When Can a Child Decide They Don’t Want to See a Parent

Visitation rights are a sensitive part of family law. They are especially critical in a lively city like Las Vegas. The situation becomes even more complex on children’s involvement in these decisions.

In Las Vegas, as in many other places, the question of at what age a child can decide to stop visitation is legal. It is also emotional and developmental.

This article explores this topic. It sheds light on the laws. It also covers the role of a child’s preference and the factors that courts consider in these cases.

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Legal Framework Governing Child Visitation in Las Vegas

Overview of Nevada Family Law

Nevada’s family law sets the rules. Las Vegas handles how visitation is covered. It covers laws and rules that govern family relationships. These include the rights and duties of parents and children.

Specific Statutes Related to Child Visitation

  • NRS 125C.0025: Governs the custody and visitation rights in Nevada.

  • NRS 125C.0035 determines the details on how visitation schedules are determined.

Role of Family Courts in Visitation Matters

Las Vegas family courts have the power to decide visitation. They base decisions on many factors. These courts prioritize the child’s best interests. They also consider the parents’ legal rights.

Contemplative child sitting on a park bench, symbolizing the consideration of a child's age and maturity in visitation decisions.
Understanding a Child’s Perspective in Visitation Decisions.

Age and Maturity: Key Factors in Visitation Decisions

Legal Definition of Age of Maturity in Nevada

In Nevada, a child is considered to reach maturity at 18. However, the court has discretion in visitation matters. It can apply to children of varying ages, depending on their maturity.

How Age Influences Court Decisions on Visitation

  • Younger Children: Courts may place greater weight on the custodial parent’s opinion.

  • Older Children: As children age, their preferences may be considered more.

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Empowering Children’s Voices in Legal Decisions.

The Child’s Right to Express Preference

Legal Provisions for Child Preference in Visitation

Nevada law allows children to express a preference. They must be of sufficient age and maturity. They can do so in visitation matters. However, this preference is not the sole determining factor.

How Courts Evaluate a Child’s Preference

  • Assessing Maturity: Judges evaluate if the child can make a reasoned choice.

  • Understanding Influence: Consideration of whether external factors influence the child’s preference.

Age Threshold for Expressing Preference in Las Vegas

There is no strict age threshold. But, courts often take a child’s preference more seriously around age 12.

Judge thoughtfully weighing scales in a courtroom, representing the careful consideration of factors when a child refuses visitation."
Balancing Factors in Visitation Decisions: The Court’s Perspective.

Factors Courts Consider When a Child Refuses Visitation

Assessing the Child’s Best Interests

When a child desires to stop visitation, the court’s primary concern is the child’s best interests. Factors considered include:

  • The child’s emotional and physical well-being.
  • The stability of each parent’s home environment.
  • The quality of the child’s relationship with each parent.

Evaluating the Reasons for Refusal of Visitation

Courts delve into why a child may refuse visitation:

  • Legitimate concerns like discomfort or fear.
  • Misunderstandings or minor grievances.
  • Influence from one parent against the other.

Impact of Parental Influence on Child’s Decision

The court assesses if a parent is swaying a child’s decision:

  • Looking for signs of manipulation or undue influence.
  • Ensuring the child’s preference is genuinely their own.

Role of Child Psychologists and Custody Evaluators

Professionals may be involved to understand the child’s perspective:

  • Child psychologists can assess emotional and mental health.
  • Custody evaluators can provide an objective view of the child’s situation.
Close-up of legal document with a pen and gavel, symbolizing the process of modifying visitation orders.
Navigating the Legal Process: Modifying Visitation Orders.

Process and Procedure for Modifying Visitation Orders

Legal Steps to Request Modification of Visitation

Modifying a visitation order involves several steps:

  1. Filing a motion: A formal request to the court.
  2. Providing justification: Presenting reasons for the requested change.
  3. Court hearing: A session where both parties can present their arguments.

The Role of Legal Representation in Visitation Cases

  • Navigating Legal Complexities: Lawyers can guide you through the legal process.
  • Advocating for the Child and Parent: Representation to ensure fair consideration of all viewpoints.

