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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

How to obtain a divorce when your spouse has disappeared

how to obtain a divorce when your spouse has disappearedIt’s discouraging when the person to whom you promised to spend the rest of your life with simply  disappears, seemingly without a trace.

We had a female client recently, we’ll call her Lisa for the purposes of this article, whose husband of ten years left the home without notice, just leaving a brief note to say he was leaving and not coming back. The parties own a home and have two children together.

Months went by and the Husband made no contact with Lisa, and no amount of asking relatives or friends turned him up. Finally, not knowing what to do, she called our office wondering if she could even file a divorce since she could not find him anywhere.

We reassured her that, in Nevada, the law allows for being able to obtain a divorce even in these circumstances. This is how to obtain a divorce when your spouse has disappeared.

We do it in this way:

  • We file a one-signature divorce on behalf of the Plaintiff and get a Summons issued.
  • We then do a skip-trace to attempt to find the Defendant (the missing spouse).
  • If he or she cannot be found that way, we will obtain an affidavit of due diligence. Based on that, we’re able to get an order to publish from the judge.
  • Once publication has taken place, once a week for five weeks, we are able to submit a Default to the court on Day 22 after the last date of Publication,  if the Defendant has not filed an Answer in court.
  • Once the Default has been granted, we submit the final decree of divorce for the judge’s signature.
  • After the judge has signed the decree, the court clerk files it and the divorce becomes final.

Because Lisa owned a home with her husband and had two children with him, we also did the following:

  • Obtained an Order from the judge to allow the judge’s clerk sign a Quitclaim deed that transferred ownership of the parties’ house to Lisa only.
  • Obtained full physical custody of the parties’ children for Lisa. If her spouse, the children’s father, ever wants visitation, he will have to petition the court. Both parties still retained legal custody as this is a separate matter from physical custody and must be addressed separately.
  • Once the divorce was granted, we forwarded a copy of the final decree of divorce to the District Attorney’s Family Support Division so that Lisa could get child support for the children. The District Attorney’s office has many investigative resources and powers to find Lisa’s husband. Once they do, they will garnish his wages, suspend his licenses, or attach any IRS refund due him to cover any child support due to Lisa for the children of the parties.

In addition to all of this, though this didn’t happen in Lisa’s case, the judge might order a Plaintiff to pay a private investigator to find the missing spouse. Also, if there is equity in the house owned by the parties and it gets sold by the Plaintiff, the judge might also order the Plaintiff to keep Defendant’s share in a separate account for him or her, for at least a period of about a year.

Author: Office of Attorney James E. Smith — http://nevadadivorce.org/about_nevada_divorce.htm

 

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