What influences how long it takes to get a divorce in Nevada the most is whether both parties sign the divorce papers.
If both parties sign the documents, it takes less time than if only one party signs them. See below for details on both ways of filing a divorce in Nevada and how long each takes to finalize.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET A DIVORCE IN NEVADA WHEN BOTH PARTIES AGREE?
When both parties agree on all issues, the divorce is usually filed in the form of a joint petition for divorce. Below are the items on which the parties need to agree to proceed with a joint petition:
- child physical custody
- child visitation
- alimony, if any
- property and debts
In a joint petition divorce, the attorney represents both parties in a joint capacity, though the parties can each bring their own attorney to the table and still file a joint petition divorce once all the issues have been decided and agreed upon.
Both parties must sign the joint petition for divorce and the decree of divorce for this type of divorce. It cannot be filed with only the signature of one party to the divorce.
Generally, it takes one to four weeks for a joint petition divorce to be granted in Clark County, Nevada when both parties sign the papers.
How busy the court happens to be when your case is filed affects this timeline, as well as how busy your judge is at the time they are assigned the case.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET A DIVORCE IN NEVADA WHEN ONLY ONE PARTY SIGNS?
When only one party signs the divorce papers, he or she becomes the Plaintiff. In this case, an attorney represents the Plaintiff and files a complaint for divorce. The attorney also signs the divorce papers, files the case on behalf of the Plaintiff, and handles all aspects of the case. Usually, a different attorney will represent the Defendant and file an answer and couterclaim on behalf of the Defendant.
How long it takes to get a divorce in Nevada when a complaint is file depends on how easy or complicated it is to find and serve the Defendant.
Filing a complaint for divorce entails the following three steps:
- Filing the complaint for divorce
- Having a summons issued
- Serving the complaint and summons upon the Defendant through a process server
How process service is conducted affects the length of time it takes to get the divorce.
If you know where the Defendant lives and or works, and if they can be served personally (or any other person over the age of 14 at that same address is available to be served instead), it will expedite the process.
What eats up time is the fact that after Defendant is served, there is a 21-calendar-days waiting period before the divorce can move forward. This is to give an opportunity to the Defendant to file an answer.
If the Defendant does not file an answer and counterclaim, it takes approximately eight to twelve weeks to finalize the divorce when the Defendant is served personally.
SERVICE BY PUBLICATION OR ALTERNATIVE MEANS
If Defendant is not available for personal service—you don’t know where they live, and they can’t be found by a process server or investigator—the length of time to get a divorce depends on what the process server finds when they start looking for the Defendant.
If no address is found for the Defendant, the process server provides the attorney with an affidavit of due diligence, which states everything the process server has done to find the Defendant.
This affidavit is filed and presented to the judge, essentially asking permission to publish the summons. If granted, the summons is published once a week for five weeks. And nothing happens for at least 21 days after the last date of publication to give Defendant an opportunity to file an answer should they see the published summons.
If Defendant is served by publication, it takes 16-18 weeks to get to the point where judge makes a decision on the divorce, provided Defendant does not file an answer. What can hold this up longer is if the process server finds several addresses for the Defendant. By law, an attempt has to be made to serve the Defendant at those addresses before publication can take place.
Sometimes, at this stage, instead of publication, the judge will ask that Defendant be served by alternative means, meaning by social media if they have an active social media presence, or by email.
If service occurs through alternative means, it takes about the same amount of time to obtain a divorce as when the Defendant is served in person. After alternative service, there is also a 21-day waiting period after the date of service before the process can move forward. This is, of course, provided Defendant does not file an answer and counterclaim.
When a complaint for divorce is filed, and Defendant files an answer and counterclaim, how long it takes to get a divorce in Nevada is affected by whether the issues are resolved at the case management conference or whether they move on to trial. It can take many months and even more than a year if there are multiple court appearances.
Other things of importance before a divorce is filed in Nevada:
- At least one of the parties to the divorce must be a current Nevada resident
This means having lived in Nevada for six consecutive weeks before the filing of the divorce. The divorce papers also state that the resident filer has the intent to remain in Nevada after the divorce is filed and granted.
- If you have minor children, to address issues such as physical custody and visitation, the children must have lived in Nevada for a minimum of six months.
If you have questions about the process, please call our office at 702-680-1780. It’s a free consultation to find out everything that needs to be done to get your divorce granted.