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What to Expect at Your Case Management Conference at Family Court in Nevada

When a Complaint for Divorce is filed in Family Court in Nevada and the other party responds by filing an Answer and Counterclaim, the first thing Family Court does is set a mandatory Case Management Conference (CMC). This sets the case on either a litigation track, meaning a trial date will be set, or final resolution during the Case Management Conference itself. Both parties are expected to attend.

How judges handle a Case Management Conference

Not every family court judge handles the Case Management Conference the same way. Just know that items #1 through #4 on the list below are things that usually do happen, and that items #5 through #8 are things that might  or might not happen.

Things likely to happen during the conference:

Item #1: By the time of the case management conference the Judge expects that Plaintiff and Defendant will have filed financial disclosure forms on the Court’s form indicating that their respective income, expenses, assets and debts are. This give the Judge a financial picture of the parties which will help the Judge administer the case.

Each side has to attach 3 pay stubs or income statement to the FDF. So this is item number 1 and the Judge could sanction you if you do not have this document completed and filed at the time of the hearing.

Item #2:  Applies only to parties with minor children:
If you have children the Judge is required to send you to mandatory mediation in order to try to formulate a parenting plan with the help of one of the Court’s counselors, therapists or mediators. The Judge will then set a date about 1-2 months from then for you to come back court to ask if either a partial or full parenting plan has been agreed upon between you and your spouse.

NOTE: To speed up your case, you can submit a request for mediation right after an Answer and Counterclaim is filed. This way, perhaps you can have your return from mediation hearing at the same time as your case management conference.

Item # 3: Next comes setting the case down for either trial or a status check. One main reason for the CMC is to move the case along as the Judges want to be able to conclude the case within a year after it has been filed. Therefore, the Judge will want to know how long the parties need for Discovery and when can they, or their lawyers, will be ready for trial.

Item #4: There is a mandatory initial disclosure of witnesses and exchange of documents between the Plaintiff and Defendant. While it is possible that both parties have the same copies of documents, e.g., income tax returns, bank statements, credit card bills, title to cars, 401(k) statements, etc., the Court nevertheless wants an exchange of documents which might be used at trial. The rule is that if you don’t disclose the document up front, you cannot use it later at a hearing.

Also, the names, numbers, addresses, and expected testimony of witnesses must be disclosed. You obviously list your spouse, but also be sure to add teachers, accountants, friends, coaches, and any other individual you might want to later call as a witness.  If you don’t list someone, you cannot later call him or her as a witness.

Things that may or may not occur during a case management conference:

Item #5: Some Judges will, even if no motion has been filed by either party, make temporary orders during the Case Management Conference.

These include orders for temporary custody, visitation, child support, alimony, exclusive possession of the home or car, etc. Be prepared to address these issues.

Item #6: Another discretionary item the judge might address is misbehavior of the parties during the period of time leading up to the case management conference. Whether there has been a violation of the joint preliminary injunction, interference with visitation, refusal to pay bills, overspending, threats or abuse, etc. The judge might address the issues and admonish the parties or provide them with guidance.

Item #7: A third discretionary item judges may address at the Case Management Conference is whether to send the parties to a settlement judge or financial mediator to work out the division of debts and liabilities before the Judge actually sets the case for trial.

The judge might also make referrals to outsourcers, e.g., counselors, psychologists, private mediators, etc. This can be a good thing if it helps in the case, but if it does not,  it could delay your eventual trial date.

Item #8: Finally, the case management conference is used by some judges to try to settle as many issues as possible right then and there. The Judge will sometimes either resolve the entire case during the CMC,  or just set the matter down for a hearing on one or two issues, like the amount of support, or the division of the personal property.

After the Case Management Conference, the Court will prepare an Order setting forth what was discussed and any dates for future hearings including the divorce trial, if applicable.

Feel free to contact us with any questions regarding obtaining a divorce in Nevada. Or call 702-420-7052

 

How are Community Property and Debts Divided in a Divorce?

You are about to get started with a divorce and wonder. How are community property and community debts divided in a Nevada divorce?

COMMUNITY PROPERTY

Nevada is a community property state. This means that, in a marriage, the name under which an asset is held does not determine which spouse holds an interest in it. This means that even if you buy a house in your name only while married, the house belongs to both your spouse and you (unless your spouse signed a waiver during the purchase).

What’s important is whether the married couple purchased the house during the marriageand what source of funds were used to make the purchase.

