Child visitation right and laws in Nevada

A court in Nevada may grant visitation rights to a parent who does not have custody. The court will order visitation if it is in the best interest of the child (NRS 125C.0035).

The court's order will set forth the specific time and conditions of the visits. If the parent with custody violates the order, the other parent can take that parent to court to enforce it.1

To help you better understand Nevada's laws on visitation rights, our Las Vegas family law attorneys discuss, below:

mother playing on floor with young child

1. Who is entitled to visitation rights in Nevada?

In most cases, only parents have visitation rights. But in rare cases, the court will grant visitation to someone other than a parent.

1.1. Who is a parent?

Chapter 126 of the Nevada Revised Statutes defines “parentage.” Under NRS 126, the following people are parents:

1.2. Can people other than parents get visitation rights?

Under certain circumstances, people other than parents can get visitation rights. Usually, they must be the child's:

  • Brother,
  • Sister, 
  • Grandparent,
  • Great-grandparent, or
  • Step-parent.

But the court may also grant visitation to anyone else the child has lived with and has a meaningful relationship with.3

grandfather playing outdoors with his two young grandchildren

2. When does a court determine visitation?

Couples separating in Nevada will often agree to custody and visitation rights. Their agreement may be informal or set forth in writing.

A court in a divorce or custody proceeding will accept the parents' decision if:

  • It is in the child's best interests, and
  • It is consistent with state law.4

If a couple cannot agree, the court will determine custody and visitation.

3. How does a Las Vegas court determine visitation rights?

NRS 125.480.4 sets forth the factors a court will consider during a custody dispute. These include (but are not limited to):

  • The preferences of the parents;
  • The wishes of the child (if he or she is mature enough to make an informed decision);
  • The mental and physical health of the parents.
  • The physical, developmental and emotional needs of the child.
  • The nature of the child's relationship with each parent;
  • The level of conflict between the parents;
  • The child's physical, developmental, and emotional needs
  • Which parent is more likely to let the child have a continuing relationship with the other parent.
  • The ability of the child to maintain a relationship with any sibling.
  • Any history of parental abuse or neglect of the child or the child's sibling(s).
  • Whether the parent has a history of domestic violence;
  • Whether the parent has ever abducted the child or the child's sibling(s).

3.1. When can a court deny visitation?

A court can deny visitation if it finds that it is not in the best interests of the child. Or it can order supervised visitation only.

The court will normally choose one of these options if the parent has a history of:

  • Domestic violence against the child or another family member;
  • Parental abuse or neglect of the child or the child's sibling(s). 
  • Any act of abduction of the child or the child's sibling.5

The court can also deny visitation if the child was conceived as the result of sexual assault. (See section 8, below).

3.2. When will a court grant visitation to someone other than a parent?

In Nevada, someone other than a parent seeking visitation must prove that:

  1. The child's parent has denied or unreasonably restricted access to the child, and
  2. Visitation would be in the child's best interests.6

The person seeking visitation must prove this by clear and convincing evidence.

In evaluating the request, the court will consider:

  • The relative's ability to love and guide the child,
  • Whether the relative can provide food, clothing, etc, to the child during visitation,
  • The child's past or current relationship with the relative;
  • A history of financial support by the relative,
  • The relative's mental and physical health,
  • The child's preference,
  • The child's medical needs,
  • Whether he or she will encourage the child's relationship with the child's parents, and
  • Any other evidence relevant to the child's health, safety, and welfare. 
Domestic 20violence 20fist

4. What terms will a visitation order contain?

The law does not fix any specific or minimum visitation times. Every child visitation schedule is unique.

The law simply states that a visitation schedule must be:

  • In the best interests of the child, and
  • Specific enough for a court to enforce.7
Example: A court grants Joe visitation rights as follows:
  • Every other weekend from Friday at 3 PM until Sunday at 5 PM beginning on January 6, 2017;
  • Every Father's Day from 11 AM to 7 PM;
  • Thanksgiving from 11 AM to 7 PM in odd-numbered years; 
  • Christmas Eve from 3 PM to 7 PM on Christmas in even-numbered years; and
  • Spring break from 3 PM on the day school lets out until 5 PM on the day before school resumes.

The schedule will also state the child's address and which parent is to pick up or drop off the child.

5. What happens if I miss a visit with my child?

Visitation is a right, not an order. If a parent misses a few visits, there is not much the other parent can do about it.

But missed visitation days can be damaging for both the child and the other parent. If a parent misses too many days, the other parent can seek to have the visitation order modified.

5.1. What if the other parent prevents me from seeing my child?

A parent in Nevada may not deny the other parent visitation without a good reason. If that parent does so, the court may order “make-up” visits.8

Each "make-up" visit must:

  • Be of the same type and duration as the originally scheduled visit;
  • Take place within 1 year of the originally scheduled visit; and
  • Take place at a time and date reasonably chosen by the parent exercising the visitation right.

