This is the next article in my series on handling cases in which an unfit Las Vegas grandparent is requesting visitation with a child. My last article discussed acquiring proof that a grandparent should be denied visitation. The discovery process is the main mechanism for gaining necessary information in such cases. This is why it is important that you retain an attorney with extensive experience in conducting discovery. In this article I will discuss what you should expect from trial in such a case. If you have questions about your situation then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
I have previously discussed what to expect at a change of child custody trial. Many of those same concepts apply to cases involving a grandparent. The party requesting visitation will present their case first. The parent will then put on their case before the grandparent presents “rebuttal” evidence. After closing arguments the Judge will deliberate and reach a decision; there are no juries in the Clark County Family Court. Sometimes the Judge will issue their decision from the bench, immediately after trial, and there will be instances in which a decision will not be issued until a later date. When the Judge rules will typically depend on how complicated the case is, whether the matter is a “close call” in the Court’s opinion, and other factors.
A grandparent who is requesting visitation has the burden of proof. This means that the Court will start off with a presumption that the grandparent should not have visitation. The grandparent must then show that such visitation would be in the child’s best interest. A parent opposing such visitation would want to use their time to present evidence demonstrating that the grandparent is unfit. Such evidence may include past criminal records, any history of alcoholism or drug use, as well as evidence which demonstrates that the grandparent would undermine the parent’s relationship with the child or children. If the case involves a grandparent who has had sporadic contact with the child, has never lived with the child, and who has a history of not getting along with the parents then the Court may deny visitation outright. How a Court will rule, however, will always depend on the specific facts of the case.
One point I cannot stress enough is that you should contact an attorney as soon as possible if your denial of visitation is being challenged. Trial is a complicated process, the rules of evidence will be enforced, and a Judge will often have little patience for someone who does not follow proper procedures. As a Las Vegas family law lawyer I regularly handle such matters. Contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation.