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Should you take the parenting class when you divorce in Nevada?

Clients often ask us why they have to take the parenting class. It comes up sooner or later in every conversation we have with divorce clients.

We all have too much on our plates; that’s a fact. When we are going through a divorce, there’s even more to do, not to mention the stress it adds to your already over-scheduled day.

So, who wants to add one more thing to their to-do lists by taking a parenting class, even if it’s online?

First off, if you live in Clark County, Nevada and file a divorce here, it’s required by the court. Your divorce will not be granted otherwise.  The court made it mandatory in the hope that it would remove bickering divorced parents from the very busy court calendar.

Luckily, it’s now possible to take it online, so no driving, parking, and blocking out a particular time on a particular day. Just take it whenever you can fit it in, in the middle of the night even, if that’s what works best for you.

You might feel resentful at being told by a court that you have to take it in order to get your decree of divorce, and this can affect how you receive the information.

You might be tempted to take it in a hurry just to get the certificate you need, and you might not want to pay it much attention, but here’s why you should pay attention and give it as much time as it requires for you to retain the information in it and actually be able to use it later. Figure out how to see it as something valuable to you rather than just one more chore.

Because it is valuable to you. Very valuable. Even if it’s not a requirement where you live, you should strongly consider taking it.

Essentially, you’re trading the three to five hours it will take you to go through the course against possibly hundreds of hours of frustration with your ex (depending on how long you’ll co-parent your child(ren) with him or her), as well as saving your children from emotional damage associated with putting them in the middle.

Here’s how you will benefit:
1) You will learn the skills you need to avoid your children emotional harm caused by certain behaviors too often typical of divorcing parents:
o Having your child carry messages rather than communicating directly with your ex
o Questioning your child about what goes on in your ex’s house
o Putting you ex down verbally to your children
o Discussing money problems with your child
o Issues related to long-distance parenting

2) You will learn strategies with which to deal directly with your ex, which will benefit both of you as well as the children you must parent together:
o Deal with your ex in a respectable manner
o Learn tactics to control any anger you might feel toward your ex
o Learn to not play the “loyalty” game with your children. Your children love both of you and should be free to be loyal to both parents.

Think of the time and aggravation you’ll save yourself by simply having the tools to deal with potentially explosive situations with your ex and weigh it against just a few hours of your time now.  We think you know the answer now as to whether or not you should take the parenting class when you divorce in Nevada.

Should you move out of the marital home?

Many divorcing people ask themselves whether they should move out of the marital home. First of all, if you are in a dangerous situation and the only way to stabilize things and keepmove out of marital home yourself safe is to move out, then do so immediately, of course.  Nothing is worth compromising your safety. A little later in this article, we tell you what to do and what to take if you feel you must leave the home immediately for safety’s sake.If you have minor
children and wish to obtain either full or shared physical custody, it is best, if it is safe to do so, that you not move out of the marital home.

We had a client whom we’ll call Wayne whose wife had moved out of the home and went to live three blocks away at a friend’s home for the duration of their divorce because, as she apparently told our client, “I can’t wait to get away from you.” Well, this divorce took two years to finalize due to a lot of paperwork coming at us from wife’s attorney, many motions filed, and a packed court calendar.

Though our client’s wife remained involved in their three children’s lives on a nearly daily basis, they never spent the night with her due to a lack of space at the friend’s house. Essentially, they were living with Dad, our client, full time.

When it came time for the judge to make a decision on physical custody, it was easy enough for us to get the judge to grant our client full physical custody because the judge was naturally reluctant to uproot the children from Dad’s house for several days each week. Wife was told by the judge to get her own place and have the children spend her visitation weekends there with her and ask again in no sooner than six months about changing to a shared custody arrangement.  Wife lost out on her desired shared custody because she was too quick to leave the marital home.

So, unless you are in immediate danger, it might be best for you to bite the bullet and stay put. If you do leave because it is not safe for you to stay, be sure to get all of your important financial documents and records and take them with you. It’s even more crucial to do this if you are forced to leave the house by the court or the police.  If this occurs, you are not likely to be allowed back in until after a court hearing, if at all.

This is a list of most commonly-needed documents in a contested divorce situation:

  • tax returns
  • paycheck stubs if you are an employee
  • 1099s if you are a freelancer or independent contractor
  • mortgage loan documentation
  • car titles if you own your vehicle(s) free and clear
  • bank statements
  • brokerage account statements
  • loan agreements with family or friends if applicable
  • stocks and bonds you have on hand
  • credit card statements
  • loan documents for any outstanding loans

Take photos of any high-value artwork, collections of value, such as baseball cards, memorabilia, jewelry you can’t take with you (if you’re a man that would be your wife’s jewelry), even high-value clothing such as high-end handbags (Louis Vuitton, etc.)

The next thing to do, if you are moving out and your children are staying in the marital home, is to find a place to live nearby.  When the judge decides on physical custody, you are a lot more likely to win shared physical custody if the children’s school and extra-curricular activities’ schedules will not be disrupted by going from one home to the other.

Be sure to have your children spend time with you overnight as much as possible in your new home so that you are already following a semblance of a shared parenting schedule when you get to your day in court. The judge will want to know that the standard of living for the children in your new home is similar to what they are accustomed to in the marital home.

It’s sometimes a tough decision to make, but if there is any way possible, it’s probably best to stay in the marital home until everything has been decided.

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.

 

Should you seal your Nevada divorce file at court?

Seal your Nevada Divorce CaseFirst off, you should understand the difference between sealing and not sealing your divorce file.

If you do NOT seal your divorce documents file, it remains part of the public record.  As such, anyone who wishes to do so can present themselves at court and ask to see the file; people you know, people you’ve never met, any attorney. For instance, if you wished to see someone’s divorce file at court, you need only present yourself at the clerk’s office at Family Court, show some identification, and request the file.

You will be shown into a reading room and asked to sign out the divorce file you requested.  It will be retrieved by the court clerk and brought to you.   You will be able to read the entire file, as well as ask for copies of certain pages or documents in it, or even request that the entire file be copied.  You will not be allowed to leave that room or the court with the file.

Other than a very few smaller counties in Northern Nevada, most counties’ family courts’ databases can be accessed online.  At this time, only the case number, name of the parties, and names of the pleadings, such as joint petition for divorce, complaint for divorce, decree of divorce, and all other documents pertaining to your divorce, such as affidavits and financial disclosures, are visible to the public; the documents themselves are not visible, at least not at the time of this writing. Only attorneys have access to a paid service through which they can see full pleadings online.

If you file a formal request for the court to seal your divorce file, none of the court pleadings having to do with your Nevada divorce will be accessible to the public or attorneys, other than your own attorney and as long as he or she is still your attorney of record,  once the Order to Seal has been signed by the Family Court judge and filed by the Clerk of the Court.

A court order will be needed to access the file after it is sealed, except by the parties to the case who will have to present themselves at court in person and show identification.

If you obtained your divorce by a Default process (when the other party did not sign divorce documents and did not respond to the Complaint for Divorce) you will not be able to seal your divorce in Nevada. This is to allow access to the file by the Defendant.

If anyone were to search the court’s online database once your divorce is sealed,  nothing would show up at all either under your name, your spouse’s name, or under the case number.

Should you seal your own divorce? This is a very personal decision. Do you feel uncomfortable at the thought of any stranger having access to your divorce file and reading the financial settlement you arrived at with your spouse? Were there acrimonious affidavits filed by you or your spouse and you wish to keep those private? Does just knowing that your divorce is part of the public record bother you?

If so, you might want to seal your Nevada divorce file.

 

How to file a one-signature divorce in Nevada

This is a question we get asked so often from both annulment and divorce clients that one-signature divorce in Nevadawe decided to address it in more depth here.

First off, whether you are filing an annulment or a divorce, it is always less expensive and faster to have it granted if your spouse signs the papers. However, if your spouse refuses to sign, or you cannot find him or her, here’s how to file a one-signature divorce in Nevada.

Nevada law requires that your spouse be served with the Complaint for Divorce (or Complaint for Annulment), and then be given 21 days after the date of service (consecutive calendar days) to respond to the complaint. To make it simpler, the rest of this article will mostly refer to “complaint” rather than repeating Complaint for Divorce or Complaint for Annulment over and over.

When you serve the Complaint for Divorce, be sure to also serve a Joint Preliminary Injunction to keep the Defendant from cleaning out your joint bank accounts or transferring anything you own jointly into his or her name only.

Also, if you are in need of temporary child support or spousal support, or want exclusive use of the family home for the duration of the divorce, you should file a Motion for temporary support which will be heard by the judge sooner than any possible divorce trial.

If you have no idea where your spouse resides, you might want to consider hiring an investigator before filing your divorce so that the 120-day deadline on filing the Affidavit of Service doesn’t elapse while you are attempting to find him or her.

If a skip-trace does not turn up the whereabouts of your spouse, publication of the Summons must take place. This requires that the Summons be published once a week for five weeks (when filed in Nevada). And just as in when the Defendant is served personally, there is a 21-day waiting period after the last date of publication before the Default can be submitted to the court.

A Default essentially means that the Defendant does not object to the divorce or annulment. A Default is granted by the court with proof of service, either personal or by publication.

To properly respond to a complaint the Defendant must file an Answer and Counterclaim with the Family Court where your case was filed, and must do so no later than 21 days after he or she was served with the Complaint.

Please note, that if you are in a domestic violence situation, it would be far better to have the Defendant served rather than face a violent situation when you ask your spouse to sign the papers.

Should your spouse file an Answer and Counterclaim after he or she has been served, your divorce or annulment will be considered a contested matter. If your spouse contests, the first thing the court does is set a Case Management Conference, which is essentially forced mediation. We are strong advocates of mediation as it avoids much anxiety for the parties as well as save them a lot of money. Our philosophy is, if you can’t come to an agreement on your own, why not enter into mediation before filing and therefore avoid high attorney fees for both sides (minimum of $2500-$5000 for each party in most cases) just to end up in mediation anyway?

For details or to start the process of filing a Complaint for divorce, visit this page: http://nevadadivorce.org/one_signature_divorce_complaint.html

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