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6 Most-asked Questions Regarding Residency for a Nevada Divorce

You’ll find much incorrect information surrounding how to establish residency for a Nevada residency for Nevada divorcedivorce, or a Nevada annulment while browsing online. Not surprisingly, this is one of the most-asked questions we receive. So, in the spirit of setting the record straight, here are the 6 most-asked questions pertaining to what the court looks for as proof of your Nevada residency when it comes to filing a Nevada divorce:

  1. Do both my spouse and I have to be Nevada resident to file a divorce in Nevada?

No. Only one of the parties must have resided in Nevada for a minimum of six-weeks before filing a divorce.  If you are filing for an annulment and you obtained your marriage in Nevada then you need not be a Nevada resident.  The Court has jurisdiction to set aside the marriage.  However, if you want to annul a marriage from another state residency is required.

  1. How do I prove I’m a resident?

The main proof comes in the form of an Affidavit of Resident Witness. The individual who signs this sworn Affidavit in front of a notary must be another Nevada resident who knows you to have lived in Nevada for a minimum of six weeks before the date your divorce is filed.

This can be a friend, relative, co-worker, landlord, employer or employee, just anyone else at all who is a Nevada resident and is willing to sign this affidavit.  If you are moving to Nevada not long before you plan to file a divorce, be sure to make some friends in your neighborhood or at work.  You will need your resident witness to sign an affidavit that states that not only has he or she known you to have lived in Nevada for 6 weeks, but that he or she sees you three to four times per week.  If you have children and they live here with you in Nevada, they must reside here for 6 months before the Court will exercise jurisdiction over their custody and visitation.

  1.  Do I have to change my driver’s license to Nevada before I sign my Nevada divorce documents?

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) does require that incoming residents trade in their out-of-state driver’s license for a Nevada driver’s license before the first 30-day period of residency has expired. However, we are working for you and not for DMV so if you provide us with sufficient photo identification and evidence that you actually now reside in Nevada we will notarize your signature reminding you that you are under oath.

The Court generally does not ask to see your driver’s license unless you must make a court appearance in your divorce.  If you cannot obtain a driver’s license DMV issues a state identification card which will be sufficient.

If your divorce is uncontested, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll have to appear in court and show as much proof of your residency, though it has occurred in the past.  However, if the divorce is contested and your spouse challenges your residence then you will have to come up with other proof that you moved here for a legitimate reason (work, family, etc.) and have the intent to remain.

Under the above circumstances, it is a good idea to corroborate your Nevada residency in the form of:

  • Nevada driver’s license
  • Voter registration (if you vote)
  • Rental or utility company receipts (if you rent/own a place where the utilities are in your name)
  • Car registration, if you own a vehicle.
  1. Can I just move to Nevada, get my divorce, and leave?

Your divorce documents will state that, at the time you sign your divorce documents you have the intent to remain in Nevada after your divorce.  Your Affidavit will state that it is still your intent to remain in Nevada for an indefinite period of time.  The court has nothing to say on the fact that you might change your mind afterwards.  However, this does not mean that you can come to Nevada, spend 6 weeks here, sign your divorce papers and leave town.  You would be advised to remain in Nevada at least until your uncontested divorce is granted.

  1. I’m getting divorced because of an Immigration issue. Can I just move to Nevada, get a divorce, and leave?

There have been many instances in the recent past where Immigration officer have questioned the validity of Nevada divorces obtained to benefit parties in an Immigration case.  Our office had a case where there was a paralegal company in New York City advertising Nevada divorces and gave out inaccurate information on residence.  When an immigration application for a visa was filed after the Nevada divorce was granted, the immigration officer wanted much more evidence of the applicant’s Nevada residency than just a cousin’s affidavit that he had seen the client in Nevada for 6 weeks.  If immigration suspects fraud by a non-citizen they can abort the immigration application and deport a person or not allow them reentry in to the country.