Mediation and Its Role in Resolving Visitation Disputes

  • Alternative to Court: Mediation offers a less adversarial approach.
  • Facilitating Agreement: A mediator helps parents reach a mutually acceptable solution.
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The Foundation of Legal Decision-Making: Understanding Case Law and Precedents.

Case Law and Precedents

Review of Relevant Nevada Case Law

Examining past cases in Nevada provides insight into how similar situations have been handled. This includes:

  • Critical decisions that have shaped visitation rights.
  • How judges have interpreted the child’s preference in past cases.

Analysis of How Previous Cases Have Influenced Current Practices

  • Patterns in Decision-Making: Understanding trends in court rulings.
  • Impact on Future Cases: How these precedents guide current and future legal proceedings.
Balanced scale with symbols of parent and child, depicting the equilibrium between parental rights and child's preference.
Finding Equilibrium: Balancing Parental Rights and Child’s Preference.

Parental Rights vs. Child’s Preference

Understanding Parental Rights in Visitation Matters

Parental rights are a cornerstone of family law, and they include:

  • The right to spend time with their child.
  • The right to be involved in the child’s upbringing.

However, these rights are balanced against the child’s welfare and preference.

Balancing Parental Rights and Child’s Autonomy

The court seeks to find a middle ground:

  • Respecting the child’s growing independence and decision-making ability.
  • Upholding the fundamental rights of parents in their child’s life.

The goal is to ensure decisions serve the child’s best interests without unfairly compromising parental involvement.

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Embracing Support: Resources Available for Families in Need.

Support and Resources for Families

Legal Aid and Resources for Affected Parties

Navigating child visitation issues can be overwhelming. Families have access to various resources:

  • Legal aid organizations offering guidance and representation.
  • Online resources providing information about family law in Nevada.

Counseling and Support Services for Families and Children

The emotional aspects of visitation disputes are profound. Available support includes:

  • Family counseling services to help manage the emotional impact.
  • Support groups for parents and children going through similar experiences.


Runner crossing finish line with arms raised.

Breaking Things Down

This journey covers the complexities of child visitation laws in Las Vegas. It highlights the balance between laws. It also balances parental rights and the changing needs of children. It shows the need to understand the details of each case. It also shows the value of seeking professional help and support. This article should help families navigate these challenging waters. It will provide both clarity and empathy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Happens if a Child Refuses Visitation After the Court Has Made a Decision?

If a child refuses visitation frequently, the court may reassess the case to determine if the visitation order needs modification. This reassessment involves considering any new circumstances that may have contributed to the child’s refusal.

Can a Child’s Preference Change the Primary Custodial Parent?

A child’s preference can influence the decision to change the primary custodial parent, particularly as the child grows older. However, the child’s preference is just one of many factors the court takes into account when making this decision.

How Often Can a Visitation Order Be Modified?

There is no limit on how frequently a visitation order can be modified. However, the court will only consider modifications if there are significant changes that affect the child’s best interests.

Is the Child Required to Testify in Court About Their Visitation Preferences?

Children are generally not required to testify in court. Instead, they may express their preferences through a custody evaluator, a guardian ad litem, or private conversations with the judge.

What Role Do School Counselors or Teachers Play in Visitation Cases?

While school counselors or teachers may provide insights into the child’s well-being or behavior, they typically do not directly influence legal decisions about visitation. However, their observations can be crucial in custody evaluations.

How Does Relocation of a Parent Affect Visitation Rights?

Relocation can significantly impact visitation schedules. If a parent plans to move, they must seek court approval, especially if the move affects the current visitation arrangement.

Are Grandparents’ Visitation Rights Considered in These Cases?

Yes, the court can consider grandparents’ visitation rights if they have played a significant role in the child’s life. However, parents usually have priority unless it is demonstrated that grandparent visitation is in the child’s best interest.

Can a Parent Refuse to Allow Visitation if Child Support is Not Paid?

No, visitation rights and child support are treated as separate legal issues. A parent cannot refuse visitation because the other parent has not paid child support.

What Can a Parent Do if They Feel the Visitation Order is Unfair?

