This is the next post in my series on the rights of Las Vegas grandparents to have visitation with their grandchildren. My last post was an overview of topics that I will be discussing and a brief explanation of Nevada’s third party visitation laws. In this post I will be discussing the rights grandparents may have to visitation when an adult child passes away.
Nevada automatically assigns custody to a biological parent if the custodial parent passes away
Losing one’s child is a heartbreaking experience. Losing the ability to see one’s grandchildren as a result makes such a loss even more devastating. Unfortunately when a person’s adult child, who has primary custody of the same person’s grandchild passes away it can become difficult to continue a relationship with the grandchildren. Nevada law is straightforward. If one parent dies then the other parent is automatically granted custody unless the second parent has had their rights terminated. This is true whether the parent has been actively involved in their child’s life or if they have not had contact with them in many years. Understandably, this is often not an ideal situation, and many grandparents wish to step in and care for the children. There are avenues through which a grandparent may be able to care for the grandchild.
The Clark County Family Court can grant grandparents a guardianship over the child if it is in their best interests and necessary to protect the child’s well-being. This generally happens in the event that the biological parent does not have a relationship with the child or has had very little contact. It may also be granted if the biological parent is unfit to care for the child; for example if the parent does not have stable housing or abuses drugs and alcohol. Guardianships to grandparents are also common in the event that the biological parent is currently incarcerated. However, if the biological parent has maintained routine visitation or contact with the children, and wishes to maintain custody then the best the grandparents can hope for is typically a right of visitation. I discuss the topic of grandparent visitation in this video:
Las Vegas grandparents may file for visitation with grandchildren under certain circumstances
When a parent passes away, in most cases, the other parent values and attempts to maintain the children’s relationship with their grandparents. Unfortunately, there are exceptions; animosity among family members occasionally prevents everyone from putting aside their differences and doing what is best for the kids. If a biological parent refuses to let the grandchildren see their grandparents following the passing of the other parent then the grandparents may be able to petition the Court for visitation. Generally, this is possible if the grandchildren have resided with the grandparents for some length of time. However, the Court may consider if the grandparents have provided routine child care, cared for the grandchildren while the other parent was ill, or have a long history of a close bond. Visitation will not be granted unless it is in the best interests of the child.
If your adult child has passed away, and you are concerned about your grandchildren’s future, you may have options. Contact Las Vegas grandparents’ rights lawyer Kari Molnar today to schedule a consultation.