  1. What constitutes a legal residence?

The term, legal residence, applies to the place a person spends most of his or her time and is the home that is recognized as yours by law. For instance, you have a driver’s license issued by that state, and/or you claim Nevada as your home state on your tax filings, and/or you claim Nevada as your home state on your LES if you are military.

Residency as a legal term has different meanings in different contexts in the law.  Also different jurisdictions define residency in different ways because of different laws.  Some people consider themselves to have two residencies, especially when they have a second home.  A deployed member of the military may be a permanent resident of Nevada even if he or she has been in Iraq for the past two years.  Bankruptcy may require that you live in Nevada 6 months before you file whereas you only have to live in Nevada 6 weeks to file for divorce.  Context is everything when it comes to legal residence.

There’s more here on Nevada residency and divorce

Can I leave the State of Nevada with my children?

You’re married with children and have become accustomed to leaving the state with your children, without their other parent, on a regular basis to visit family, friends, or for vacations, or just because.

You are now getting a divorce from the other parent of your child(ren) and you want to move to another state or country to be closer to family, or because of a great job offer.

The glitch is that by Nevada law, the rules on your comings and goings from the state with your children have changed once a divorce has been filed.

It comes as a surprise to some that they cannot leave the state with their children without the permission of either the other parent of their child(ren),  or of  the judge in the form of a court order.

If you leave the state before a divorce action has been filed, it is assumed that the permission of the other spouse was obtained. There are no assumptions anymore once a divorce has been filed by either of you, even if you filed a joint petition divorce.

If the child(ren)’s habitual state of residence has been Nevada and you do relocate to another state, or country,  with your child(ren) before a divorce action has been filed and your spouse then files a Complaint for Divorce asking for physical custody, a judge might well order the children back to Nevada, especially if it appears that the intent behind the move was malicious towards the other parent rather than moving because of work or to be nearer to family for help with the child(ren).

The jurisdiction of children under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act is the state where the children have lived for the majority of the 6 months immediately preceding divorce filings.

There are some exceptions to the rule, of course, especially if the court finds that Nevada is not a proper forum (court) in which to decide physical custody of the child(ren):

NRS 125A.365  Inconvenient forum.

 A court of this state which has jurisdiction pursuant to the provisions of this chapter to make a child custody determination may decline to exercise its jurisdiction at any time if it determines that it is an inconvenient forum under the circumstances and that a court of another state is a more appropriate forum. The issue of inconvenient forum may be raised upon motion of a party, the court’s own motion or request of another court.

 Before determining whether it is an inconvenient forum, a court of this state shall consider whether it is appropriate for a court of another state to exercise jurisdiction. For this purpose, the court shall allow the parties to submit information and shall consider all relevant factors, including:

(a) Whether domestic violence has occurred and is likely to continue in the future and which state could best protect the parties and the child;

(b) The length of time the child has resided outside this state;

(c) The distance between the court in this state and the court in the state that would assume jurisdiction;

(d) The relative financial circumstances of the parties;

(e) Any agreement of the parties as to which state should assume jurisdiction;

(f) The nature and location of the evidence required to resolve the pending litigation, including testimony of the child;

(g) The ability of the court of each state to decide the issue expeditiously and the procedures necessary to present the evidence; and

(h) The familiarity of the court of each state with the facts and issues in the pending litigation.

 If a court of this state determines that it is an inconvenient forum and that a court of another state is a more appropriate forum, it shall stay the proceedings upon condition that a child custody proceeding be promptly commenced in another designated state and may impose any other condition the court considers just and proper.

If you do move out of the state with your child(ren) and with your spouse’s permission, and no divorce is impending, it is best and safest for you to get that permission in writing, preferably notarized, in the event a divorce follows later.

For your best course of action if you find yourself in a divorce situation and need to move outside Nevada with your minor children (under the age of 19), if your spouse will not give you written permission, is to contact your attorney for advice.

