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Top 10 Nevada Divorce Laws You Should Know

Top 10 Divorce Laws

Nevada divorce laws are pretty extensive.  You’ll find a whole chapter of them in Nevada Revised Statutes—along with 52 sub-chapters. Many people find these difficult to read, and some laws only make sense to lawyers.  Since you shouldn’t go into something as important as a divorce without all the important information, here are the top 10 Nevada divorce laws, the ones that apply to most people filing for divorce,  written in terms most people can understand.

1. Do you have a prenuptial agreement?

When signing a prenuptial agreement, the prospective husband and wife must attach a list of their separate property and separate debt going into the marriage for the pre-nuptial to be valid. If nothing is attached, the prenuptial could become invalid and it will be as if no agreement had been created between the parties. Each party should have their own separate attorney to avoid conflict of interest issues later if ever there comes a time the prenuptial agreement needs to considered in a divorce.

2. Nevada divorce laws do not have a separate and apart statute for property and debt

Unlike California,for instance, until you are actually divorced, and with no prenuptial agreement, post-nuptial agreement, or separation agreement in place, all community income, debt and property still belong to both parties even if the parties have been physically separated for years. This means that if you separate and have no prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, you should at the least file a legal separation to protect your assets until you file a divorce.

3. Nevada divorce laws and residency.  

Nevada requires that your divorce documents state that you have been an actual resident of Nevada for a minimum of six weeks before filing your divorce in Nevada. Nevada divorce laws also require that your divorce documents state that you have the intent to remain in Nevada for an indefinite period of time after the divorce becomes final.

The resident witness affidavit will state that the resident witness has seen you physically present in Nevada three to four times per week for the six weeks immediately preceding the divorce.

Residency for children when filing a divorce in Nevada. As far as residency rules when children are involved, Nevada divorce laws, as per the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act, state that Nevada has no jurisdiction over children of the marriage until the children have resided in Nevada for at least six months.

If the children have not been in Nevada for the six months period immediately preceding the filing of a divorce in Nevada, the Nevada court can’t address issues of physical custody.  It will address child support, but not custody and visitation.

Even if the children issues can’t all be addressed because the children have not been here for six months,  Nevada divorce laws still give the court jurisdiction over the marriage itself (provided the parent filing the divorce is a current resident) and  can grant a  divorce, therefore dissolving the marriage, but without addressing physical custody and visitation.

4. The Court can consider the wishes of a child of sufficient age and intelligence in determining physical custody.

However, Nevada divorce laws do not name a “magic” age when the child gets to  make that decision. Some judges will give children over the age of 13 more say-so in where they live (they might meet with the child before deciding), but the Court’s standard is always the best interest of the child. This is decided on a case by case basis; it depends on the child’s ability to understand the goings-on, the parents themselves and how they feel about the situation, and lastly, how the judge feels about this particular child making this decision.

5. Nevada divorce law NRS 125B.070 provides for child support

There are maximums in Nevada for child support, based on the responsible party’s income bracket. with a maximum on the amount that a parent has to pay for child support based on income level. The amount of child support is adjustable every three years or by special motion filed with the court–such as if the responsible party loses income or if the child now lives with the other parent. In a joint physical custody case, the Court still looks at the difference in  income between the parties and will still grant one of the parties child support even if physical custody is shared equally between the parties. See the document at the end of this link, which explains it very well and also states the maximum for income brackets:  https://nevadadivorce.org/child_support_guidelines.pdf 

6. Nevada divorce laws allow a woman the right to change her name back to her former name.

During the process of a divorce in Nevada, a woman who changed her name legally to the name of her spouse after the marriage can resume the use of the name she used immediately before this marriage, or resume her birth name. She cannot choose just any name the way she can in a name change proceeding.

7. Retirement, pensions, 401(k)s, IRAs, etc. earned during the marriage are considered community property as per Nevada divorce laws.

The division of retirement accounts often require a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to be prepared before they can be distributed in addition to the Decree Of Divorce. Each spouse is entitled to one half of each other’s retirement benefits accrued during the marriage. A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (commonly known as a Q.D.R.O.) is a procedure done separately from the divorce itself. Typically, the divorce is filed and granted, the Q.D.R.O. is created and then filed with the court where the divorce was granted and the judge who granted the divorce signs it making it valid. Typically, neither party collects on this money until retirement time. In some cases, a judge might order that a 401K or other type of retirement account be dissolved and the proceeds divided (thought this causes a huge tax penalty). This usually only happens if one or both parties have become nearly destitute due to the divorce.

8. There is no formula for alimony in Nevada divorce laws.

Unlike child support which has clear guidelines, NRS 125.150 leaves alimony to the sole discretion of the Judge. The post-divorce financial condition of the parties is considered, along with the ability to pay, length of the marriage, health and education of the parties and what occurred during the marriage.  A loose rule is that the party receiving alimony would receive it for about half of the length of the marriage. It could also be granted if a spouse was a stay-at-home parent during the length of the marriage and now needs training to re-enter the workforce.

9. Property and debt after the divorce.

After the divorce, although the Court maintains jurisdiction over child support and child custody issues and alimony,  the Court loses jurisdiction over property and debt issues once the divorce is granted. There is a provision in Nevada divorce law to set aside a divorce for up to six months under NRCP 60(b) for excusable neglect, mistake and fraud regarding property and debt issues. After 6 months, it’s difficult to re-open a divorce case insofar as property and debt matters, but if fraud was discovered after the six-month period and there is compelling evidence, it could potentially be reopened to re-address issues of property and debt.

10. When filing a one-signature Nevada divorce, if the Defendant lives in a different county or state, Defendant may be able to change venue.

Another option the Defendant has is to dismiss or limit the Nevada Court’s decision to just granting the divorce without matters of property and debt division being addressed.

The Nevada Court has no jurisdiction over an out of state resident for property, debt, alimony and the physical and legal custody of out-of-state children in a default divorce in Nevada. A “default divorce” means that the Defendant was served with the divorce papers and never responded. Also, if you filed in Clark County, Nevada, and Defendant resides in another county, venue can be changed to that county if Defendant demands it. Defendant has choice of venue.

This is especially true if the marital home is located outside Clark County, Nevada, and if the entirety of the marriage took place in that other locale.

