The only way to do divorce right is for you to put the time into it. Sit down and make a divorce checklist so that you miss nothing when you sit down at the negotiation table, whether that be directly with your spouse, or during a professionally-led mediation.
As you’re creating your checklist, write down your preferred terms for everything. You’d be surprised what can fly out of your head when you’re having an important discussion with high stakes. It doesn’t mean you’ll get it, but at least you will feel you’ve done a good job covering all the angles.
WHAT SHOULD BE ON YOUR LIST
If you have children, you should add the following items to your divorce checklist:
- Child custody: do you want to share physical custody with your spouse, or will one of you have primary custody and the other visitation?
- Parenting Plan: on what days are the children with you? On what days with your spouse? How will the holidays be split?
- Child support: In Nevada, this is pretty much set in stone except for certain allowed deviations. You can see those here: https://nevadadivorce.org/divorce-with-children/
- Who will get the tax credit when you have a child? Sometimes a judge will order that one parent get the tax credit during even years, and the other parent gets it during odd years.
- Religious upbringing: do the children currently attend services? Will that change after the divorce?
- College education: who will pay for this, or will neither party pay. This isn’t mandatory in Nevada.
Whether or not you have children, you should cover these items too:
- Alimony: are you entitled to it? Or do you have to pay it? There is nothing set in stone regarding alimony in Nevada. It basically comes down to any large discrepancy between the incomes of both parties, and the expenses each will have after the separation or divorce and how much each has contributed the marriage.
- Property: In a divorce, property is more than just real estate. It covers anything of value owned by the parties. And remember, it doesn’t matter whose name it is in.
Property consists of:
- Any business you own together or separately
- all bank accounts in both your names, or in your individual names. In a community property state, except for few exceptions such as in certain trusts, it makes no difference in whose name the accounts are held.
- art collection or any kind
- any valuable collectibles (baseball cards, antiques, etc.)
- jewelry bought during the marriage
- vacation homes
- anything else of value that was bought during the marriage.
- Note that some property purchased before the marriage such as a house for which no community funds were used to pay the mortgage or for maintenance is exempt from community property. It’s best to consult with your attorney on this one. Sometimes, this is like splitting hairs.
- 401K accounts
- Pensions (if this is to be split, it only occurs at the time of retirement. The terms are handled through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, commonly referred to as a Q.D.R.O.
- Any type of recreational vehicles: boats, RVs, four-wheelers, etc.
- Health Insurance: typically, in a divorce, if health insurance has been provided through the employer of one of the parties, it will be lost to the spouse who is not employed by the company. That spouse can remain on the insurance for the same cost for 18 months under COBRA, https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/laws-and-regulations/laws/cobra
- Supplemental health insurance, such as dental and vision.
- Life Insurance: do you wish to change your beneficiary? If it’s your spouse who has a policy and you are the current beneficiary and you wish for it to remain that way, it need to be in your decree of divorce
- Do you have pets? Who will keep them, or will you share custody?
In a community property state, the same holds for debts as it does for property. It doesn’t matter in whose name the debt is listed, both spouses are responsible for repaying them.
- auto loans
- utility bills for the marriage household
- furniture loans
- credit card debts
- personal loans
- any other debts that have been incurred during the marriage
WHAT TO BRING TO THE MEDIATION TABLE
Whether you are discussing the terms of your divorce directly with your spouse or with a mediator, be sure to have the following on hand.
- Bank statements
- 401K statements
- Pension statements
- Mortgage statements
- Credit card bills
- Utility statements
- All of your wishes regarding anything to do with your children (see the list above)
- Any paperwork related to this Divorce Checklist.
- Anything you feel is important even if not listed here.
This certainly will seem overwhelming to you, but it IS your future. Love yourself enough to do the work to protect yourself and your children if you have them.
Do I need to stay in the state all the while my divorce is going through? I live in Nevada, and after my house sells and I get my share, how long must I stay if Judge has already been seen, and everything else is settled? Just wondering.
Wendy, if you’re a legitimate resident and can prove it, you don’t need to worry about this. If you leave for a while after the filing of the divorce and you have a good reason for doing so, the court will understand. You are not prisoner to the state because you filed a divorce.
If you’re asking how long you have to wait before you leave the state permanently after your divorce is granted, that’s a bit different. In that case, it would be a good idea to add something to the effect that you are leaving the state permanently right after your divorce has been filed or granted. The requirements on Nevada residency for a divorce state that you must have resided in Nevada for six consecutive weeks immediately prior to filing your divorce, and that you must have the intent to remain in Nevada for the foreseeable future. If you don’t address the fact that you plan to leave right after your divorce is filed or granted, your divorce could possibly be set aside once this comes to light. This is a highly-unlikely scenario unless your ex-spouse is looking for reasons to remain married, but it could happen. Best to address it so that there is no chance of an issue coming up. Note that if the judge decides to hold a hearing to go over this with you, you would be expected to appear in person. If you are moving a long distance away, you might want to wait until the divorce is granted and you have the final decree of divorce in hand.
Thank you for answering my question, I’ve been a resident in NV for 31 years and can prove it, but I’m in limbo here as my job(part time) hours now but can possibly pick up more but their waiting to see if I’m staying in NV to which, I wont, so how long does it take if say its noncontested, we agree on everything, do we still go through a midagater (sp)? I’m trying to get this started but don’t have much funds, so what are my next steps throughout this ordeal? I don’t have the money to get lawyers involved, but would like to have a consult with one just to see if what I’m asking for is legit before presenting it to my cheating husband. I need to know what im entitled to and if what i’m asking for could actually be ordered. Any forms I can fill out in advance? Thanks again..
Wendy, it’s best to call the office to set up a consultation. 702-420-7052