d rather him just be out of their lives completely than take his money…

From: Yvonne

Hi Yvonne :

If you terminate his parental rights, you also terminate his parental obligations and he would no longer be on the hook for child support.  I think it is in your children’s best interests that they have the financial support of their father.  I advise that you go to the child support division at the district attorney’s office and fill out the paperwork to have them seek ongoing child support and back child support from your ex-husband.  They can garnish his wages and his tax refunds.  The district attorney provides this service at no charge- it is funded by the taxpayers.  They are aggressive and diligent.

I hope this helps.

Best of Luck


Hi Jessica, My ex-husband told me 3 weeks ago he got laid off from his job and wouldn’t be able to pay child support yet just went on a 112 day vacation to England and Paris. He will get unemployment benefits and he also get about $2,000+ in Military retirement pay. He now lives in Long Beach CA and our Divorce was filled in Las Vegas. How do I make sure he continues to pay his child support?

From: GC

Dear GC:

If you have a court order for child support, that order is enforceable until such time as the Court formally modifies the obligation.  This can either happen via a stipulation between you and your ex or by way of your ex filing a motion to modify his obligation based on a change in his financial circumstances.

Unless you agree, the court will only change his obligation if he can show that his income decreased.  If he still has an earning capacity and is willfully unemployed, then the court will impute income to him.  In other words, he can’t just stop working for purposes of avoiding his support obligations.

The important thing to know is that you can keep enforcing that court order no matter what his circumstances are.  The ball is in his court to change his obligation.  Until the court changes it, he still owes.

If he is not paying his court ordered obligations, then you can either 1) file a motion to have him held in contempt or 2) go to the district attorney child support division to get your child support order enforced.  They may be able to garnish his unemployment benefits.

Good luck!

Hello Jessica, My son and his girlfriend had a baby girl 08/20/12. He met her while attending college in Ohio. My son was born and raised here in Nevada. They both have had an on again, off again relationship and both still reside in Ohio. They do not live together (anymore) and there is not a court order on visitation, or child support set in place at this time, only verbal agreements. She graduated from college two years ago and has a full time job working from home making $36,000 . My son just graduated college and while attending college has had a part time job. He made about $11,000 last year. Since graduating college this past May, he just started working a roofing job that pays $15.00 an hour. He adores his daughter and sees her as often as he can. He also wants to do the right thing and support his daughter and has done so since she has been born. Unfortunately, they don’t always see eye to eye (surprise!) on things which makes matters even more trying for the both of them. The baby is mainly home with mom and goes to daycare twice a week. Mom’s family also lives in Ohio and is a big help with the baby. I don’t know if you can advise on this because they live in Ohio, but how much should my son be paying her a month for child support? Is it 18% of his gross monthly wage and is there a minimum amount to be paid? He gives her $350 a month right now based on some Ohio child support law calculator that she used to determine this amount. I have tried to do some research on this matter (Ohio vs. Nevada law), but am still confused? Thank you for any help you can provide!

From: Toni

Hi Toni:

Since the baby and both parents reside in Ohio, Ohio law will govern both custody and child support.  I am not licensed in Ohio and therefore I can’t give any advice regarding Ohio law.

I can tell you that most states use a formula when calculating child support that is based on parenting time and both parents’ income. Nevada’s % of gross income based approach to child support is not common among the 50 states.

You should either contact an attorney in Ohio, or do some online research regarding how child support is calculated in Ohio.  Sometimes you can find a basic calculator that allows you to plug in the income numbers and percentage of parenting time and it spits out a child support figure.  Your son should start paying child support even if there is no order to do so.  Most states allow a custodial parent to go back up to 4 years for back support.  If he starts paying now, he may avoid a big judgment against him down the road.

Hope this helps.

