This is the next post in a series of articles discussing visitation rights for grandparents and other individuals in Las Vegas, Nevada. In certain limited circumstances, a non-parent may petition the court for the right to access a child from whom they have been unreasonably denied access. NRS 125c.050 provides a legal process for enforcing these rights. The previous post focused on the process one must follow to initiate a petition for non-parent visitation pursuant to the statute. This post will discuss the importance of the discovery process in presenting one’s case to the court. Because the statute is complicated and given the extremely high burden to oppose a parent’s choice to prevent access to their child, it is imperative that a non-parent engage a lawyer with experience to assist them. If you or someone you know needs legal assistance, contact my office today to speak with an attorney.
Discovery is the legal term for the process by which attorneys gather information about a lawsuit. I have previously addressed the importance of discovery is child custody matters generally. As in the child custody context, the goal of the process is to collect information that may be used as objective evidence when presenting one’s case to the Clark County Family Court. In the case of non-parent visitation, it is extremely important for the petitioning party to be armed with significant proof in support of the request. Discovery will be vital to gaining clear and convincing evidence that it is in the child’s best interest for the court to grant visitation.
Suppose, for instance, that following the death of their son, Grandma and Grandpa were completely denied access to their 5 year old grandson by the child’s mother. Prior to their son’s passing, their son visited Grandma and Grandpa with their grandson every Sunday for lunch for the child’s entire life. The mother, who never attended these visits because she did not get along with the grandparents, now claims that Grandma and Grandpa should not be allowed to visit the child because they are strangers to him. The court’s presumption will be in favor of the mother’s choice by the terms of the statute. The attorney representing Grandma and Grandpa will use the discovery process to gather evidence to dispute the mother’s claims. Through discovery, she can request phone records showing frequent text messages with their son scheduling and discussing the weekly visits and possibly showing mom’s knowledge of the visits. She may also depose the grandparent’s neighbors or contacts at the local restaurants where they were seen frequently visiting. Testimony gained through depositions of family members who will vouch for the previous close relationship may also be important.
Being denied access to a cherished child can be heartbreaking. For that reason, it is essential to contact a Las Vegas attorney with the experience to handle your case. Contact my firm today to speak with a lawyer.