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Third-party visitation rights in child custody cases

There are times when a parent or parents may prevent a grandparent, relative or other person with whom a child has formed a close relationship from seeing the child. The Nevada legislature recognizes that in some cases, third-party visitation should be allowed and granted.

Third parties may petition the court for a visitation order under some circumstances. In order to do so, one or both of the parents must be deceased, one parent is divorced or separated from the parent who has legal custody of the child, one parent has relinquished their rights or had them terminated or the child has previously established a meaningful relationship with an unrelated person with whom the child has previously resided.

When any of these situations exist, upon filing of a petition for visitation, the moving party will need to have a copy of the petition served on the person who has custody of the child. The custodial party will then be able to file a reply and the court will hold a hearing regarding the requested visitation. The moving party must be able to prove to the court that granting the visitation is in the best interests of the child.

It is unfortunate that in some cases, a parent who has custody of a child will prevent a grandparent or other relative of the other parent from continuing to have a meaningful relationship with the child after a divorce. In those cases, the relative or even a third party may petition the court for a visitation order. Unless the parent is unfit, courts will generally begin with the presumption that the parent's wishes are more important, but with the presentation of good evidence that visitation is in the child's best interests, the presumption may be overcome.

Source: Nevada State Legislative, "NRS 125C.050  Petition for right of visitation for certain relatives and other persons.", November 26, 2014

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