Need more information on filing a divorce in Nevada?  We can help by representing you in your divorce. We’ll be easy on your bank account too!

How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in Nevada?

how long does it take to get a divorce in Nevada

What influences how long it takes to get a divorce in Nevada the most is whether both parties sign the divorce papers.

If both parties sign the documents, it takes less time than if only one party signs them. See below for details on both ways of filing a divorce in Nevada and how long each takes to finalize.

 

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET A DIVORCE IN NEVADA WHEN BOTH PARTIES AGREE?

The divorce gets filed in the form of a joint petition for divorce when both parties agree on all issues:

  • child physical custody
  • child visitation
  • alimony if any
  • property and debts

When represented by an attorney, the attorney files the case on behalf of the Plaintiff and handles all aspects of the divorce.

Both parties must sign the joint petition for divorce and the decree of divorce for this type of divorce. It cannot be filed with only the signature of one party to the divorce.

Generally, it takes one to four weeks for a joint petition divorce to be granted in Clark County, Nevada when both parties sign the papers.

How busy the court happens to be when your case is filed affects this timeline, as well as how busy your judge is at the time they are assigned the case.

 

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET A DIVORCE IN NEVADA WHEN ONLY ONE PARTY SIGNS?

When only one party signs the divorce papers, he or she becomes the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff files a complaint for divorce.  When represented by an attorney, the attorney also signs the divorce papers and files the case on behalf of the Plaintiff, and also handles all aspects of the case.

How long it takes to get a divorce in Nevada when a complaint is file depends on how easy or complicated it is to find and serve the Defendant.

Filing a complaint for divorce entails the following three steps to begin the divorce:

  • Filing the complaint for divorce
  • Having a summons issued
  • Serving the complaint and summons upon the Defendant through a process server

How process service is conducted affects the length of time it takes to get the divorce.

PERSONAL SERVICE:

If you know where the Defendant lives and or works, and if they can be served personally (or any other person over the age of 14 at that same address is available to be served instead), it will expedite the process.

What eats up time is the fact that after Defendant is served, there is a 21-calendar-days waiting period before the divorce can move forward. This is to give an opportunity to the Defendant to file an answer.

If the Defendant does not file an answer and counterclaim, it takes approximately eight to twelve weeks to finalize the divorce when the Defendant is served personally.

 

SERVICE BY PUBLICATION OR ALTERNATIVE MEANS

If Defendant is not available for personal service—you don’t know where they live, and they can’t be found by a process server or investigator—the length of time to get a divorce depends on what the process server finds when they start looking for the Defendant.

If no address is found for the Defendant, the process server provides the attorney with an affidavit of due diligence, which states everything the process server has done to find the Defendant.

This affidavit is filed and presented to the judge, essentially asking permission to publish the summons. If granted, the summons is published once a week for five weeks. And nothing happens for at least 21 days after the last date of publication to give Defendant an opportunity to file an answer should they see the published summons.

If Defendant is served by publication, it takes 16-18 weeks to get to the point where judge makes a decision on the divorce,  provided Defendant does not file an answer.  What can hold this up longer is if the process server finds several addresses for the Defendant. By law, an attempt has to be made to serve the Defendant at those addresses before publication can take place.

Sometimes, at this stage, instead of publication, the judge will ask that Defendant be served by alternative means, meaning by social media if they have an active social media presence, or by email.

If service occurs through alternative means, it takes about the same amount of time to obtain a divorce as when the Defendant is served in person. After alternative service, there is also a 21-day waiting period after the date of service before the process can move forward. This is, of course, provided Defendant does not file an answer and counterclaim.

When a complaint for divorce is filed, and Defendant files an answer and counterclaim, how long it takes to get a divorce in Nevada is affected by whether the issues are resolved at the case management conference or whether they move on to trial. It can take many months and even more than a year if there are multiple court appearances.

Other things of importance before a divorce is filed in Nevada:

This means having lived in Nevada for six consecutive weeks before the filing of the divorce. The divorce papers also state that the resident filer has the intent to remain in Nevada after the divorce is filed and granted.

If you have questions about the process, please call our office at 702-680-1780. It’s a free consultation to find out everything that needs to be done to get your divorce granted.

 

Can You Get a No-Fault Divorce in Nevada?

no-fault divorce

A no-fault divorce means that there is no fault by either party involved in the divorce and is allowed in some states. Nevada is one of them.

A divorce can be obtained much faster when there is no fault as no wrongdoing needs to be proven. In states where one must prove wrongdoing, a divorce can take years, and often results in high attorney fees and a lot of stress placed on the people involved.

Nevada became a no-fault divorce state, one of the first to do so, for business reasons, as strange as it sounds.  The idea was to attract people from around the country, especially Californians, to come spend six weeks in Nevada.  Six weeks is the minimum amount of consecutive time one must be physically present in Nevada to become a resident of the state. Those who came to establish residency stayed at a “divorce ranch,” spent money at casinos, restaurants, and other businesses, bringing much revenue to the state.

The paperwork for a no-fault divorce in Nevada states that “the parties hereto are incompatible in marriage and also are irreconcilable,” essentially saying that neither party is at fault, they have simply become incompatible and have no wish to reconcile.

Not to say that there are never other reasons used in a divorce. Nevada law (NRS NRS 125.010) states causes for divorce as follows:

  1. Insanity existing for 2 years prior to the commencement of the action [the filing of the divorce]. Upon this cause of action the court, before granting a divorce, shall require corroborative evidence of the insanity of the defendant at that time, and a decree granted on this ground shall not relieve the successful party from contributing to the support and maintenance of the defendant, and the court may require the plaintiff in such action to give bond therefor in an amount to be fixed by the court.
  2. When the husband and wife have lived separate and apart for 1 year without cohabitation the court may, in its discretion, grant an absolute decree of divorce at the suit of either party.
  3. Incompatibility.

A large majority of Nevada divorces are filed based on incompatibility because, as you can see, it’s the easiest and simplest way to file.

The rules regarding property, debt division, and child support do not change whether filing a no-fault divorce or one showing insanity or living separate for a year.

In Nevada, it doesn’t matter what your spouse did or didn’t do that caused the breakdown of the marriage. The court treats all issues of property and debt division the same as if no one is at fault in a large majority of divorce cases.