My husband has been paying child support through wage garnishment for about four years now. As of July 11th of this year, his ex-wife kicked their son out of her house (she had physical custody). The child support garnishment is still occurring, although the son has not lived with the mother for five months. The mother is not spending much, if any, of this money on the son. The son just turned 18 in October, but we were informed by the DA’s office that the garnishment will occur for another few months, while some back child support that was due is caught up. We have no issue with the child support payments, but we can’t get a clear answer from the DA’s office on how to make sure the money is going to the son, versus going to the ex-wife. This is around $1400 that she’s taken, without having to support her son. The son is now living in a group home, which is provided for by SSI. What is your advice on how we get the money to go directly to my husband’s son, plus get the $1400 she’s taken from us and get that to the son, as well? Thank you!

From: Caddie


When your stepson moved from mom’s house, your husband could have filed a motion to modify custody/child support to have the court redirect the child support payments in a more equitable manner.   Until the motion is filed, however, the child support obligation continues to accrue.  A modification of child support is not retroactively modifiable–meaning, you can’t go back and change an obligation that has already become due.  Since your stepson is now 18 and the only thing left to pay is arrearages, the time to file a motion to modify the obligation has passed and your husband is stuck paying the arrearages.

Sorry that I do not have better news for you guys, but thanks for listening to me on Alice.


If you are trying to get out of a relationship that’s not working out but your boyfriend tells you that you can’t take the baby with you can because you have no right and he will call the cops? Can he do that???  Can he take the baby from me.. Please I need to know!!

From: Carla

Carla:  So long as there is not a court order in place, you may take your child with you.  If you are not married, your boyfriend does not automatically have custody rights.  You, as the mother, are the presumed primary custodian of the child born out of wedlock pending a court order.  You should leave with your child and then set up a visitation schedule with the child’s father so that he cannot say that you restricted his access to his child.

I hope this helps.

Hi Jessica, thank you for the service you provide and answering our questions. I always enjoy hearing what you have to say. So my question is my boyfriend and I have a 5 month old son together. We’ve been together about 3 years. I moved in with him when I was about 7 months pregnant. It’s not going as well as I had hoped and I am thinking about moving out. Am I able to move with my son or do we have to establish some sort of custody first?

From: Brandi

Hi Brandi:

You can move out at any time, with or without his consent or the court’s authorization.  If you intend to move out of state with your child you may do so long as there is no custody in order in place.  The only caveat is that if you move and he files a custody petition in Nevada, you will have to come back here to litigate that issue.  If, however, you live in the new state for at least 6 months, the new state becomes the home state of your son and any custody litigation will have to take place in that state.  I hope this makes sense.

Thanks for listening.

Good morning, Ms. Anderson: In June, 2012 my daughter lost custody of her two children. Her ex-husband, a Navy Chief, took custody. My daughter spent 12 months turning her life around, pursuing an early children development degree, but not working. In May, 2013, she got a minimum-wage job at a mini mart and promptly got smacked with garnishment of her wages due to arreares in child support dating back in June, 2012. She makes $800 a month, her ex-husband makes $4000-plus a month. She sees her kids every other weekend, but can’t spend time with them because she has to work to pay child support and chip away at arreares. She even has to pay for child care. Now, her bank account is being frozen and her driver’s license is in the process of being suspended because of the arreares. So she can’t drive, she can’t work, she can’t pay bills. How does this make sense? We do have an attorney. He’s working on the legal matter that resulted in her losing the kids last June and although we have confidence in him, what I’d love to hear from you is, “Sue the ex-husband for $1 million and do it tomorrow.” THAT would make me feel SO much better. What is your take on this matter? Ex-husband lives in Fallon, Nv. My daughter lives in Susanville, Ca.

From: Connie

Hi there:

Unfortunately for you daughter, child support is paid by the non-custodial parent no matter what.  The income of the custodial parent is irrelevant in this situation because he has custody of the children the majority of the time, and therefore, incurs the majority of the expense associated with the kids.  The wage withholding is standard, as is equal division of work related childcare expenses.  I’m surprised that her drivers license and bank account are being jeopardized.  Usually if a percentage of the arrears are being paid, the State will not take such measures.  The only time I have ever seen a drivers license suspended is when an obligor parent was ignoring the district attorneys notices and refusing to pay anything towards the arrearages.

