This is the next post in my series on how Las Vegas parents can deal with grandparents after the death of the child’s other parent. My last article served as an overview of topics which this series will be addressing and stressed the need to contact an attorney if, unfortunately, you find yourself in such a situation. I cannot stress enough that you should call counsel as soon as possible; the sooner you resolve any disputes then the better it is for the child. In this article I will discuss another important topic – why Nevada law assumes a parent’s decision to deny a grandparent visitation is valid. If you have questions then contact my office today to speak with a family law lawyer.
Under NRS 125C.050 a grandparent may Petition the Clark County Family Court for visitation with a child. In deciding whether visitation is appropriate the Court’s sole concern will be the child’s best interests. In determining what is in the child’s best interests the Judge will consider factors such as the prior relationship between the child and the grandparent, the grandparent’s moral fitness, the grandparent’s mental health, the preferences of the child (depending on the child’s age and maturity level), as well as other factors. It is important to understand that a parent’s decision to deny visitation will be presumed valid. This means that the Judge will begin the case under an assumption that the grandparent should not receive visitation. It is up to the grandparent to show that, in fact, visitation would be in the child’s best interests.
There is good reason why the law presumes that a parent’s decisions are valid. Our society is based on the idea that parents, and not the Courts, should be the ones deciding what is best for a child. This is due to the fact that a Judge does not personally know family members, did not personally witness past interactions between individuals, and does not know the child on a personal level. Also, the Court system tries to not interfere in parental decision making any more than necessary. Our society does not want to create a system in which the Court regularly makes decisions on behalf of the parent in regards to education, medical care, and other issues traditionally decided by a parent. While the presumption in visitation cases may be frustrating to many grandparents, the fact of the matter is that it exists for good reason.
If you are dealing with a visitation dispute then contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation. As a Las Vegas family law attorney I have dealt with many grandparent related issues.