Same with child custody, visitation, and child support. Nothing that caused the breakdown of the marriage affects how the court handles these issues. The only exception is if one party harmed the children in some way. Family Court in Nevada thinks first and foremost of the well-being of the children.

Here is a link to when the legislation moved to make Nevada a no-fault divorce state: https://bit.ly/2zZA2YY

 

Filing a Divorce in Nevada

Filing a divorce in Nevada differs vastly from filing a divorce in the State of New York, for instance.

The rules in Nevada are more moderate, and no valid reason is needed beyond incompatibility, which means no need to hire private investigators to prove wrong-doing.

That, and the fact that divorces are processed fairly quickly—if both parties agree to a divorce, it can often be obtained in under a month—compels people from outside the state to look into a filing a divorce in Nevada instead of their home state.  We’ll address the residency issue a little later in this post, but it’s not as simple as some people believe.

 

How to File for Divorce in Nevada

The simplest, and least expensive, way to file a divorce in Nevada, when both parties agree to sign the divorce papers before filing, is through a joint petition for divorce.

The attorney represents both parties in a joint capacity, meaning he or she isn’t siding with either husband or wife. In some cases, both parties hire their own attorney, and the attorneys work together to plan the terms of the divorce, meaning property and debt division, child custody, visitation, and child support.

If the parties don’t immediately agree with one another on all issues, they can take part in a divorce mediation.  

During mediation, the attorney will address all issues related to the children, if any, as well those related to property and debt. The attorney will essentially explain to the parties what they’re each most likely to be granted were they to enter a divorce trial—without the expense of one.

When marital assets are high and, or, the relationship between the parties has deteriorated to a point where there is no trust left at all, a non-attorney mediator will be brought in, as well as an attorney for each party, and a forensic accountant to go over all assets and find some that might have been hidden by either party to the divorce. Sometimes, even a child psychologist will join the group to give advice on the best course of action to take for the children involved.

Complaint for Divorce

If the parties cannot come to an agreement on all, or some issues, one party will file a complaint for divorce, the other party after being served with the complaint and a summons, will file an answer and counterclaim.

The first thing the court does when an answer and counterclaim is filed in response to a complaint for divorce is to set a date for a case management conference.  The case management conference is essentially a mandatory mediation. A divorce trial date can’t be set until the parties have taken part in this mandatory mediation.

The attorneys’ role during the case management conference is to get the parties to agree to reasonable terms to avoid a divorce trial. If this cannot be accomplished, then a trial date is set so the judge can decide on the issues.

Oftentimes, those issues are child custody, visitation, religious upbringing, schooling, alimony, as well as property and debt division.

 

Child Custody when Filing a Divorce in Nevada

Nevada favors joint physical custody unless there’s a good reason to believe the children aren’t safe with one parent or the other.

There’s also the issue of schooling. Both parents must live a reasonable distance from the children’s school. If that’s not possible, it’s likely that the parent who lives closest to the school will be given physical custody and the other parent given visitation.

Another alternative is for the children to live with the parent who lives close to the school from Monday after school until Friday after school. The parent who lives farther away would pick up the children from school on Friday and deliver them back to school on Monday morning. This would be considered joint custody since the children would be with the weekend parent all day every day, while with the other parent only outside school hours. This makes the time spent with each parent fairly equitable.

 

Child Support in Nevada

Child support guidelines in Nevada are very clear. You can see the guidelines here: https://discountlasvegaslawyer.com/child_support_guidelines.pdf

There are, however, some allowed deviations:

In any deviation from the table below (higher or lower amount), the Court takes into consideration the following factors (NRS125B.080)

  • Cost of health insurance
  • Cost of child care
  • Any special educational needs of the child
  • Age of the child
  • Legal responsibility of the parents for the support of others
  • Value of services contributed by either parent
  • Any public assistance paid to support the child
  • Any expenses reasonably related to the mother’s pregnancy and confinement
  • Cost of transportation of the child to and from visitation if the custodial parent moved with the child from the jurisdiction of the court which ordered the support and the noncustodial parent remained
  • Amount of time the child spends with each parent
  • Any other necessary expenses for the benefit of the child; and,
  • Relative income of both parents

 

Residency when filing a divorce in Nevada

One party to the divorce must have lived in the State of Nevada for a minimum of six continuous weeks before filing to be eligible to file. The resident must also intend to remain in Nevada for the foreseeable future. In other words, the resident must intend to remain in Nevada even after the divorce has been granted at least for some time.

This doesn’t mean someone filing a divorce in Nevada must live here the rest of their life; just that they had the intent to remain here at the time of filing.

Proof of Residency in Nevada

As Nevada proof of residency, the resident must have a resident witness.

The resident witness is any other Nevada resident who knows the resident to have lived in Nevada for a minimum of six weeks. The resident witness affidavit, which must be signed in front of a Nevada notary, will also state that the resident witness sees the resident three to four times per week.  In today’s world, it’s rare to see even your neighbor that often, but the State of Nevada hasn’t seen a need to change this language.

 

Property Division when Filing a Divorce in Nevada

Nevada is a community property state. This means any property (this includes money earned at a job, a house, car,  couch, or television for Nevada divorce purposes), belongs to both parties if earned or acquired after the marriage. Whose name the asset was acquired under is irrelevant. It belongs to both.

Same with debt. If acquired after the marriage, it doesn’t matter whose name it’s under; both parties are responsible for that debt.

There are exceptions to the above. For instance, if a Husband bought a house before the marriage using an inheritance for the down payment and never commingled community funds with his inheritance funds to upkeep the house, it would go to him only in a divorce. Or if a Wife buys a house after the marriage using her inheritance, Husband signs a release relinquishing his rights to the property during the escrow process, and no funds were commingled for upkeep afterward, that house belongs to Wife only in a divorce. Either of these examples apply to either Wife or Husband.

Both parties are responsible for any debts acquired by either party during the marriage.  A third-party creditor, such as a car loan company, is entitled to go after either spouse for payment.  If one spouse agrees to take on a debt during a divorce, of if the court orders one party to a divorce to shoulder a debt, and that spouse stops paying, the creditor can still come after the other spouse despite the final decree of divorce. The court has control over only the parties to a divorce, not over third-party creditors.

