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Divorce in Nevada

5 Things to Know about Divorce in Nevada

There are many rumors about eligibility and about how to file a divorce in Nevada. I hope to dispel at least some of them here by addressing the most important points.

1. Nevada residency.
To be able to file a divorce in Nevada, one of the parties to the divorce must have resided in Nevada for a minimum of six weeks before filing, and have the intent to remain in Nevada. (Nevada Statutes – Chapter 125 – Sections: 020). The divorce documents will state this:

 That Plaintiff (or Joint Petitioner if both parties sign the divorce papers before the case is filed) is a resident of the State of Nevada, and for a period of more than six weeks immediately preceding the commencement of this action, has resided and been physically present in the State of Nevada, and now resides and is domiciled therein, and during all of said period of time, Plaintiff has had, and still has the intent to make the State of Nevada her home, residence and domicile for an indefinite period of time

2. Nevada residency for children
If you have children with the spouse you are divorcing, the children must have resided in Nevada for a minimum of six months before divorce in Nevadathe court will take jurisdiction over physical custody and visitation. If the children have not resided in Nevada for six months at the time of the filing of the divorce, and you and your spouse still want to go ahead and file right now, you can enter into a separate legal Parenting Agreement which can be filed at the same time as the divorce. This type of agreement is enforceable in any court with competent jurisdiction, as well as enforceable in here in Nevada after the children have resided in Nevada for six months.

It’s better if you know whether your spouse agrees to sign the divorce documents before you file or not. It’s less expensive to file a divorce when you both agree on everything and both sign before the divorce is filed. If you’re ready to do that, you can get started here.
If your spouse won’t sign the divorce documents, the only route to go is filing a complaint for divorce (one-signature divorce), which costs more and takes longer to be granted. If you feel that this is the best way to go for you, you can get details here.

3. What property will each of you keep? 
In a divorce, anything of value you have purchased together is considered property, such as cars, furniture, art collections, jewelry, tools, sports equipment, etc. Nevada is a community property state, so, aside from some exceptions (see below) most property is owned by both husband and wife, regardless of whose name it is recorded under.

Exceptions to the above:
Inherited property—your parents left you a sum of money in their will and you have not co-mingled it with community funds, for example, deposited it into a joint account with your spouse, or used the inherited money to make house payments on a house you own with your spouse.

If you bought a house before the marriage, and have not used community funds to make payments on it or to make improvements (for example, your salary or your spouse’s salary), then the whole house belongs to you.  If you did use community funds to make payments on it or to make improvements, then you would have to share in the equity increase from the time of the date of your marriage. You would keep all equity from before the marriage as well as your down payment.

4. What debts will each of you keep?
Like property, when you file a divorce in Nevada, you share the debt you have both accumulated since the date of the marriage, no matter whose name the debt was incurred under.

5. Who will have physical custody? If you have children together, decide whether the children will share their time between both of you, or if they will live with only one of you and visit with the other parent.

At the time of this writing, courts in Clark County, Nevada, favor joint custody unless one of the parents lives at too far of a distance from the children’s schools to make it feasible to transport them there several days per week. One arrangement that works well in such situations is for the parent who lives far away from the school to pick up the children after school on Fridays and drop them back off there on Monday. This is still considered joint physical custody because the parent who has the children on the weekend is spending pretty much equal time with them as the parent who has them from after school on Monday until beginning of school on Friday since the weekend parent is with them all day Saturday and Sunday, as well as rest of the day Friday.

If you think you will have difficulty making the above decisions with your spouse, consider divorce mediation for your divorce in Nevada; many hard decisions can be made easier with a mediator than when made on your own.

What to Expect at Your Case Management Conference at Family Court in Nevada

When a Complaint for Divorce is filed in Family Court in Nevada and the other party responds by filing an Answer and Counterclaim, the first thing Family Court does is set a mandatory Case Management Conference (CMC). This sets the case on either a litigation track, meaning a trial date will be set, or final resolution during the Case Management Conference itself. Both parties are expected to attend.

How judges handle a Case Management Conference

Not every family court judge handles the Case Management Conference the same way. Just know that items #1 through #4 on the list below are things that usually do happen, and that items #5 through #8 are things that might  or might not happen.

