FILING A DIVORCE IN NEVADA?
If you’re not sure where to start, this would be a good place. We’ll cover everything you must think about before you file your divorce. If you leave anything out, you could end up with a mess on your hands later, perhaps even have to go to court multiple times to fix it. It’s not unusual for clients to come to us after they’ve filed their own divorce, had it granted, and then realize that they left out important stuff.
Even if you retain an attorney, take the time to read your divorce documents before you sign them! Double check that the documents cover all the points listed below to save yourself a headache later.
We realized some time back that many of our divorce clients weren’t reading their divorce documents before signing them! This shocked us, quite frankly, and it occurred so often that we created an additional internal document for our clients to sign that states they read their divorce documents before signing them and that they understand them. Filing a divorce is one of the most important things you’ll ever do in your life. Take the time to make certain it covers all you need covered so you’re protected.
Before you can even contemplate filing a divorce, check to be sure you’re eligible to file. In Nevada, you can file a divorce provided at least one the parties to the divorce has lived in Nevada for a minimum of six weeks before filing. Typically, a divorce is filed in the county where the resident party resides, though people sometimes file in other counties for the sake of convenience. However, if the plaintiff lives in another state and wants to file a divorce in Nevada against a Nevada resident, the divorce must be filed in the county where the Defendant resides. You may also file a divorce in Nevada if this is where you last resided with your spouse, or if this is where the cause of action for the divorce took place (meaning where your marriage broke up).
The actual Nevada statutes on the matter state the following:
Divorce from the bonds of matrimony may be obtained for the causes provided in NRS 125.010, by verified complaint to the district court of any county:
(a) In which the cause therefor accrued;
(b) In which the defendant resides or may be found;
(c) In which the plaintiff resides;
(d) In which the parties last cohabited; or
(e) If plaintiff resided 6 weeks in the State before suit was brought.
- Unless the cause of action accrued within the county while the plaintiff and defendant were actually domiciled therein, no court has jurisdiction to grant a divorce unless either the plaintiff or defendant has been a resident of the State for a period of not less than 6 weeks preceding the commencement of the action.
The court requires that an Affidavit of Resident Witness be filed as proof of the residency of either a Plaintiff, Defendant, or from one of the joint petitioners in a Joint Petition Divorce. If you live outside the State of Nevada, but your spouse lives here and you are filing a Complaint for Divorce (a one-signature divorce), an affidavit from someone who knows the Defendant well will have to be filed proving the residency of the Defendant.
GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE
Nevada is a no-fault state. This means that either party may file a divorce due to incompatibly. The large majority of divorces filed in Nevada claim this reason as grounds because it makes things simpler.
Aside from incompatibility, there are two other grounds for divorce:
- Insanity existing for two years before the filing of the divorce
- living apart for one year before the filing of the divorce
Below is the exact Nevada revised statute regarding grounds for divorce in Nevada:
NRS 125.010 Causes for divorce. Divorce from the bonds of matrimony may be obtained for any of the following causes:
- Insanity existing for 2 years prior to the commencement of the action. Upon this cause of action, the court, before granting a divorce, shall require corroborative evidence of the insanity of the defendant at that time, and a decree granted on this ground shall not relieve the successful party from contributing to the support and maintenance of the defendant, and the court may require the plaintiff in such action to give bond therefor in an amount to be fixed by the court.
- When the husband and wife have lived separate and apart for 1 year without cohabitation the court may, in its discretion, grant an absolute decree of divorce at the suit of either party.
Nevada is a community property state. This means that property acquired during the marriage by either party is community property. Same goes for debt.
The one difference is that if you inherited money during the marriage and never commingled it with the marital assets (such as depositing the funds into a shared account), that’s yours in its entirety.
If you used some of your inheritance for home improvements on a house you own with your spouse, you have commingled your inheritance with your community property. If you bought a house before your marriage, it’s yours alone unless you used community funds to maintain it or make mortgage payments on it. This means even using money you earned during the marriage because that income is considered community property. These are just two examples of what constitutes the commingling of funds. Ask your attorney if you’re not sure as this point can get sticky.
