This is the next post in my series discussing the visitation rights of grandparents and other third party persons in a Las Vegas family law dispute. My last post explained how a grandparent may use the discovery process to prove the significance of their relationship with the child in question. In this post I will explain what a grandparent or third party person may need to know about attending a trial for visitation.
Las Vegas third parties and grandparents must prove that maintaining a relationship is in the best interest of the child
A Clark County Family Court trial is relatively short and often lasts half a day to a full day. Such matters are referred to as bench trials because there is no jury and a Judge alone decides the outcome. When a grandparent, or other Las Vegas third party takes a visitation issue to trial it is their burden to prove that it is in the child’s best interest to maintain the relationship in question. A Judge will not overrule a parent’s wishes lightly; in order to win a case a grandparent must produce proof of the relationship in question. Examples of “proof” a Judge may consider might include showing that a grandchild lived with the grandparent for a significant period of time, that a grandparent babysat the child on a regular basis, or that the grandparent financially supported the grandchild.
During the trial your attorney will present any evidence that supports the third party’s claim. This may include bank statements, pictures, emails, text messages, phone records, etc. The Judge may ask the grandparent questions about their relationship with the child. The Judge will also likely ask the parent questions about why they object to the child having visitation with the grandparent. The parent’s attorney will also have an opportunity to present any evidence they have that supports their client’s wishes. At the end of the trial, the Judge will reach a decision that either grants the grandparent visitation or declines to order visitation.
Las Vegas Grandparents must remain calm and avoid emotional outbursts during a bench trial
During a trial most people have the hardest time with keeping their emotions in check. When family members are arguing in Court there is often a long history of arguments, hurt feelings, and resentment which then boil over. It is important to remember that when in Court each side is expected to act appropriate and with dignity. They are not to have “outbursts” when it is not their turn, curse in the Courtroom, argue with the Judge, or provide information beyond the question that has been asked of them. Unfortunately it is not uncommon for one to lose a family law case because they allowed their emotions to get the best of them during a bench trial. Your attorney will do what they can to prepare you for what to expect, and coach you on how to handle tough and personal questions.
If you are a grandparent and believe that you are entitled to visitation with a grandchild then you may have a case. Contact our Las Vegas family law office today to speak with a lawyer. Our attorney practices exclusively in the area of family law.