Question asked on Feb. 8, 2021
Q: I’m step mom, this is for my husband and his son Michael who will be 17 on March 15. Mom sent an email to dad stating that Michael was too much stress in her home because of grades, chores and being disrespectful. So she put all of his belongings in trash bags (excluding anything she had purchased) and told us he was going to come live with us and to come pick him up, we could make whatever decisions reference his job, license, car etc.. she then continued to say it was temporary and she would give us ample notice when she’d like him back. Our response was ok we’ll talk to Michael. Mom went 6 weeks without any contact and he had been with us for 11 weeks. During that time he obtained a job working 25 hours a week, his permit with our address, purchased a car, scheduled his driving test with no opposition from mom. We decided to transfer him to the high school near us when mom was made aware she did not agree and stated that Michael come back that day or she would call the police.
A: The law of teen-age discretion in Nevada is not what many think it is. Most recently, the Nevada Supreme Court in Harrison v. Harrison, 132 Nev. ___, ___ P. 3d ___ (Adv. Opn. No. 56, July 28, 2016), restricted the use of the doctrine to essentially be non-substantive. That said, Nevada law permits a “child of suitable age and discretion” to have input as to his custody, and this 17 year old seems to qualify. Every case is different, of course. You should look over the factors for a change of physical custody, posted here, and then consult with a family law specialist, in this firm or another, to determine your best course of action.