My advice would be for your daughter to work with the district attorney.  They can only take 25% of her gross income for ongoing child support.  They can only take 10% of the child support obligation for the arrearages.

Fighting child support orders is generally a losing battle.  The law is definitely on the side of the custodial parent.  If she gets back on track, the way out of the child support nightmare is to get custody back.

Good Luck


Hi Jessica, I was bullied into surrendering my week on/week off joint custody issued in the “Decree” of my son through mediation. My Ex & the mediator ganged up on me & made me feel like I wasn’t doing the best for my child (because of our fighting & arguments) and he would be better off where he(my son) wants to be. Not even asking my son!

After a very bitter & long divorce, still unresolved, my EX put my son in a forced position to chose sides by telling my son “I didn’t want him, I left him & she doesn’t like you because you remind her of me,” My son just told me about this issue with his father a few weeks ago, he told me one day, “why should I you don’t love me & you don’t want me!” Ultimately making my relationship with my son strained in which we argued & fought over everything. He is very disrespectful & violent to me & my daughter from his anger.

Anyway my question is– the papers in the mediation office that i signed to give up my son, says that mediation doesn’t change the Decree for custody. I was ordered to pay child support but nothing in mediation was discussed about that being a result of signing over my son or I would have never signed that paper & I would have gone back to court to have my side equally heard. My EX will not go get a job that can support himself & the son he wanted so badly & now wants me to pay him for taking my son away from me. This is a horrible burden & should not be the case, I should have been made aware that child support will be a factor. I’m so disappointed in the family law justice of the dept that has heard our case! This is our 7th year now & still going back & forth to court over things he agreed to in original decree. Any advise or suggestions for me to tackle yet another unjust order from this court.

Also, just wanted to give you this info; at time of divorce Ex had really good job & I was stay at home mom with kids for 3 years, I gave up my Insurance Agent license to stay at home. He was ordered to pay child support & he went to work the next day & got himself fired to avoid paying me anything!!  My attorney said I have never seen such a thing & shook his head.

At that time, my EX said since we were now both unemployed that we both should secure employment of the same magnitude so as to neither of us should have to pay child support.  It was agreed to by me. I went back to insurance work, got my license back and started my life again working.  Now that he is just a waiter & I’m back to my prior occupation, still struggling to make ends meet.  He sued me for child support. How does this happen ?? Why??? I really need some help. I am now again out of work & will be filing to stop child support which I will be doing soon.  With huge gratefulness for your time & advise I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you so much,



I’m not sure when you signed your modified parenting plan resulting from the mediation, but you have 19 days from receipt of the draft parenting plan to object to the mediated agreement.  If that 19 days has passed, and you agreed to give Dad primary physical custody, then you have to show that there has been a substantial change of circumstances affecting the welfare of the child and that the change back to joint physical custody will substantially enhance the child’s welfare.  It is a pretty difficult burden to show unless something major has happened since the change of custody.

If you want to set aside the Order based on fraud or misrepresentation, then you have to file a motion to set aside within 6 months of the Order.

Child support is based on custody, so if custody changed, child support changes too.  If you are the non-custodial parent, then you pay child support.  That is the law and there is no way around that.

I’m sorry that you are having a difficult time.  If you would like to come in and have an in person consultation, please call our office.  823-0049.  We charge $200 for a one-hour consult.


I have been with my boyfriend for 5 years. He has 3 boys with his ex-wife. We would LOVE to get married but have been told that if we do the ex can take US to court with our combined incomes and get her child support raised. I recently heard that isn’t true at all. We are going to get married regardless of court…we are not going to allow this worry to stop us from our happiness. We would just love some clarification…knowledge is power! Thank you so much for your time.

