This is the next post in my series discussing the rights of grandparents when it comes to asking for child visitation in a Clark County Family Court dispute. My last post explained what happens during a trial when a third party asks for visitation rights. In this post I will look at the opposite side of the argument and explain how a Las Vegas parent may defend against a grandparent who is seeking visitation. Parents who find themselves in such a situation should contact an attorney immediately.
Parents and legal guardians automatically have the upper hand when it comes to a third party coming in and asking for visitation of their children. In this type of situation a Judge will begin with the assumption that the parent has a valid reason for not allowing the grandparent visitation of the child. It will be the burden of the grandparent or other third party to prove to the Court that their relationship with the child is so significant that the parent’s wishes should be overruled. A parent does not necessarily have to provide the Court a specific “reason” for leaving the grandparent out of the child’s life- particularly if the child has not had a relationship with the grandparent in the past. If the grandparent and adult child duo simply do not get along, and the parent has never allowed the grandparent to be a part of the child’s life, then the grandparent will not have a case. It is important for parents to understand that the Court will only hear third party cases in which the grandparent has enjoyed a significant relationship with the child at one time and is now being blocked by the parent.
There are a number of ways a parent can defend their decision to block a grandparent from seeing a child in Family Court. During your initial consultation with your attorney it will be important to explain why you do not believe visitation is in your child’s best interest. Reasons may include that the grandparent has put the child in danger, has been negligent while caring for the child, is abusive or emotionally damaging in some way, etc. If the reason has more to do with the parent’s personal relationship to the grandparent, it is possible to argue that the child is not damaged by not having a relationship with the grandparent. If a child is not close with their grandparent, or simply does not want to have a relationship with the grandparent, a Judge will likely take that into consideration, particularly with older children.
When a third party such as a grandparent sues for visitation, it is often due to unusual or specific family circumstances. While Judges generally side with the natural parent in such matters, it is important to consult with a qualified family law attorney, and not attempt to handle the matter by one’s self. Contact our office today for a consultation.