If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that addresses community property what we say here does not pertain to you. Your pre or postnuptial agreement would prevail.

This article assumes that you live in Nevada and do not have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

 

HOW EQUITY IN A HOME COULD BE DIVIDED

Let’s say you purchased your home before the marriage and once married, you make the mortgage payments from a joint account. If you live in Nevada, this would give your spouse a right to half of any equity increase in the home since the date of the marriage. Before equity distribution, however, your down payment would be returned to you if you sold the house as a part of the property settlement.

Let’s follow John and Mary for a simplified example of the above.

  • Mary purchases a home on her own before her marriage to John.
  • She puts $10,000 down on the home.
  • Once married, the couple opens a joint bank account and makes the mortgage payment with funds from that account.
  • After five years of marriage, they divorce.
  • Since the date of the marriage, the home has increased in equity by $30,000.
  • They sell the home as part of their marital settlement.
  • Mary gets her $10,000 down payment back
  • The remaining $20,000 in equity is divided between them.
  • Any equity from before the date of the marriage belongs to Mary.

 

HOW ANY OTHER PROPERTY MIGHT BE DIVIDED

The same goes with any other property purchased after the marriage, such as a car or fine art, or jewelry.  In community property states, it doesn’t matter in whose name the property (houses, cars, furniture, art work, electronics, etc.)  is held under.

Let’s go back to John and Mary.

  • A year after they married, the couple buys a vintage car.
  • They use funds from their joint account to pay for it, $16,000 in cash.
  • John has the car registered in his name only because it was just easier.
  • When they divorce, John gives Mary $10,000 for her share of the car now worth $20,000.
  • It doesn’t matter that the car is in John’s name only.

In Nevada, the earnings of either party during the marriage are community property. If one of you makes more money than the other and deposits more into a joint savings account,  you’re both entitled to half of those funds, not just what you each deposited into the account.

If you keep ownership of real, or other, property and bank accounts separate and don’t use community funds to augment them or to pay for maintaining them, such as maintaining a house you owned before the marriage,  then said property and accounts will remain your separate property.

 

INHERITED PROPERTY

Inherited property doesn’t fall under Nevada community property, BUT there’s a caveat.

For example, John’s mother passed away two years into his marriage and left him a mortgage-free house worth $200,000.

John never used community assets for upkeep because his mother also left him some money for that purpose. John has never commingled those funds. The house belongs to John only and Mary has no rights to it.

If John quitclaims the house to Mary and himself after he inherits it, Mary now has a right to any equity increase in the house from the time he recorded the quitclaim deed. If the house remains in his name only, but he uses community property funds to maintain the house, Mary now has a claim to the house because John gifted the house to their community property interest by using community funds.

 

COMMINGLING OF FUNDS

We find that commingling of funds, mixing separate property with community property,  such as John paying to fix the house his mother gave him with funds from a joint account he has with Mary, is the usual ways separate property becomes community property. We refer to this as transmutation. There is a presumption that when you donate separate property to community property that it is a gift to the community property.

 

 

COMMUNITY DEBTS

The parties share any debt entered into by either spouse during the marriage.

Let’s say John took out a credit card in his name only while married to Mary and stopped making payments at some point. Mary is responsible for that debt same as if she’d opened the account herself. Creditors will look to her for payback if John does not pay.

If the final decree of divorce states that John is responsible for paying back the debt, the creditor still has the right to go after Mary for payments if John defaults.

Though Family Court has jurisdiction over John and Mary, it has no jurisdiction over a third party such as a credit card company. Usually, credit card companies do not go after an ex-spouse to collect, but it has happened,  and they have a right to collect from Mary.

Same thing with any debt at all, be it a car, a house, furniture, or art work. Say John bought a car during the marriage, in his name only, and he gets the car as a part of the divorce settlement. But, also as a part of their settlement, Mary takes responsibility for the car payments. A year after the divorce, she defaults on the payments: the car company will repossess it from John even though it’s Mary’s debt, not his.

The bottom line is that Nevada is not a title state but a community property state.  For the purposes of a divorce, a community is like a partnership with each party reaping benefits for both partners or incurring debt for both of them.  The two become one.

NRS 125.150 is where you’ll find the Nevada statutes that pertain to division of property in a divorce.

Do you wonder if you’ll have to pay alimony if you divorce? Or spousal support if you separate? This article will explain it.

If you have questions about how to divide your property in your divorce, or if you’re ready to get started with your divorce, read more here

 

 

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