You can get more information on filing a divorce with children here

Do I have to take the C.O.P.E. class if I have children?

If you live in Las Vegas (Clark County) the short answer is “yes.” This one-time (can now be taken online) class IS required of all divorcing parties in Nevada who have children together.

You will see ways to avoid taking this class as you browse online, but the way to avoidcope class in las vegas it involves filing your divorce case in counties other than Clark County that do not require it.  At first glance this might seem like a good deal for you, but based on years of divorce experience and of domesticating (moving) cases from those other counties to Clark County to address child support and visitation issues, it’s not a good deal at all in the end. Chances are high in a divorce with children that you will return to court at some point.

Reasons you might return to court after your divorce is granted:

  • Review child support (you are entitled to review child support every three years)
  • Address physical custody
  • Address visitation
  • Address the court for permission to take a child on a vacation if the other parent objects
  • Address issue of the cost of extra-curricular activities as your children grow up
  • Address any issue you might be having with the other parent not complying with the decree of divorce in regards to visitation, child support, or other issues.

Calculate how many times you might return to court between the time your divorce is granted and your child reaches the age of 18.

If you live in Clark County and your divorce is filed in a county located a day’s drive, or an hour flight away, it means you’ll have to spend money to either travel to court there, or move your case to Clark County before addressing issues. When a case has to be moved from one county to the next, these are the steps that must be taken:

  1. File a motion to change venue in the court where your decree was granted
  2. Appear at Court to have it granted
  3. Submit an Order to Transfer Venue to the judge and wait for it to be signed and filed.
  4. Once the court clerk in Clark County receives your file you will have to pay a filing fee here to complete the transfer.

Only after all of the above has been done can you address the court in Clark County to modify any of the clauses in your final decree of divorce.  The average attorney fee to do this is $750 plus the filing costs of approximately $326.

As you can see, both are costly choices compared to the $45 it will cost each of you to take the class. You can take it in person for $40 if you prefer that to doing it online.

That’s the financial aspect of things. The most important reason for you to take the COPE class is certainly for the well-being of your children. Even if the court didn’t require it, it would certainly benefit parents to take the class which helps you with the following:

  • How to focus on the needs of your children
  • How to lower the stress of your children
  • How to co-parent and work together for the benefit of your children
  • Less child reported stress (22%)
  • Fewer school absences (70%)
  • Fewer doctor visits (54%)

It has been proven that a divorce, a major event in the life of a child, when not handled right, can cause high stress and long-term psychological burden on children. Taking the COPE class helps you help your child through your divorce in a way that will minimize stress. It also teaches you ways to deal with a difficult co-parent.

All in all, it’s a huge benefit for a small investment.

3 Important Tips on How to Cope with a Divorce during the Holidays

Are you having an unusually difficult time with your divorce because it’s also the holiday season? A divorce is one of the most difficult and stressful period of your life, especially with children, yet everyone around you expects you to look and feel happy because they do.

You need a plan.

I’ve been a family law attorney in Las Vegas, Nevada for more than twenty-five years. During that time, I’ve seen lots of people going through a divorce during the holidays. I know a few things about how to cope, but I also went looking for unusual tips from experts who aren’t lawyers in an effort to give you a broader spectrum.

I included one tip from each expert with links to their articles, followed by my own tips.

divorce during the holidays

rights purchased from dreamstime.com

Robert E. Emory, PHD, of http://bit.ly/1IM8DlO offers ten tips. My favorite on his list is “Celebrate with your children’s other parent.” Unusual? Shocking?

I know that for many people, yes, it is, but think about it. If you can manage one event, small or large, with your ex, your children are sure to feel more relaxed about then being separated from one parent or the other for the remainder of the holidays.

Dr. Karen Finn, http://bit.ly/1liY4Sy — has a great tip that can help whether or not you have children. She recommends giving yourself a gift.