In the case of the IRS, a spouse is even responsible for tax debt acquired before the marriage—this has surprised more than one person.

Visit https://discountlasvegaslawyer.com/nevada-divorce-attorney/ if you’re ready to proceed with a divorce, or if you have questions about anything in this article, or comment below.

7 Misconceptions about Divorce in Nevada

1. My wife says she won’t’ give me a divorce. Do I have to stay married to her?

No, you do not. Despite the fact that this hasn’t been true for a number of years, especially in Nevada where no-fault divorce has existed for a number of years, we still hear the question often.  This misconception used to be true (hence, how it became one), back when a specific reason and strong proof had to be given to obtain a divorce in Nevada, but it’s no longer the case.

Your spouse can make getting a divorce more difficult, prolonging the process, in a number of ways (avoiding service, sending you on wild goose chases for documents and old bank account statements, etc. filing motions that are essentially harassment, etc.), but no Nevada judge is going to force you to stay married to him or her.

 

2. I get to keep my house because I bought it before my marriage. Correct? divorce in Nevada

Maybe. Maybe not. Nevada is a community property state, which means that anything owned in either spouse’s name alone still belongs with the community property assets, with some exceptions.

For instance, if you owned the house before the marriage and used only your separate funds, earned before the marriage, to make mortgage payments and to handle the upkeep on the property and to make improvements, then yes, the house will go to you in a divorce.

If any community funds were used to cover upkeep or to make improvements, the house moves into the realm of community property. It makes no difference if the mortgage or deed is held in the name of one spouse only.

If you did use community funds for the aforementioned house expenses, your spouse would be entitled to half of the increase in value of the property since the time of your marriage. You would retain whatever down payment you made on the house before the equity is split.

Community funds in the context of this answer are funds from a joint bank account, and any funds earned during the marriage by either you or your spouse even if they are in an account you do not share with your spouse.

 

3. My spouse cheated on me. I’m going to get all of our property, correct? 

Not correct.  Because Nevada is a no-fault state on divorce, it doesn’t matter at all who cheated and who didn’t; it’s not even looked at by the court when it comes time to divide marital assets.

Yes, we understand you feel it’s unfair. We feel for you. Nevertheless, it’s still a fact around which there is no getting around. Even if your spouse cheated, he or she will receive his or her equitable share of the marital assets.

You can always try to mediate this if you feel very strongly that you should get more of the assets than your spouse (mediation is a far superior way to handle property division in a divorce, whether or not cheating or any other wrong-doing took place), but if a Nevada judge gets to make the decision, the assets will be divided fairly between the two of you.

 

4. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom throughout the marriage so I will get full physical custody of our children. 

This is a very common misconception. Again, because it used to be true.

You could possibly get full custody of your children; however, Nevada family courts favor shared physical custody and are likely to grant each parent equal time with the children, unless the children are at risk of coming to harm in the presence of their other parent.

Of course, if your spouse agrees that the children should live with you full-time, and will visit with him or her on weekends, the court will not object. But, the court is not likely to grant you full physical custody of your children if you ask for it and your spouse is not willing to give it voluntarily. Unless, again, there is a good reason as to why the children aren’t safe with their other parent (drugs, alcohol, mental illness, abuse of any kind, etc.)

Legal and Physical Custody of the minor children: some people confuse physical and legal custody when they divorce in Nevada.

  • Legal custody is the right of a parent to see a child’s medical and school records and to have a say about the child’s education and religious upbringing. No more, no less. A parent can have legal custody without having any physical custody at all.
  • Physical custody determines which parent the child lives with, or states that a child lives with both parents, sharing about equal time between them. Typically, a parent who has either full or shared custody also has legal custody.
  • There is also Sole custody, meaning that a parent has both legal and full physical custody, with the other parent having essentially no say in a child’s upbringing. Sole custody is not easily granted by the court. When one parent gives up (or forced to give up) legal custody, the court likes to see a replacement guardian put in place to share legal custody with the sole custody parent. This is an effort on the court’s part to avoid the child becoming a ward of the state should anything happen to the parent with sole custody.

In all of the above scenarios, visitation can still take place. In other words, a parent with no legal or physical custody rights could still be granted visitation.

Finally, be careful before you ask for full physical custody unless you have a strong provable reason that your child would be endangered by their other parent. Family court in Nevada highly favors shared physical custody and is likely to see you as a trouble maker if you push for full physical custody without a really good reason.

 

5. If we have shared custody, neither of us pays child support, correct?

This is also a very common misconception. One party will typically still pay some child support to the other party even with shared custody. The court follows the formula below – you can read about this in more detail on our divorce with children page.

Easy formula to figure out your child support obligation:

  1. Take the percentage of each party’s gross salary according to the number of children:

Statutory Percentages (NRS 125B.070 (1)(B):
One (1) child: 18%
Two (2) children: 25%
Three (3) children: 29%
Four (4) children: 31%
Five (5) or more children: 2% more over amount for four (4) children for each additional child.

Subtract the smaller amount from the larger amount The party with the higher income pays the difference to the other party. Example:

  • John and Jane have one child and no reason to deviate from the Nevada statutory guidelines on child support.
  • John’s gross monthly salary is $1000 per month, so his obligation to Jane for child support is $180 per month.
  • Jane’s gross monthly salary is 800 per month, so she is obligated to John for $144 monthly for child support.
  • Difference between $180 and $144 is $36, so John pays Jane $36 per month.

 

6. I didn’t work during our marriage. I will get alimony for the rest of my life if I divorce in Nevada. Correct?

This used to be true, especially for long-term marriages where the wife stayed at home raising the children and had not worked at all during the marriage.

It’s no longer the case.

Courts are a lot less likely to grant life-long alimony to a spouse, unless it was a very long marriage, the other spouse never worked and is incapable of earning due to physical or mental disability.

Otherwise, a judge might grant temporary alimony while the spouse that stayed at home retrains in a new career, or revives an old career.

Nevada law on alimony (NRS 125.150 states the following regarding the circumstances under which a judge might grant alimony in a divorce:

    • the standard of living to which the couple was accustomed
    • the career of both spouses before the marriage
    • whether one spouse has advanced the other spouse’s career
    • age and education of the parties
    • the ability to pay of the spouse who will be paying alimony

 

7.  My friend told me I can get a divorce in Nevada in just one day. Is that true?

Not anymore. We do wish this misconception about getting a divorce in Nevada would go away. We still get the question nearly every day despite the fact that this hasn’t been true for at least 10 years!