If a judge is the one to decide on your property division (if you agree on everything, you get to decide), all community property gets right down the middle unless there are circumstances as to why one spouse should get more than the other. There is no A or B choice here.
In Nevada, there is no set rule on alimony. If you don’t agree to an amount either on your own, or through divorce mediation, the judge will decide based on many factors. Another thing that’s more complicated than making a simple A or B choice.
If alimony was granted in a divorce, the spouse paying it might be able to adjust it if he or she can show that his or her income adjusted by 20 percent or more.
The spouse receiving alimony remarries, the alimony obligation goes away, same if either party passes away.
Sections 8 and 9 of NRS 125.150 [Alimony and adjudication of property rights; award of attorney’s fee; subsequent modification by court] state this about alimony in Nevada:
- In addition to any other factors the court considers relevant in determining whether to award alimony and the amount of such an award, the court shall consider:
(a) The financial condition of each spouse;
(b) The nature and value of the respective property of each spouse;
(c) The contribution of each spouse to any property held by the spouses pursuant to NRS 123.030;
(d) The duration of the marriage;
(e) The income, earning capacity, age and health of each spouse;
(f) The standard of living during the marriage;
(g) The career before the marriage of the spouse who would receive the alimony;
(h) The existence of specialized education or training or the level of marketable skills attained by each spouse during the marriage;
(i) The contribution of either spouse as homemaker;
(j) The award of property granted by the court in the divorce, other than child support and alimony, to the spouse who would receive the alimony; and
(k) The physical and mental condition of each party as it relates to the financial condition, health and ability to work of that spouse.
- In granting a divorce, the court shall consider the need to grant alimony to a spouse for the purpose of obtaining training or education relating to a job, career or profession. In addition to any other factors the court considers relevant in determining whether such alimony should be granted, the court shall consider:
(a) Whether the spouse who would pay such alimony has obtained greater job skills or education during the marriage; and
(b) Whether the spouse who would receive such alimony provided financial support while the other spouse obtained job skills or education.
Nevada has specific guidelines on child support, and the court adheres to this formula closely. Family court now requires a worksheet on how the parties determined child support amount be submitted. The judge will use the worksheet to verify that the parties adhered to the law. You can no longer simply state that each parent earns the same amount of money so that there is no child support to be paid when the parties share physical custody.
There are deviations from the formula, however:
(a) The cost of health insurance;
(b) The cost of child care;
(c) Any special educational needs of the child;
(d) The age of the child;
(e) The legal responsibility of the parents for the support of others;
(f) The value of services contributed by either parent;
(g) Any public assistance paid to support the child;
(h) Any expenses reasonably related to the mother’s pregnancy and confinement;
(i) 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;
(j) The amount of time the child spends with each parent;
(k) Any other necessary expenses for the benefit of the child.
Even if the parent liable for child support is unemployed, and even destitute, there is a minimum of $100 per month to be paid for each child.
Family Court in Nevada favors joint physical custody if it deems it to be the best thing for the child. An exception would be one parent who lives close to the child’s school, and the other does not. Say both parents live in Las Vegas: one in the far south around the Blue Diamond Road area, and the other in the far north of the city. Under this circumstance, a judge is likely to deem it best that a child live with the parent closest to the child’s school during school times, and with the other parent when school is out.
If one parent does not wish to live with his or her child, however, the court will grant full physical custody to the parent who wants it, and grant visitation to the other parent. Visitation is never forced.
Child support may be modified every three years; it can be lowered or increased depending on the circumstances. You can modify it before the three-year mark if you have had a change of circumstance making it impossible to pay the amount ordered in the decree of divorce.
If you cover all the above, you’ll be as protected as possible. As always, this isn’t specific legal advice to you. It’s a general information resource. There could be things specific to you that would add or take away from the points covered here. It’s always best to speak to an experienced divorce attorney.