Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights in Nevada?

Learn about grandparents’ rights to court-ordered visitation with their grandchildren

Changes in the family structure after a divorce, separation, or one parent's death can disrupt a grandparent's relationship with a grandchild if the custodial or surviving parent tries to limit their time together. This article will explain when and how you can ask for grandparent visitation in Nevada.

Do I have a legal right to spend time with my grandchild?

Yes, in Nevada, grandparents have a legal right to request court-ordered visitation with their grandchildren at any time, including:

  • during or after a divorce, if the child's parents were married
  • after separation of 30 days or more, if the child's parents were unmarried, or
  • after either parent's death, regardless of the parents' marital status.

What do I need to prove in court?

Legal parents have a "fundamental" (constitutionally protected) right to raise their children and make decisions about who they spend time with. However, the court may award you visitation if your grandchild's parent has restricted your access to the child, and you can show that the proposed time is in the child's best interest, considering the child's health, safety, and welfare. The grandparent asking the court for visitation has the "burden of proof" (the duty to provide sufficient evidence) to demonstrate:

  • the grandparent's ability to love and support the child, and provide food, clothing, or other material needs during the proposed time
  • the grandparent and grandchild's past and/or current relationship
  • the grandparent's mental and physical health
  • the child's preference, if mature enough to express his or her wishes
  • the grandparent's willingness to encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child, parent(s), and other relatives
  • the child's medical and other health needs affected by the requested visits
  • any history of financial support from the grandparent, and
  • any other evidence relevant to the child's health, safety, and welfare.

Do grandparent visitation rights extend to other family members?

Yes, any relative or non-relative the child has lived with may request visitation by establishing that the proposed time is in the child's best interest.

Do I still have grandparent visitation rights if my grandchild is adopted?

No, these rights are cut off when the legal parents' rights are terminated through the adoption. You can preserve your rights by requesting grandparent visitation before the adoption is finalized.

How can I get custody of my grandchild?

Nevada courts presume that custody with a biological or legal parent is in a child's best interest, unless a grandparent or other non-parent proves that custody with a natural or legal parent would be detrimental. Once you show the child's parents are unable to provide a safe and supportive living environment, you must demonstrate that living with you would be in the child's best interests, considering the child's health, safety, and general welfare.

How do I start the process?

You will need to file a "petition," (legal papers) in the district court for the county where the child lives. If you already have a grandparent visitation order, but you want more time or the child's parent is preventing you from visiting, you can ask the court to modify (change it) or enforce the order.

If you have questions, you should speak to a local, experienced family law attorney, who can help you navigate this process.

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