Back in the 50’s when it was popular to get a divorce in Nevada because of the short residency requirement, yes, you could often get a divorce in Nevada in a day (after establishing residency). And even just 15 years ago, you could get it done in just a few days. What happened is that between budget cuts, the now much larger population of Nevada, and the many people who establish residency to get a divorce, family courts in Nevada have become overwhelmed.

How long a divorce in Nevada takes depends in large part on how busy the court is at the time your divorce is filed. It also depends on how busy your divorce judge happens to be at the time he or she is assigned your case.

Our office does get final decrees back from the court in just two or three days occasionally, but the norm is more like 7 to 10 days and even up to three weeks sometimes.

All of the above timeline is based on a joint petition divorce (you both signed the divorce documents before filing the case). If you file a complaint for divorce, it will take 12-16 weeks or so if your spouse can be personally served and up to 26 weeks if publication has to take place.

The best thing to do to dispel misconceptions about divorce in Nevada is to talk to your attorney about any concerns you have regarding any aspect of your divorce. Don’t assume and don’t just accept for granted what your friend who went through a divorce three years ago tells you. That person is not in the trenches every day dealing with divorce court and they don’t know the law like your lawyer knows it.

5 Tips on How to Survive the Holidays During a Divorce

5 TIPS ON HOW TO SURVIVE THE HOLIDAYS DURING A DIVORCE 

Is this your first holiday after separation? Christmas and divorce just don’t seem to go together, do they?

In our busy law office, divorce clients who come to us during the holidays always seem more distressed or upset than at other times of the year. We understand.

These divorce and annulment clients are going through a difficult and stressful period of their lives. And they’re doing so at a time of year when the world expects us all to give more, love more, and forgive more. They get confused and wonder how to find it within themselves to do all of that while going through a divorce.

If children are involved, getting a divorce at this time of the year can become even more difficult, and emotional, to navigate.

No doubt you need a plan.

One thing to remember is that oftentimes, our emotional state is anchored to familiar actions and surroundings. This can be good since it shows stability during a time of chaos. But, doing only those same things you’ve always done isn’t going to take you to that place where you’ve created your own new holiday traditions by mixing the old with the new.

So, the very first thing to do is to change that. You might not want to do things differently, but if you’ll just push yourself a little, you’ll be glad you made the effort. To stay stuck in your “same old” isn’t the solution to lifting your spirits.

If you have children, it’s even more important to put on a good face. They need to know that mommy and daddy still love them and care enough to make the holiday as normal and happy as can be, despite the circumstances.

 

5 TIPS—SURVIVING THE HOLIDAYS DURING DIVORCE

      1. If possible, venture out of your usual holiday surroundings. Visit out-of-state family, for instance. If this is not possible, see below.

      2. Start a new tradition, on your own or with your children if you have them. DO keep some things the same; stability and knowing that not everything in their lives will change is important to children. That said, find one new thing you could add to what you’ve always done. This will keep you focused on the positive and new rather than distressing over what’s been lost.

For the kids, it could be fun and take their minds off what’s now different, namely, that for the first time in their lives, they are with only one parent at a time for this year’s holiday.

For instance, Tom had always wanted to take the kids ice-skating around the holidays, but his soon-to-be ex-wife didn’t like it at all, so they never went. During his first holiday season without his ex, he added this event to what had been their holiday traditions while he was married. He took his children to an ice-skating rink, followed by hot chocolate at their favorite coffee shop. It turned out to be a hit with them and gave everyone hope that the holidays could still be a happy time for them despite the divorce.

      3. If your children will be with your ex on the holiday itself, plan to do something to help others. It’s a well-known fact that helping others lifts our spirits. Consider volunteering your time to a shelter on that day, for instance, would take your mind off your own suffering and warm your heart as you help others even less fortunate than you. Or find other single parents whose children will be with their other parent that day and celebrate together, doing something none of you usually does on that day.

Karen reached out to two other friends whose children would be with their other parent for the last day of Hanukkah. She arranged ahead of time for them to visit residents of a nursing home who didn’t get visitors or whose families lived out-of-state. They bought several low-cost gifts and wrapped them in bright paper and delivered them to these residents with good wishes, bringing tears of joy to the eyes of many of them. By the end of the visit, the women were thankful for the blessings they still had in their own lives. They followed this up with a special dinner at a restaurant none of them had ever visited. They vowed to do it again the next time their children were with their other parent for a holiday.

     4. Your children need love from both parents during this time. The goal is to keep them from thinking they’re being pulled between their parents and made to feel guilty for being with one or the other parent on any given day. If you’re still working out the holiday visitation schedule, be sure that the children have ample time with each parent and vary it up, from year to year if the children have to travel some distance between you and your ex-spouse.

Is a certain holiday very important to both you and your spouse? Try to make it so you both get the children for a portion of it, but be sure and do it in a way that is enjoyable to the children too. But, if you live far apart, it would most likely be best to agree to an alternate-year holiday visitation schedule.

Robert and Diane, who live 500 miles apart, agreed that their two children should spend the whole winter school break together at least until their late teens, and arranged things so the children spent the December holidays with Diane during odd years and with Robert during even years.

Having to fly or take a bus to another state or country, or even city, to get from one parent to another on a holiday to meet a visitation schedule would probably make your child dread that holiday rather than look forward to it.

     5. Last, but most important, do NOT become a recluse. Even if you’d rather pull a double shift at work, or stick your hand in fire, force yourself to go out and mingle with good friends or family (stay away from those who constantly bring up negative things about your ex, or ask them to stop). Your spirits will lift from your new activities! We are social creatures and even when feeling low, we derive happiness and comfort from being around others.

If you want even more advice, or ideas, on going through a divorce during the holidays, you might find some here: https://www.divorcecare.org/holidays/helpcenter/helpingchildren 

Happy Holidays to everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Have to Pay Alimony or Spousal Support?

Do you wonder whether you’ll have to pay spousal support? Or whether your spouse will have to pay some to you?

