Grandparent Visitation Rights in Nevada
Family circumstances sometimes disrupt the special bond between a grandparent and grandchild, depriving the grandparent of time with the grandchild. In some situations, a Nevada statute allows a grandparent to petition the district court for visitation with a grandchild. The law is complex and imposes specific requirements that must be met for a judge to award grandparent visitation rights.
When Can a Grandparent Ask the Court For Visitation Rights?
A Nevada statute, NRS 125C.050, allows certain individuals to request visitation with a child who is not their own, including grandparents. However, specific requirements apply. The statute does not provide a process for obtaining grandparent visitation rights in every situation.
The law provides that a grandparent may ask the district court to grant visitation only if the non-custodial parent of the minor child:
- Is divorced or separated from the custodial parent;
- Is deceased;
- Never married the other parent of the child but cohabitated with the other parent or is deceased or separated from the other parent; or
- Relinquished his or her parental rights or had those rights terminated.
In addition, a grandparent may file a petition in these situations only if the child’s custodial parent denies or unreasonably restricts the grandparent’s visits with the child.
When Will the Court Grant Grandparent Visitation?
In deciding visitation issues, the court determines what is in the best interests of the child. The law sets criteria that apply to that determination. The legal burden of proving that visitation is in the best interests of the child is on the grandparent.
The statute provides that if the custodial parent of the child denies or unreasonably restricts grandparent visitation rights, there is a rebuttable presumption that visitation is not in the best interests of the child. To rebut the presumption, the grandparent must prove by clear and convincing evidence that visitation is in the best interests of the child.
In determining whether the evidence overcomes the presumption, the law requires the court to consider a number of factors relating to the child’s interests, including:
- Emotional and other ties between the grandparent and the child;
- Grandparent’s capacity and disposition to provide love and guidance for the child and ability to serve as a role model for the child, as well as the capacity to provide food, clothing, health care, and satisfy other needs of the child;
- Prior relationship between the child and grandparent;
- Preference of the child, if the child is sufficiently mature to express a preference;
- Grandparent’s moral, mental, and physical health fitness;
- Grandparent’s willingness to encourage the child’s relationships with his or her parent(s) and with other relatives;
- Child’s medical and health needs as affected by visitation; and
- Other factors relevant to the situation, as determined by the court.
The court’s decision will be based on the evidence presented in court by the petitioning grandparent, as well as evidence provided by the custodial parent.
Process For Requesting Grandparent Visitation Rights
The law authorizes the district court to grant visitation rights in a divorce decree, in an order of separate maintenance, or on petition of the grandparent. A visitation case involves a complex process, application of complicated legal rules, and compilation and presentation of evidence in court. Counsel and representation by an experienced family law attorney is essential.
If you file a visitation petition in Clark County, the Family Court likely will require the parties to go through mediation to attempt to resolve the visitation issues. If mediation fails, the matter goes to trial before the district court judge, who holds a hearing for both parties to present evidence.
Before the court hearing, the parties will be able to collect evidence through discovery, which is a legal process for gathering evidence. In preparation for the court hearing, your attorney will conduct discovery on all matters that are relevant to the judge’s determination on visitation issues.
Like many family law proceedings, a visitation case often involves strong emotions on both sides. Keeping those emotions in check during the process is imperative. The judge makes the decision based on facts and evidence, not based on the emotions of the parties. When a knowledgeable family law attorney represents you and presents your case in court, the focus will be on the facts of the case that support your request for visitation.
Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Las Vegas Family Law Attorney About Grandparent Visitation Rights
Las Vegas family law attorney Joseph Gersten assists clients with all types of domestic and family matters, including grandparent visitation matters. His trial experience and investigative background are especially beneficial in situations that involve gathering evidence and presenting it in court, like visitation cases.
If you have questions about your visitation rights as a grandparent, or if you are defending against a visitation petition, Attorney Gersten can help. Your initial consultation is free-of-charge. The Gersten Law Firm serves clients in Las Vegas, Henderson, and throughout Clark County. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.