This should help answer your most pressing questions if you are either contemplating divorce or are currently going through a divorce and you have children with your spouse. In most divorces that involve children, we get asked most of these same questions each and every time.
Why do I have to pay Child Support when I share physical custody with my spouse?
In many cases, even when parents share physical custody fairly equally, one parent will end up paying at least some child support.
First off, for your arrangement to be considered shared physical custody, the court likes to see a time split that amounts to a near-equal number of hours shared by the parents, outside school hours. For instance, if your child is with you from Friday after school until Monday when you drop him off at school, and is then with your spouse from after school on Monday until Friday morning school time, that would be considered equal time even though your child is with you for only two full days. This is because, since there is no school on the weekend, you have spent pretty much the same number of the child’s awake hours with the child, as did the parent who had the child from Monday after school through Friday morning before school.
In Nevada, child support is calculated according to a specific formula which you’ll find on our Divorce with Children page.
Do I have to buy health insurance for my child(ren) even though they don’t have coverage now?
Nevada expects one parent to be responsible for health care cost of the child(ren), usually in the form of a health insurance policy. If neither parent can cover this cost, an explanation must be given in the divorce pleadings. Both parents are expected to share, fifty/fifty, medical costs not covered by the insurance. If Mother incurred the medical expense for the child, she must present Father with the invoice within 30 days of incurring it. Father must then reimburse Mother his fifty percent share of that expense.
Can I include college expenses into the decree of divorce?
Nevada has no rules or laws about this, so it’s discretionary. The parties can agree to include it in the decree of divorce, but the judge has no jurisdiction over it, therefore cannot force a parent to pay for the college education of a child.
Can I ask for money for extra-curricular activities for the child(ren)?
Quite possibly. Extra-curricular activities such as sports, private school tuition, costs of child care, are all items on the allowed list of deviations from the child support guidelines. (NRS125B.080). Below are some of the most common deviations:
- Cost of health insurance
- Cost of child care
- Special educational needs of the child
- Age of the child
- Legal responsibility of parents for the support of others (such as children from a previous relationship)
- 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
- 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
- The amount of time the child spends with each parent
- Any other necessary expenses for the benefit of the child
- The relative income of both parents
Can I move out of the State of Nevada with my children?
Leaving the state permanently or temporarily without your spouse and taking your children with you while you are married is perfectly legal. Once you file a divorce, however, the rules change. You will need your spouse’s written consent and if your spouse won’t give permission, you will need to obtain a court order from the judge assigned to your divorce case.
If the child(ren)’s habitual residence has been Nevada for at least six months and you move outside the State of Nevada with your child(ren) and your spouse subsequently files a Complaint for Divorce asking for physical custody, a Nevada judge might well order the children back to Nevada. The judge would look at your reason for moving; if moving closer to family or work was not the reason, and it appears that the move was simply malicious towards your spouse, it’s highly likely that you’d have to return the child(ren) to Nevada.
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.
As always, this is general information; you should always consult an attorney before taking action.
Author: Office of Attorney James E. Smith — http://nevadadivorce.org/about_nevada_divorce.htm
Contrary to popular belief spousal support and alimony are alive and well in Nevada and might well be granted in a divorce.
Spousal support is financial support given by one spouse to the other while the parties are still married, before a divorce, usually as part of a separate maintenance action (a.ka. legal separation).
Alimony is financial support given by one spouse to the other spouse after a divorce. Alimony payments are deductible to the payor and considered income to the payee by the IRS. Alimony is separate from any property settlement.
Since the advent of women in the work force, alimony isn’t granted as often as it was in divorces in the past when a lot of women were stay-at-home moms or homemakers.
However, under the following conditions, a judge will still consider alimony:
- when there is a disparity in income between the parties
- when the couple has been married or in a domestic partnership for a long period of time
- when a spouse needs financial support because of a health issue
- when a spouse needs retraining to get back into the work force
Other considerations under NRS 125.150 (Nevada law on alimony) include:
- 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
Note that Nevada is a “no fault” state, so bad acts (such as cheating on a spouse) that do not cause economic harm or “community waste” are not grounds for temporary spousal support or alimony.
If you need spousal support right away when you file for divorce, you must file a motion for temporary spousal support. This will get you a hearing in front of the judge sooner.
In Nevada, a judge has a lot of discretion in deciding whether to grant alimony or not, as well as how much and for how long:
- If it’s a marriage of less than 3 years, alimony is unlikely though not impossible.