From: Charmaine

Hi Charmaine:

Your income is not directly relevant for child support purposes.  Your fiancé’s gross income is what the court will use to determine support.  The only time your income would come into account is if you earned a significant living, so much so that it greatly increased your fiancé’s standard of living so that support based only on his income would be unfair.  It is very rare for a new spouse’s income to be taken into account.  I certainly would not let that get in the way of your plans to get married.

I hope this answers your question.  Thanks for listening.

Jessica Anderson

First thank you for reading my message So I have three kids my oldest is not my ex husbands but he still treats him like he is his own we decided when we seperated that he could pay 300 a month for child support. Only because I was to nice since he has a lot more bills then me we have been seperated for 3 years and divorced for 8 months I got engaged and my fiancé is willing to put me and the kids on his insurance even know it states on the divorce papers my ex will pay for it. My ex said he would pay for it but lately he has been seeing someone and this women does not seem to have respect for my wishes and so my ex has started to act the same way wanting to take my kids and spend the night at the girl friends house when they have only been dating for 2 months with out even asking me if ok. When every time I go to take the kids out of state or to spend the night somewhere I ask there dad’s ok and so I was wondering if there were any suggestions my kids are 14,11,8 I will start needing more for them but unless I go back to court he won’t give me more money even know it states if he makes more he will give me more any help would be very great full thank you. Holly

From: Holly


You and your ex-husband need to trust one another to make appropriate decisions regarding your kids during your custodial time.  You do not need to get one another’s permission before taking them out of town, etc.  You just have to make one another aware of where kids are going to be, etc.

As far as support goes, child support is statutory so it depends on his gross monthly income.  Since the decree requires him to pay child support for his stepchild and since he has treated that child as his own, I would expect that support to continue for that child.  Health insurance costs need to be equally divided regardless of which parent procures the insurance.

If he won’t voluntarily agree to an increase in support, you may have to file a motion.  $300 a month for 3 kids seems incredibly low.

I hope that answers your questions.  If you need more help I’d be happy to meet with you in a consultation.

Thank you

Hello Jessica Anderson, thank you for taking time to read my concerns and questions. I have been divorced for almost 8 years, the father of my 2 sons is not involved in their lives at all ( by his choice), I have full custody and sometimes recieve child support through the DA. My question for you is there a way I can ask for an increase in child support?  I work but do not make enough for insurance on my children and make too much for state assistance.  I would like to use the support to get the insurance but the money I currently receive goes to after school programs they are in. Is there some kind of self help form or do I contact the DA’s office? I am unsure of how I am susposed to go about this. Thank you for your time. Mellissa

From: Mellissa

Hi Mellissa:

There is a law in Nevada requiring that parents provide and divide the costs of health insurance.  Talk to the DA-if you provide proof of coverage they may be able to pursue Dad for at least half of the costs.  If the DA can’t help you through their system, you can still file a motion in family court to get dad to share in both health insurance and childcare costs.  If you need more information regarding the motion route, feel free to give me a call and I can get you in for a consultation.


Hi Jessica, my son divorced while he was active duty military. His child support was set in regards to his income. He was medically retired over a year ago. Since his retirement, his pay has been cut dramatically. She receives 37% of his pay now. His ex wife has remarried and now lives in Alaska. Recently she has gone through the child support division of Alaska to claim child support. My son pays child support every week. How does he go about getting his child support reduced? Funds are very limited. Thank you for your time.

From: Michelle

Hi Michele:

If your son lives in Nevada, and the court order establishing child support is from Nevada, he can file a motion to modify child support.  If he cannot afford an attorney, he can go to the self help center at the district court in Washoe County and they should be able to point him in the right direction.  If he would like to schedule a consultation with me, I charge $200 for the initial meeting.  I’m happy to help if I can.

Jessica Anderson

Good afternoon! I was hoping you might be able to help me answer some questions I have on the child support process. I have been a single father raising my son pretty much since the time he was born. When my ex wife and I divorced, she was not really interested in being a parent any longer (she already had one child from her first husband and was paying child support) and I wanted full custody.