© Liz Van Steenburgh Dreamstime Stock Photos

And why not? You most likely will not be getting a gift from your spouse or be gifting him or her either. Grab the opportunity to buy yourself something you really like.

 

 

 

Below is my list on how to cope with the holiday season while in a divorce:

  1. Start a new tradition, on your own or with your children if you have them, rather than continue with the ones you followed with your spouse.
  2. If you are single, or if your children will be with your ex, plan ahead of time to do something to help others. It’s a well-known fact that helping others lifts our own mood in turn. Volunteer at a shelter, for instance, or visit people in hospitals with no family, or give friends with children a night off while you watch the kids.
  3. 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.

Your spirits will lift from your new activities! We are social creatures and even when feeling low, we derive comfort from being around others. You will also feel empowered from having weathered holiday events on your own.

Now, go forth and make merry!

Conexa, LLC, Discount divorce law firm in Las Vegas, Nevada.

 

What is the Difference Between a Legal Separation and Divorce?

In Nevada, when you decide to dissolve a marriage relationship, you have two options:legal separation versus divorce

  1. File a divorce, unless you object to divorce for religious or personal reasons, or you are uncertain if you want to dissolve the marriage.
  2. If you don’t want to completely sever the marital ties, you have the option to file an action for separate maintenance instead, also commonly known as a legal separation.

Couples who wish to protect themselves from the financial obligations entered into by their spouse after a separation, but either object to divorce or want to take some time before filing for one, usually choose this option.

Another reason for choosing a legal separation over divorce is when one party is on the health insurance of the other and does not want to lose the coverage it offers.

If a divorce is filed later, the terms of the Separate Maintenance are incorporated into the Decree of Divorce.

Essentially, a legal separation addresses all issues normally addressed in a divorce, falling just short of dissolving the marriage.

Issues addressed in both divorce and separate maintenance:

  1. Spousal and child support.
  2. Possession and/or division of community property and deb.
  3. How future income property and debt are to be handled.
  4. Disclosure and modification provisions.
  5. Relationship to divorce decree and reconciliation.
  6. Tax issues.
  7. Attorney’s fees.
  8. Estate planning.

Before filing for divorce, which dissolves the marriage completely, especially when you have minor children, it’s wise to consider filing a legal separation first as a way to test if you really do wish to end the marriage.

Below are some circumstances and conditions under which you should consider a legal separation instead of a divorce:

  1. Older couple where medical insurance and spousal benefits are important.
  2. Couple with children who want to cause minimal trauma to children during separation.
  3. Couple who are on the fence about divorce and want to do a trial separation.
  4. Long marriage where the cost and consequences of unwinding the community property is not worth the attorney’s fees, appraisal costs and expert fees.

Often separate maintenance provisions have a clause that indicates that in the event of a divorce the obligations, duties, rights and responsibilities contained in the decree of separate maintenance will be incorporated by reference into the decree of divorce.

In Nevada, a court filing for a separate maintenance cannot be done as a joint petition, as there is no Nevada Revised Statute allowing for a joint decree of separate maintenance, whereas it is possible to file a joint petition for divorce and obtain a decree of divorce.

The parties are free to include any provisions in their legal separations or divorce pleadings as long as they are in compliance in with the law and not against public policy. For example, in Nevada, parties to a divorce or separate maintenance cannot agree to lump sum child support. The Supreme Court has ruled against that.

Courts always reserve the power to look out for the best interests of the children. The contract is between the parents; the children are the concern of the State.

If the parties reconcile after a legal separation filing, the decree of legal separation will be terminated; if the parties separate again, a new legal separation filing will be required unless the first filing contained a provision that the first decree of legal separation will continue in full force if the parties reconcile then separate anew.

In a divorce, there is a six months period of time during which the parties can ask the court to have the final decree of divorce set aside. After six months has elapsed, the parties’ only option if they wish to reconcile is to get married again.

 

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