Children and their grandparents often have special connections. Many grandparents love and care deeply for their grandchildren and revel in the time spent with them. Similarly, countless children see their grandparents as fixtures in their lives and rely on them for guidance, support, and care. Unfortunately, many legal matters, such as divorce and domestic violence, can complicate these relationships or prevent them from forming.
In this blog, we detail the rights that Nevada law affords grandparents and the steps to protect or obtain these rights.
Explaining Grandparent’s Rights in Nevada
Grandparents do not have guaranteed rights to visit and spend time with their grandchildren. The state generally lets parents decide who spends time with a child and how often. Parents can legally deny grandparents from seeing grandchildren.
As for custody, grandparents are not automatically entitled to custody, even if a parent passes away or has their parental rights revoked by a court.
Despite these provisions, grandparents can petition for court-ordered visitation, custody, and guardianship.
Grandparent Visitation Rights
Grandparents may seek court-ordered visitation for their grandchildren in situations when:
- The child’s parents have divorced.
- The child’s parents have legally separated.
- One or both of the child’s parents have passed away.
- The child’s parents have unreasonably denied visitation.
To petition for visitation rights, a grandparent must file with the district court of the county in which the child lives. The petition must prove the court-ordered visitation would be in the child’s best interests.
To do so, a grandparent can present evidence of any of the following:
- How court-ordered visitation would allow a grandparent to care for a child. This might include feeding them, helping them with schoolwork, and providing them with clothing and other materials needs.
- How a grandparent has financially supported a child.
- The existing relationship between the grandparent and child.
- The grandparent’s physical and mental fitness.
- The grandparent’s character.
- How the child’s physical and mental health would benefit from visitation, such as having someone to take them to doctor’s visits.
- The grandparent’s commitment to fostering a relationship between the child, their parent(s), and relatives.
- The child’s preference if they are mature enough to express it.
Can Grandparents Petition for Visitation Rights for Adopted Children?
Yes, grandparents can seek visitation rights for a child who will be adopted. To do so, they must petition for visitation before the adoption process is completed.
Grandparents and Custody Rights
Grandparents can obtain custodial rights when a child’s parents are absent or unfit to provide for the child. The process of securing custody looks similar to petitioning for court-ordered visitation. A grandparent must prove to a Nevada court that having custody would be in the child’s best interest.
Grandparents and Guardianship
Grandparents can become legal guardians if a child’s parent has demonstrated they cannot provide adequate care. Additionally, grandparents can serve as guardians for adult grandchildren who are incapacitated.
Several kinds of guardianship grant a person (the guardian) the ability to make decisions for a child or an adult (the ward). Like custody, grandparents vying for guardianship must file for it in the county where the ward lives. Then, they need to provide evidence to a court that shows why they are fit to serve as a guardian and how it would benefit the ward.
Turn to an Attorney to Secure and Protect Your Grandparent Rights
Nevada provides numerous avenues for grandparents to seek the legal right to care and provide for grandchildren. However, these processes can be complicated, requiring grandparents to make well-evidenced and sound cases in Nevada courts. This can be especially difficult to do without legal experience.
Have you been unfairly kept from creating and sustaining a relationship with your grandchild? Are you concerned about your grandchild’s well-being and want to intervene? Let our family law attorneys at Leavitt Law Firm hear your story and explore your legal options. Request a consultation today.
Fill out our online contact form with details about your situation or call (702) 996-6052. Our family of attorneys serves those in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Summerlin, Red Rock, and the surrounding areas.