This is the next post in a series of articles discussing common issues that arise when Las Vegas parents request supervised visitation for their co-parent. My previous post addressed situations in which a parent makes false claims or accusations about the co-parent’s alleged risk to the child to justify supervised visitation. In many cases, a parent is motivated to exaggerate or falsify claims as a way of gaining leverage in a contested divorce or custody proceeding. It is important to contact an attorney and vigorously defend oneself against false claims, particularly in light of the potential negative consequences an adverse ruling may have on one’s parental rights. In this article I will discuss another important topic – proceeding to terminate the parental rights of a parent who is subject to supervised visitation. If you need assistance with a custody matter, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
A Las Vegas parent’s rights may be terminated under certain circumstances
The termination of one’s parental rights is a serious matter. Once a parent’s rights have been terminated, the parent-child relationship no longer exists as a legal matter. This means, the parent is no longer entitled to contact or visit with the child, obligated to support the child financially, and may be removed from the birth certificate. Because of the significant and permanent impact of such a decision, the Clark County Family Court takes such requests seriously. Similar to requests for supervised visitation, termination requests are scrutinized and only granted in extreme circumstances. Under Nevada law, a Judge may terminate a parent’s rights if the parent poses a serious risk of harm to the child, such as physical, emotional, sexual abuse, or as a result of significant neglect. Additionally, if a parent abandons their child or makes only token efforts to contact or support the child for long periods of time, their rights may be terminated. It is important to emphasize again that only the most extreme situations will justify the Court’s termination of one’s parental rights.
An experienced Las Vegas child custody attorney can help express parents’ concerns to the Court
As stated above, the Court presumes that it is in a child’s best interest to have a relationship with both parents and will go to great lengths to protect the parent-child relationship. This means that the requesting parent faces a high hurdle and bears a heavy burden of proof to demonstrate to the Judge that termination is justified. It is imperative, therefore, to work with a lawyer who has experience with the Clark County Family Court and understands the type of evidence that the Judges take seriously in such matters. For instance, if one parent is already subject to supervised visitation, it has likely already been determined that they pose a risk to the child if left alone together. When requesting termination of rights following a supervised visitation order, therefore, one should be prepared to present evidence that the risk factors have not been corrected or have worsened. This could include, arrests for criminal activity, evidence of extreme illegal drug use, etc.. It is not uncommon for a parent to simply stop attending visits, contacting their child, and paying child support after supervision has been ordered, which may constitute abandonment or token efforts to maintain a relationship. Evidence that the parent has completely abandoned the child for a significant period of time or has made little or no effort to be a part of the child’s life may also support an argument to terminate parental rights.
I have represented numerous Las Vegas parents in custody matters, including supervised visitation and termination cases. My experience in the Family Court has helped me effectively advise my clients through the legal process. If you need assistance, contact me today to speak with a lawyer.