You’ve been married for several years and your spouse earns somewhat less than you, or stayed at home to raise your children or because you didn’t need two incomes, or vice versa, you are the one to earn more and to have done so throughout the marriage.

Spousal support is paid before a divorce when you are legally separated.

Alimony is paid after a divorce has been granted.

Nevada statutes list items for a judge to take into consideration when deciding whether to grant alimony or spousal support. Nevada has no guidelines to follow for support and alimony, unlike the ones for child support.

Below is a partial list of items a judge must look at, as per NRS 125.150, Nevada Statutes on alimony and separate maintenance (spousal support) when deciding whether to grant support or alimony.

Every situation differs in some way so some of these may or may not apply, and other items in addition to, or instead of, these might apply:

  • The financial condition of each spouse
  • The nature and value of the respective property of each spouse
  • The contribution of each spouse to any property held by the spouses pursuant to NRS 123.030
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The income, earning capacity, age and health of each spouse
  • The standard of living during the marriage
  • The career before the marriage of the spouse who would receive the alimony
  • The existence of specialized education or training or the level of marketable skills attained by each spouse during the marriage
  • The contribution of either spouse as homemaker
  • The physical and mental condition of each party as it relates to the financial condition, health and ability to work of that spouse

In certain cases, instead of, or in addition to, the usual alimony or spousal support, the Nevada court might grant separate alimony to a spouse for the purpose of obtaining training or education to attain new employment, or better employment.

  • Whether the spouse who would pay such alimony got greater job skills or education during the marriage
  • Whether the spouse who would receive such alimony provided financial support while the other spouse obtained job skills or education

If alimony is granted for education or training, the judge will usually also order that the spouse getting the alimony start the training within a specified amount of time, and will often put a limit on the time given for the re-training, usually for the length of time of the specific program or degree the re-training spouse will be entering.

You can read the statutes here: https://discountlasvegaslawyer.com/nevada-divorce-attorney/las_vegas_divorce_statutes/

Or click here to read the Nevada Statutes on alimony in their entirety
http://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-125.html#NRS125Sec150

 

7 DO’s and DO NOT’s of Divorce

For most people, a divorce is a once in a lifetime experience.

Even if you’ve gone through a divorce a couple of times, you’re not likely to know a lot about the process since it’s not something you deal with every day.

You might be familiar with the process, but when it’s your own divorce, emotions are likely sky-high which affects your decision-making abilities.

So, even  when you retain an attorney, it’s good to have a Do/Don’t Do list on hand to be sure you cover all the important points.

THE 7 DO’s AND DON’T DO’s:

  1.  If your spouse is cooperating, your best option is to pursue mediation. A divorce trial is likely to eat up a lot of the marital assets. If that happens, both you and your spouse lose.

If there are children involved, you want to preserve as much of the marital assets as possible even if it means giving your spouse some things you really wanted.

What’s more important? A few thousand dollars more in your pocket, or your children happy and well-adjusted despite the divorce?

  1.  Even if you plan to a divorce mediation,  print out all financial statements from your shared financial accounts. In the event your spouse decides to try and lock you out of your accounts, it will save you a lot of time.

 Here is a list of the most common accounts. You might have others so make a list of all accounts your remember opening:

    • joint bank accounts
    • your spouse’s separate account statements if you have access
    • credit card bills
    • mortgage statements
    • retirement accounts statements (both yours and your spouse’s if you have access to it)
    • tax returns for the duration of the marriage
    • any other account of any sort.

Doing the above will protect you if your spouse changes the passwords to prevent you from accessing the accounts.

You’ll at least have a hard copy of your latest statements until your spouse’s lawyer can convince him or her to give you back access, or until the court orders your spouse to give you back access because that’s the law.

In Nevada, a community property state, most assets owned by either party fall into community property so, for instance, it doesn’t matter whose name a car, bank account, or deed to a house is in. Apart for some exceptions, all assets owned by either party belongs to both of them.

Best check with your lawyer to understand which ones are, and aren’t in your case, because this is a whole other subject.

  1. Don’t do what you hope your spouse won’t do to you; try to manipulate your finances. It will for sure come back to bite you in the you-know-what and that won’t feel good, trust me. It’s rare for such shenanigans to escape the notice of the court. In other words, you’re likely to get caught and sanctioned by the court for playing games with the community property assets.

It will be difficult for your judge to trust you if proof is shown that you tried to manipulate the finances just before, or just after, filing a divorce.  Judges are human too, and maybe even without realizing it, the judge could end up being tougher on you for doing this.

  1. If you have a lot of financial assets, and, or, more than one house, consider hiring a financial adviser to work with your divorce lawyer.

Though your divorce attorney will know about how finances must be divided during a divorce, he or she might not understand the best way to proceed to preserve most of the assets for you, your spouse, and for your children.  Try to remember that it will affect your children if your spouse falls into financial trouble.

If you have the marital home and a few thousand dollars in one or more accounts, you’re okay to just see the divorce attorney who will do your mediation (if mediation works for you).

  1. Choose a divorce lawyer open to mediation. Ideally, you want mediation. This will save you a lot of money and time. If you choose an aggressive divorce attorney who has never steered clients toward mediation, but loves the court room, you’re not likely to change his or her mind for you.

Choose an attorney certified in mediation, arbitration, and alternative dispute resolution by their State Bar. Such an attorney tends to guide clients into mediation first and only goes to court if nothing can be reasonably resolved that way.

Mediation is your best option to preserve as much of your assets as possible. Remember that it’s not only your spouse who loses big if you go to court. You’ll be paying your own lawyer $300-$700 per hour if there’s a divorce trial.  An average divorce trial costs $15,000 for EACH party to the divorce. Yeah . . .

  1. If you have minor children, DO NOT DISCUSS THE DIVORCE WITH THEM.

Sorry for shouting, but really. Leave them out of it. Tell them it’s going on, obviously, but they need not know that the two people they love most in the whole world now hate one another if that’s the case.

    • They don’t need to hear nasty fights over money, or over who gets what of the household goods.
    • The best you can do to help your children transition as smoothly as possible to the new situation is to:
    • Tell them you’re getting a divorce
    • make it clear that you both still love them, that this divorce has nothing at all to do with them, but is an issue between you and their other parent.
    • say you’re doing all you can to minimize the impact on them. And then do that.
    •  make sure they understand you are not abandoning them.
    • describe how their lifestyle will change. How they’ll now have two homes—if you opt for shared physical custody. Shared physical custody is preferable to Family Court in Nevada—unless there’s a strong reason to give physical custody to one parent and visitation only to the other.
    •  explain that they will still have access to you even when they’re at their other parent’s house.