- If the marriage is from 3 to 20 years, alimony could be granted for as many years as half of the length of the marriage, e.g, if married for 10 years, alimony is paid for five years.
- If the marriage was longer than 20 years then permanent alimony is highly possible, and even likely.
Alimony ceases by operation of law on death or remarriage of the spouse receiving alimony. Alimony can be modified if there is an increase or decrease of 20% of more in the paying party’s income. This is a change of circumstances. However, the Court will look to see if the payor is underemploying or unemploying himself to make sure that the modification motion is in good faith. Parties also have the option to stipulate to non-modifiable alimony which would preclude a modification motion.
An option to monthly alimony payments is a lump sum non-modifiable alimony. In fact, with much older couples the Court will often consider lump sum alimony instead of periodic payments simply to avoid the payee becoming suddenly destitute because of the untimely death of the payor.
Author: Attorney James E. Smith — http://nevadadivorce.org/about/
Gwyneth Paltrow certainly got tongues wagging with her way of handling, and looking at, the dissolution of her marriage to Chris Martin. Perhaps in the future couples will say that they are uncoupling rather than divorcing. The more enlightened ones might even say that they’re undergoing a “conscious uncoupling” as Ms. Paltrow said. With people living longer than ever, and our world advancing at an unprecedented pace, marriage might one day not be expected to last forever. This is merely an exploration of what might be and not said to offend those who still believe that couples should mate for life.
No matter what you choose to call it, if you married legally and no longer want the relationship, it all boils down to divorcing, albeit if done consciously, it will be without fighting, without “punishing” your soon-to-be-ex by manipulating community funds, or taking all the money out of mutual accounts, without using the kids to fight battles, without bashing your spouse to anyone who will listen.
You could say that conscious uncoupling is a collaborative divorce, albeit one on steroids, since the premise behind conscious uncoupling includes nurturing the spiritual aspect of divorce.
If you think about it, divorce involves moving forward and changing for both parties, for the children too, even. Moving forward in life and changing is essentially personal growth. Furthermore, personal growth and spirituality go hand in hand. When you make personal growth a priority in your life, you become spiritual; when you make spirituality a priority, in time you grow into your best self.
The best way to keep a divorce civil, to remain conscious during the split, is to divorce in a non-combative, collaborative way.
What’s the best way to do so?
Resign yourself to biting your tongue a lot throughout the process, for one. In other words, commit to remaining civil with your spouse at all times. During negotiations over how to split the bills and any money you both have a right to, commit to not blurting out what he or she did that might have brought on the divorce, such as cheating, or not helping carry the load, or allowing the kids to eat Cheetos for breakfast in front of the T.V. It has nothing to do with property and debt division. Same with going off about money in the middle of a conversation to decide physical custody and visitation.
Be open-minded when discussing physical custody and visitation with the children. That other person is still their parent, just like you. Also, arrangements about the children that work for John and Mary may not be the best thing for your family. Think. What’s right for your particular situation? Don’t just mimic what other people are doing. Both parents should spend a few days going over in their own mind how it might best be handled and then, if not able to share it with each other in person because you fear you’ll fight about it, do it by email until you can come up with a plan that works best for the children to continue thriving between your two households. Be careful and conscious before you click Send.
Do the same when deciding how you’ll split property and debts and any retirement accounts.
Lastly, agree to disagree civilly on the things there is no way you’ll ever agree on—these things are most likely the reasons for your divorce. People do keep growing as individuals and sometimes, unfortunately, you grow at a different rate, or in a different direction from your spouse. If you aim to be a conscious, spiritual person, or just someone who wants the best for your children, someone who wants to respect the love you once had for the person you are now divorcing, you will aim for a conscious uncoupling.
If you feel you might have difficulty negotiating directly with your spouse, especially if you have children and property to divide, you might consider a mediation session with a qualified divorce mediator, many of whom are family law attorneys. A divorce with terms arrived at with the help of a licensed, professional mediator is known as a Collaborative Divorce, or Mediated Divorce. We explain this in detail here.
In a large majority of divorce mediation cases that come through our office, just an hour or two resolves all issues. Besides feeling good about your conscious uncoupling, the glicken is that you stand to save thousands of dollars in attorney fees.
Author: Attorney James E. Smith — http://nevadadivorce.org/about_nevada_divorce.htm