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Do Grandparents Have Custody Rights?

Having a stable, committed, and continuous relationship with a trusted adult can make all of the difference in the life of a child. Research into resiliency shows that a quality relationship with at least one adult can significantly impact how a child overcomes trauma. For children who are living in an unstable or unpredictable environment with one or both parents, the grandparent/grandchild relationship may be the only stable relationship in their lives. If you are a grandparent with concerns about your grandchild’s living situation, you likely have questions about your rights for visiting your grandchild or obtaining custody (guardianship). If your adult child is restricting your access to your grandchildren or not providing adequate care, there are some legal steps you can take to make sure your relationship with your grandchildren remains intact.

Grandparent visitation rights

In a healthy situation, parents have the right to decide who gets to spend time with their children. Nevada law does provide some legal options for grandparents who want to visit their grandchildren. According to Nevada law, the grandparent must ‘prove by clear and convincing evidence that it is in the best interests of the child to grant visitation.’ If your grandchild is living in an unstable environment, it may be easier to provide evidence that grandparent visitation is in the best interest of the child. Ultimately, the burden of proof is on the grandparent to provide evidence. This can be a confusing and difficult to navigate situation. If you are seeking visitation rights to your grandchildren, your chances of success are much higher if you work with a family lawyer who has experience helping grandparents stay connected with their grandchildren. 

Grandparent custody (guardianship) rights

Grandparents can gain custody (guardianship) rights in situations where the parents are unable to provide adequate care. Situations that include physical abuse, neglect, substance abuse, or mental illness can leave the children at risk and cause the authorities to become involved. Kinship foster placements are a common option when children are removed temporarily or permanently from a home. A kinship placement means that the children get placed in the custody of a family member. Grandparents can be considered for a kinship placement in these situations. If your grandchildren have already been removed from the custody of their parents, a family law attorney can help you with the process of gaining custody of your grandchildren. If your grandchildren are still in the custody of their parents but you have concerns about their safety, you will need to involve the local authorities to get the situation assessed. Nevada law makes it possible for grandparents to gain custody (guardianship) rights in situations where the grandchildren have to be removed from the custody of their parents. It is a good idea to talk to a family law attorney if you think that your grandchildren will be removed from parental custody. Getting started early can help you gain custody more quickly and potentially prevent your grandchildren from going to a foster home.

The laws related to grandparent visitation and custody rights are complex. There are a number of factors that come into play and it can be overwhelming if you do not have a deep understanding of the law. A positive relationship with grandparents can have a lasting impact on the life of a child. Gaining visitation or custody rights to your grandchildren is a worthwhile cause. Schedule a time to talk to a family law attorney to go through your options and gain a deeper understanding of your rights.