Bottom line, do what you need to do so they still feel secure in their world.

Consider seeing a psychologist for a few family sessions (if your spouse is open to that—if not, go with your children anyway) to make the transition as smooth as possible for them.

  1. Lessen your expenses. Most people just coming out of a divorce can’t afford the same lifestyle they had during the marriage. Go through your budget with a fine-tooth comb and slash, slash, slash, any discretionary items until you can figure out how to increase your income, if you wish to live your same pre-divorce lifestyle.

Several of our divorce clients end up reaching out a year or so after their divorce wishing to file bankruptcy.  To be sure this isn’t you, cut up most credit cards immediately, except one or two for emergencies.

Every divorce is different, but the above do’s and don’ts should serve you well. As always, I’m available if you need a divorce attorney certified in mediation, one accredited by the court as a court arbitrator.

9 Things You Must Do Manage Your Finances After A Divorce

9 Things You Must Do

To Manage Your Finances

After A Divorce

Were you divorced in the recent or not-so-recent past?

Have you thought to change your financial documents to reflect that fact?

Here is a list of MUST-DOS to manage your finances after a divorce:

  1. You should remove your spouse’s name from any financial accounts that belong to you only. For instance, if the court granted you any certain bank account as a part of the financial settlement, be sure your spouse no longer has access to it. Same with retirement accounts and any other accounts that now belong to you only. What about access to bank safe, for instance? This one is almost easy to forget since you likely don’t go there regularly.
  2. Power of Attorney: during your marriage, had you given a power of attorney to your spouse to act on your behalf? If so, be sure to revoke it, unless you still trust your ex-spouse and wish for him or her to remain on the power of attorney.
  3. Update your living trust or your will. No living trust? You should consider having one, especially with minor children involved. This is how you can control how your money will be spent for your children should you meet an early demise, or become incapacitated to the extent you become unable to manage your financial affairs.

In a living trust, you can name a specific trustee to handle the finances of your children until they reach adulthood.

Most people want a say in how their estate will be used on their children’s behalf. If you leave this open, your ex-spouse will be put in charge, and might make decisions contrary to your wishes.

  1. Also with minor children, consider naming a guardian who is not your ex-spouse (you can do this in a Pour-over Will, a document often attached to a living trust), especially if your ex-spouse has a substance abuse problem.

You should keep any proof that your ex isn’t a proper parent with either your attorney, or the person you are naming as guardian (preferably both), so they can successfully petition the court for the guardianship of your children should the need arise. If you can afford it, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to set aside some money for the litigation.

  1. Do you have a living will? Most people name their spouse as Health Care Agent in their living will. If that’s what you did, be sure to update your Health Care Agent. After all, this person would be the one called if you were in a serious accident, and couldn’t communicate with the world.
  2. Do you have How about your life insurance policy? Many people name their spouse as beneficiary. Be sure to update your list of beneficiary(ies) as soon as possible, unless the court ordered you to keep a life insurance policy with your ex as the beneficiary (yes, this happens). It’s usually seen in the case of an incapacitated ex-spouse receiving alimony from you, or if your ex demanded it for the care of your children after your demise.
  3. If you have a 401K or IRA, or any other retirement account, be sure to take care of any needed changes with the administrator of your retirement account. If your marriage lasted longer than ten years, more than likely your attorney told you that you needed a QDRO after the divorce, and depending on what state you live in, it was perhaps executed along with the final decree of divorce.

But if that’s not the case, reach out to the company that administers your retirement account and provide them with your final decree of divorce, and with your new beneficiary.

  1. Contact the accountant or CPA who creates your tax returns. Let him or her know you divorced and ask how it will affect you. If you do your own taxes, do an online search on the subject.
  2. Do you have assets of considerable value? Meet with your financial advisor to make any changes you wish to make now you’re the only one making decisions about your money.

We can help if you live in Nevada and haven’t filed your divorce yet. https://nevadadivorce.org.  

Things to Check Out When Filing a Divorce in Nevada

FILING A DIVORCE IN NEVADA?

If you’re not sure where to start, this would be a good place. We’ll cover everything you must think about before you file your divorce. If you leave anything out, you could end up with a mess on your hands later, perhaps even have to go to court multiple times to fix it. It’s not unusual for clients to come to us after they’ve filed their own divorce, had it granted, and then realize that they left out important stuff.

Even if you retain an attorney, take the time to read your divorce documents before you sign them! Double check that the documents cover all the points listed below to save yourself a headache later.

We realized some time back that many of our divorce clients weren’t reading their divorce documents before signing them! This shocked us, quite frankly, and it occurred so often that we created an additional internal document for our clients to sign that states they read their divorce documents before signing them and that they understand them. Filing a divorce is one of the most important things you’ll ever do in your life. Take the time to make certain it covers all you need covered so you’re protected.

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT

Before you can even contemplate filing a divorce, check to be sure you’re eligible to file. In Nevada, you can file a divorce provided at least one the parties to the divorce has lived in Nevada for a minimum of six weeks before filing. Typically, a divorce is filed in the county where the resident party resides, though people sometimes file in other counties for the sake of convenience. However, if the plaintiff lives in another state and wants to file a divorce in Nevada against a Nevada resident, the divorce must be filed in the county where the Defendant resides. You may also file a divorce in Nevada if this is where you last resided with your spouse, or if this is where the cause of action for the divorce took place (meaning where your marriage broke up).

The actual Nevada statutes on the matter state the following:

Divorce from the bonds of matrimony may be obtained for the causes provided in NRS 125.010, by verified complaint to the district court of any county:

(a) In which the cause therefor accrued;
(b) In which the defendant resides or may be found;
(c) In which the plaintiff resides;
(d) In which the parties last cohabited; or
(e) If plaintiff resided 6 weeks in the State before suit was brought.

  1. Unless the cause of action accrued within the county while the plaintiff and defendant were actually domiciled therein, no court has jurisdiction to grant a divorce unless either the plaintiff or defendant has been a resident of the State for a period of not less than 6 weeks preceding the commencement of the action.