Since I wanted to get the situation resolved quickly and smoothly, I agreed that she should pay $100 per month in child support. She did not have the best of jobs and was already paying child support for her first child. Now, 10 years later, she still begrudginly pays $100 per month (I have her check garnished through Washoe County DA’s office) but it really doesn’t cover a fair share of my son’s expenses. Between before and after school care, school uniforms, meals, etc, the $100 is a very small portion.

In summary, my question is, I know my ex wife will not want to contribute more to my son’s expenses, but is there a way I can have the case evaluated to have the amount increased, or will it take getting an attorney and a court room? I hate to do that to any of us as I know she will make things very difficult. As it is now, she sees him maybe one or two weekends a year as she “can’t handle any more parenting time” than that. She also currently lives out of state. What are my options? Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.

Best Regards, Robert

Hi Robert:

Child support may always be modified upon a showing of a change of financial circumstances.  Since you already have a child support case open with the district attorney’s office, that is where you should start.  They should have her current income information.  If 18% of her gross monthly income is more than $100 a month, then her obligation should be increased and the district attorney should file a motion to modify for you.

The fact that she resides out of state may add another wrinkle to the case.  If her obligation is increased per NV law, you may have to have your new order registered in her state in order to garnish at the increased amount.

I hope this answered your question.

Jessica Anderson



Without going into a lot of detail, I am 55 years old. At my mother’s urging, I was adopted by my step-father at 12 (in Los Angeles). He disappeared from my life long ago (hasn’t even met my 24 year old daughter) – he was a jerk. At 25, I reconnected with my father and he has been the most wonderful father and grandfather. Is it possible to reverse an adoption as an adult? It wouldn’t even require a name change, since I’ve been using my husband’s name for 27 years. I can’t seem to find an answer anywhere online.

From: Linda

Hi Linda:

You can’t reverse a prior adoption.  What you can do is have your biological father adopt you now via an adult adoption proceeding.  That will cut your legal tie to your 1st adoptive father.

I hope this helps you.


Hi Jessica, My sister was killed in a head on vehicle accident July 10, 2013, leaving behind a husband, two boys 13 and 5. shortly after her death, my brother in law had a dispute with my mother. Since then, he has not let my mother see her grand children and has been very distant with our family. As you can imagine we are all very upset about this (espcially my mother) and are worried about the boys. Do you have any advice on this? Don’t we as my sisters family have some kind of rights to see the boys?  Thank you, Toni

From: Toni

Hi Toni:

I’m so sorry to you and your family for the loss of your sister.  That is heart breaking.

Your mother does have standing to bring an action for visitation with the grandchildren under NRS 125C.050.  That statute allows certain relatives to petition for visitation if one of the parents is deceased.  Dad has to have denied or unreasonably restricted access to the kids and visitation with Grandma has to be in the children’s best interests.  If you or your mom needs more information about this, I’d be happy to schedule a consultation with you.  Please call us at 823-0049.


Jessica Anderson, thank you for taking time to read my concerns and questions.. Me and the father of my child were married we got divorced and I got full custody of our son. I’m tryin to get my sons passport for the a trip we have to make outside the US & his father signed the constent form because it was required now they need a copy of his ID or Drivers liscence and he refuses to give me a copy.. Is there anything that I can do because I have full custody of my son already? & if worse case scenario I cannot get my sons passport. Can he or his family file for custody of our son while I’m gone?

From: Maria

Hi Maria:

If Dad is refusing to cooperate with obtaining a passport for your son, then you should bring the issue to the Court’s attention in a simple motion asking the Court to mandate his compliance.  So long as the trip out of the country is just for a vacation and not a permanent relocation, the Court will likely enter the order.  If you have to retain an attorney to help you, you may even get attorney fees reimbursed due to his unreasonableness.  If you would like to discuss this issue further, please feel free to give me a call.

Jessica Anderson