The parent must notify the court and the other parent of such times/dates in writing. He or she must provide notice at least:

  • 7 days before a visit on a normal weekday or weekend, or
  • 30 days before a holiday or vacation.

5.2. What if the other parent continues to deny my rights?

If a parent still fails to allow visitation, a court can find the parent guilty of contempt. The court can send the parent to jail until he or she agrees to cooperate.

In the meantime, the court can let the parent out of jail to go to work.9 But the parent faces additional jail time if he/she does not return to jail as required.10

The Las Vegas District Attorney can also charge the parent with a misdemeanor violation of a court order.11

In extreme cases, the D.A. can charge the parent with a Nevada Category D felony.12 Felony punishment can include:

  • 1-4 years in Nevada state prison, and/or
  • A fine of up to $5,000.13.
lonely little Asian girl looking over railing alone

6. Can a parent refuse visitation if the other parent does not pay child support?

Child support and visitation are two completely separate issues. A parent may not deprive the other parent of visitation for failure to pay child support.

The correct procedure is to take the other parent to court on the child support issue.

In Las Vegas, if the parent is far in arrears, the other parent can also contact the Clark County District Attorney. The D.A. may be able to prosecute the parent for the Nevada crime of failing to pay child support.

7. What happens if a parent does not return a child after a visit?

Sometimes parents are late returning a child after a court-ordered visitation. Often this is for an innocent reason. Maybe the parent lost track of the time. Perhaps there was traffic. In such a case there is not much to do except to speak to the other parent.

7.1 Modification of the court order

But sometimes the other parent is irresponsible on a regular basis. Then the parent with custody can petition the court to modify the visitation order. The court will modify the order if doing so is in the child's best interest.

Learn how to modify child custody orders in Nevada and how to determine custody of children with unmarried parents.

7.2. Criminal prosecution

If the parent refuses to return the child at all, that parent may be guilty of the crime of violating a custody order.

Violating a custody order is a Nevada category D felony.14 Penalties can include:

  • 1-4 years in Nevada state prison, and/or
  • A fine of up to $5,000.15
man in suit with large briefcase hurrying a young female child along

8. Do rape victims have to let their child visit the father in Nevada?

A man convicted of sexual assault has no right to custody or visitation of a child of the rape unless:

  • The mother or legal guardian consents and it is in the best interest of the child;16 or
  • The person convicted of the sexual assault was the victim's spouse at the time of the rape.17

If the couple later divorces, the court will assume visitation is not in the best interest of the child. This is a rebuttable presumption. The father may present evidence to convince the court otherwise. If the court grants visitation, it may require that such visits be supervised.

But if the couple was not married, the father has no rights unless the mother consents and the court approves the visits.

9. What if the other parent committed a different crime?

Certain other crimes create the rebuttable presumption that visitation is not in the best interest of the child. Such crimes are:

  • First-degree murder;18
  • Domestic violence against the child, the child's parent or any other person residing with the child;19 or
  • Any act of abduction against the child or any other child.20

The parent seeking visitation must overcome the presumption by clear and convincing evidence. As always, the court must do whatever is in the best interest of the child.

If you are in this situation, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation. Our Las Vegas family lawyers will review the facts of your case to help you determine the likelihood of obtaining visitation rights. 

10. When do I need a lawyer?

Couples who get along may not need legal help with child visitation arrangements. But couples in a custody dispute or who not trust the other parent may desire legal help.

Need help with child visitation in Las Vegas? Call us…

female receptionist

If you need help with child visitation issues we invite you to contact us for a free consultation

Our caring Las Vegas family lawyers can help you negotiate child visitation or enforce your rights.

We can also defend you if the other parent or the D.A. accuses you of violating a court order.

Call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) or fill out the form on this page.

One of our experienced Las Vegas family lawyers will get back to you promptly.

Legal references:

  1. NRS 125C.010.
  2. See also NRS 125C.003.
  3. NRS 125C.050.
  4. See e.g., NRS 125C.002.
  5. NRS 125C.0035.
  6. NRS 125C.050.
  7. NRS 125C.010.
  8. NRS 125C.020.
  9. NRS 125C.030.
  10. NRS 125C.040.
  11. NRS 212.090.
  12. NRS 200.359 (1)(a).
  13. NRS 193.130 (2)(d).
  14. NRS 200.359 (1)(a).
  15. NRS 193.130 (2)(d).
  16. NRS 125C.210 (1).
  17. NRS 125C.210 (2).
  18. NRS 125C.220.
  19. NRS 125C.230.
  20. NRS 125C.240.
  21. NRS 125C.250.
  22. NRS 125C.0689.


Free attorney consultations...

The attorneys at Shouse Law Group bring more than 100 years collective experience fighting for individuals. We're ready to fight for you. Call us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 855-LAW-FIRM for a free case evaluation.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370