If a parent believes the visitation order is unfair, they can file a motion requesting a review or modification of the order. They must provide evidence demonstrating why the change is in the child’s best interest.

How Are Visitation Rights Enforced?

Visitation rights are enforced by the court. If a parent violates the visitation order, the other parent can ask the court to compel compliance. Non-compliance may result in legal consequences for the offending parent.

"Glossary" in large, bold text, marking the beginning of a section defining key terms.


Visitation Rights: The legal permission granted to a non-custodial parent to spend time with their child at specified times.

Custodial Parent: The parent with whom the child lives most of the time and who has primary responsibility for the child’s day-to-day care.

Non-Custodial Parent: The parent who does not have primary physical custody of the child but often has visitation rights and is usually required to pay child support.

Best Interests of the Child: A legal standard used by courts to make decisions affecting children, focusing on the child’s happiness, security, mental health, and emotional development.

Family Court: A court with jurisdiction over family matters, such as divorce, child custody, and visitation rights.

Custody Evaluator: A mental health professional appointed by the court to assess the family situation and recommend custody and visitation arrangements that are in the child’s best interests.

Guardian ad Litem: A court-appointed individual, often a lawyer, who represents the child’s best interests in legal proceedings.

Modification of Visitation: A legal process to change an existing visitation order, typically requiring a showing of changed circumstances that affect the child’s best interests.

Mediation: A dispute resolution process where an impartial third party (mediator) helps the disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement.

Child Support: A non-custodial parent must make financial payments to the custodial parent to contribute to the child’s living expenses.

Case Law: Law established by previous court decisions and used as a precedent in similar cases.

Relocation: The act of one parent moving to a different geographical location, which can significantly impact custody and visitation arrangements.

Grandparents’ Visitation Rights: Parents may have legal rights to visit with their grandchildren under certain circumstances.

Legal Aid: Professional legal services available to persons or organizations unable to afford such services.

Custody: The legal right to make decisions about the care and upbringing of a child and the responsibility for a child’s care and well-being. This can be sole (one parent) or joint (shared by both parents).

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Additional Resources for You

We would also like to remind our readers that Molly Rosenblum Allen, Esq., our lead attorney at The Rosenblum Allen Law Firm, has created a range of additional resources to assist you in your time of need. These resources cover various aspects of family law and are designed to provide valuable information and guidance:

Each of these resources is crafted with the intent to guide, inform, and assist you through the various facets of family law in Nevada.

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Additional Resources for You

Here are several offsite resources related to family law and child custody issues that readers might find helpful:

  1. American Bar Association (ABA): A prominent resource offering extensive information on various legal topics, including family law. American Bar Association

  2. National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC): This organization specializes in legal issues affecting children, including custody and visitation rights. National Association of Counsel for Children

  3. FindLaw: A comprehensive resource for legal information, including detailed sections on family law and child custody. FindLaw

  4. American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML): An organization of highly skilled family lawyers, offering resources and expertise in areas like child custody and divorce. American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

  5. Child Welfare Information Gateway: A resource offering extensive information on child welfare, including aspects related to custody and visitation. Child Welfare Information Gateway

  6. National Domestic Violence Hotline: Provides essential resources and support for individuals facing domestic violence situations, which can be closely tied to custody disputes. National Domestic Violence Hotline

  7. Psychology Today: While not a legal resource, it offers valuable insights into the psychological aspects of divorce and child custody, which can be crucial in understanding the impact on children and families. Psychology Today

Each of these resources provides a different perspective or type of information, from legal advice and professional guidelines to psychological support and child welfare considerations, ensuring a well-rounded understanding of the complexities surrounding child custody and family law.

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A Special Message from Our Lead Attorney, Molly Rosenblum Allen, Esq

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Dear Reader,

Thank you for taking the time to explore our resources. I hope you found the information helpful. It explains the complexities of family law and child custody well. At The Rosenblum Allen Law Firm, we understand the emotional and legal challenges you may face now.

If you’re ready to take the next step or have questions, call me and my team at (702) 433-2889. We are here to support you and provide the legal guidance to move forward.

Looking forward to assisting you,

Molly Rosenblum Allen, Esq.

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