Grandparents play an important role in the lives of children. They are an extra set of adults who love their grandchildren, support them emotionally, and can even tend to physical needs such as clothing and food. Grandparents can also be an extra set of eyes on the wellbeing of the child in the home. If the children are in a bad situation, the grandparents may be able to step in and make sure the children are being taken care of. What are the grandparents’ rights if the children are in a toxic environment? Unlike parental rights that remain until they are taken away as a last resort, grandparents do not start off with rights and must prove that it is for the children’s best interest to be in their lives. But there are avenues to gain visitation rights and even guardianship, if the court deems it necessary.
Calling a home situation a toxic environment is not enough for the courts to be involved. One person may define a toxic environment where the child is truly in harm’s way while another may think a parent’s constant sarcasm is toxic. Providing specific examples can paint a clear picture of what is going on in the home. If you are concerned about your grandchildren’s wellbeing, contact a family law attorney to advise you and aid you in how to prove your concerns in a court of law.
Grandparents can have a positive impact on children. But parents have the right to deny visits between their children and whomever they do not want in their children’s lives. This legally includes grandparents. Whether it is because of a disagreement, divorce, or if one parent passes away, in the state of Nevada, grandparents do not have a right to see the child. If you do not believe that the child needs to be removed from the home, but only want to have regular visits with your grandchild, you must prove the necessity of you being involved. Necessity can be determined, but not limited to, by:
- A previously established positive relationship with the child
- If the child has lived with you before
- Evidence of financial assistance given by the grandparent
- The child’s ability to express a desire to see the grandparents
If a child is in a toxic situation either from neglect or abuse and is at risk of bodily, emotional, or mental harm, it is possible a grandparent could gain guardianship over the child. But for a grandparent to gain guardianship, that means the parent or parents lose their rights, at least for a period of time, to have a say in the child’s life. The state of Nevada attempts to keep families together if at all possible unless proof is provided that the children must be removed from the home. Only when the children are removed from the home can a grandparent receive guardianship rights, also known as a kinship foster placement, of their grandchildren.
If you are a grandparent who has concerns for your grandchildren and wants to seek and explore how to obtain visitation or guardianship rights, contact Warnock Family Law to assist you in evaluating the best situation for the children and how to navigate this complicated issue.