The court requires that an Affidavit of Resident Witness be filed as proof of the residency of either a Plaintiff, Defendant, or from one of the joint petitioners in a Joint Petition Divorce. If you live outside the State of Nevada, but your spouse lives here and you are filing a Complaint for Divorce (a one-signature divorce), an affidavit from someone who knows the Defendant well will have to be filed proving the residency of the Defendant.

 

GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE 

Nevada is a no-fault state. This means that either party may file a divorce due to incompatibly. The large majority of divorces filed in Nevada claim this reason as grounds because it makes things simpler.

Aside from incompatibility, there are two other grounds for divorce:

  • Insanity existing for two years before the filing of the divorce
  • living apart for one year before the filing of the divorce

Below is the exact Nevada revised statute regarding grounds for divorce in Nevada:

NRS 125.010 Causes for divorce. Divorce from the bonds of matrimony may be obtained for any of the following causes:

  1. Insanity existing for 2 years prior to the commencement of the action. Upon this cause of action, the court, before granting a divorce, shall require corroborative evidence of the insanity of the defendant at that time, and a decree granted on this ground shall not relieve the successful party from contributing to the support and maintenance of the defendant, and the court may require the plaintiff in such action to give bond therefor in an amount to be fixed by the court.
  2. When the husband and wife have lived separate and apart for 1 year without cohabitation the court may, in its discretion, grant an absolute decree of divorce at the suit of either party.
  3. Incompatibility.

 

PROPERTY DIVISION

Nevada is a community property state. This means that property acquired during the marriage by either party is community property. Same goes for debt.

The one difference is that if you inherited money during the marriage and never commingled it with the marital assets (such as depositing the funds into a shared account), that’s yours in its entirety.

If you used some of your inheritance for home improvements on a house you own with your spouse, you have commingled your inheritance with your community property. If you bought a house before your marriage, it’s yours alone unless you used community funds to maintain it or make mortgage payments on it. This means even using money you earned during the marriage because that income is considered community property. These are just two examples of what constitutes the commingling of funds. Ask your attorney if you’re not sure as this point can get sticky.

If a judge is the one to decide on your property division (if you agree on everything, you get to decide), all community property gets right down the middle unless there are circumstances as to why one spouse should get more than the other. There is no A or B choice here.

 

ALIMONY

In Nevada, there is no set rule on alimony. If you don’t agree to an amount either on your own, or through divorce mediation, the judge will decide based on many factors. Another thing that’s more complicated than making a simple A or B choice.

If alimony was granted in a divorce, the spouse paying it might be able to adjust it if he or she can show that his or her income adjusted by 20 percent or more.

The spouse receiving alimony remarries, the alimony obligation goes away, same if either party passes away.

Sections 8 and 9 of NRS 125.150 [Alimony and adjudication of property rights; award of attorney’s fee; subsequent modification by court] state this about alimony in Nevada:

  1. In addition to any other factors the court considers relevant in determining whether to award alimony and the amount of such an award, the court shall consider:

(a) The financial condition of each spouse;
(b) The nature and value of the respective property of each spouse;
(c) The contribution of each spouse to any property held by the spouses pursuant to NRS 123.030;
(d) The duration of the marriage;
(e) The income, earning capacity, age and health of each spouse;
(f) The standard of living during the marriage;
(g) The career before the marriage of the spouse who would receive the alimony;
(h) The existence of specialized education or training or the level of marketable skills attained by each spouse during the marriage;
(i) The contribution of either spouse as homemaker;
(j) The award of property granted by the court in the divorce, other than child support and alimony, to the spouse who would receive the alimony; and
(k) The physical and mental condition of each party as it relates to the financial condition, health and ability to work of that spouse.

  1. In granting a divorce, the court shall consider the need to grant alimony to a spouse for the purpose of obtaining training or education relating to a job, career or profession. In addition to any other factors the court considers relevant in determining whether such alimony should be granted, the court shall consider:

(a) Whether the spouse who would pay such alimony has obtained greater job skills or education during the marriage; and

(b) Whether the spouse who would receive such alimony provided financial support while the other spouse obtained job skills or education.

 

CHILD SUPPORT

Nevada has specific guidelines on child support, and the court adheres to this formula closely. Family court now requires a worksheet on how the parties determined child support amount be submitted. The judge will use the worksheet to verify that the parties adhered to the law. You can no longer simply state that each parent earns the same amount of money so that there is no child support to be paid when the parties share physical custody.

There are deviations from the formula, however:
(a) The cost of health insurance;
(b) The cost of child care;
(c) Any special educational needs of the child;
(d) The age of the child;
(e) The legal responsibility of the parents for the support of others;
(f) The value of services contributed by either parent;
(g) Any public assistance paid to support the child;
(h) Any expenses reasonably related to the mother’s pregnancy and confinement;
(i) The cost of transportation of the child to and from visitation if the custodial parent moved with the child from the jurisdiction of the court which ordered the support and the noncustodial parent remained;
(j) The amount of time the child spends with each parent;
(k) Any other necessary expenses for the benefit of the child.

Even if the parent liable for child support is unemployed, and even destitute, there is a minimum of $100 per month to be paid for each child.

 

CHILD CUSTODY

Family Court in Nevada favors joint physical custody if it deems it to be the best thing for the child. An exception would be one parent who lives close to the child’s school, and the other does not. Say both parents live in Las Vegas:  one in the far south around the Blue Diamond Road area, and the other in the far north of the city. Under this circumstance, a judge is likely to deem it best that a child live with the parent closest to the child’s school during school times, and with the other parent when school is out.

If one parent does not wish to live with his or her child, however, the court will grant full physical custody to the parent who wants it, and grant visitation to the other parent. Visitation is never forced.

Child support may be modified every three years; it can be lowered or increased depending on the circumstances. You can modify it before the three-year mark if you have had a change of circumstance making it impossible to pay the amount ordered in the decree of divorce.

Download the updated Child Support Guidelines here

If you cover all the above, you’ll be as protected as possible. As always, this isn’t specific legal advice to you. It’s a general information resource. There could be things specific to you that would add or take away from the points covered here. It’s always best to speak to an experienced divorce attorney.

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