Things likely to happen during the conference:

Item #1: By the time of the case management conference the Judge expects that Plaintiff and Defendant will have filed financial disclosure forms on the Court’s form indicating that their respective income, expenses, assets and debts are. This give the Judge a financial picture of the parties which will help the Judge administer the case.

Each side has to attach 3 pay stubs or income statement to the FDF. So this is item number 1 and the Judge could sanction you if you do not have this document completed and filed at the time of the hearing.

Item #2:  Applies only to parties with minor children:
If you have children the Judge is required to send you to mandatory mediation in order to try to formulate a parenting plan with the help of one of the Court’s counselors, therapists or mediators. The Judge will then set a date about 1-2 months from then for you to come back court to ask if either a partial or full parenting plan has been agreed upon between you and your spouse.

NOTE: To speed up your case, you can submit a request for mediation right after an Answer and Counterclaim is filed. This way, perhaps you can have your return from mediation hearing at the same time as your case management conference.

Item # 3: Next comes setting the case down for either trial or a status check. One main reason for the CMC is to move the case along as the Judges want to be able to conclude the case within a year after it has been filed. Therefore, the Judge will want to know how long the parties need for Discovery and when can they, or their lawyers, will be ready for trial.

Item #4: There is a mandatory initial disclosure of witnesses and exchange of documents between the Plaintiff and Defendant. While it is possible that both parties have the same copies of documents, e.g., income tax returns, bank statements, credit card bills, title to cars, 401(k) statements, etc., the Court nevertheless wants an exchange of documents which might be used at trial. The rule is that if you don’t disclose the document up front, you cannot use it later at a hearing.

Also, the names, numbers, addresses, and expected testimony of witnesses must be disclosed. You obviously list your spouse, but also be sure to add teachers, accountants, friends, coaches, and any other individual you might want to later call as a witness.  If you don’t list someone, you cannot later call him or her as a witness.

Things that may or may not occur during a case management conference:

Item #5: Some Judges will, even if no motion has been filed by either party, make temporary orders during the Case Management Conference.

These include orders for temporary custody, visitation, child support, alimony, exclusive possession of the home or car, etc. Be prepared to address these issues.

Item #6: Another discretionary item the judge might address is misbehavior of the parties during the period of time leading up to the case management conference. Whether there has been a violation of the joint preliminary injunction, interference with visitation, refusal to pay bills, overspending, threats or abuse, etc. The judge might address the issues and admonish the parties or provide them with guidance.

Item #7: A third discretionary item judges may address at the Case Management Conference is whether to send the parties to a settlement judge or financial mediator to work out the division of debts and liabilities before the Judge actually sets the case for trial.

The judge might also make referrals to outsourcers, e.g., counselors, psychologists, private mediators, etc. This can be a good thing if it helps in the case, but if it does not,  it could delay your eventual trial date.

Item #8: Finally, the case management conference is used by some judges to try to settle as many issues as possible right then and there. The Judge will sometimes either resolve the entire case during the CMC,  or just set the matter down for a hearing on one or two issues, like the amount of support, or the division of the personal property.

After the Case Management Conference, the Court will prepare an Order setting forth what was discussed and any dates for future hearings including the divorce trial, if applicable.

Feel free to contact us with any questions regarding obtaining a divorce in Nevada. Or call 702-420-7052

 

Is Nevada a Community Property State?

by Discount Las Vegas Lawyer. https://nevadadivorce.org and https://discountlasvegaslawyer.com/nevada-divorce-attorney/

You are about to get started with a divorce in Nevada and wonder what is community property.

How are community property and community debts divided in a divorce? Read on to know where you stand.

 

NEVADA IS A COMMUNITY PROPERTY STATE

This means that, in a marriage, the name under which an asset is held does not determine which spouse holds an interest in it. This means that even if you buy a house in your name only while married, the house belongs to both your spouse and you (unless your spouse signed a waiver during the purchase).

What’s important is whether the married couple purchased the house during the marriageand what source of funds were used to make the purchase.

If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that addresses property and debts what we say here does not pertain to you. Your pre or postnuptial agreement would prevail.

This article assumes that you live in Nevada and do not have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

 

HOW EQUITY IN A HOME COULD BE DIVIDED

Let’s say you purchased your home before the marriage and once married, you make the mortgage payments from a joint account. If you live in Nevada, this would give your spouse a right to half of any equity increase in the home since the date of the marriage. Before equity distribution, however, your down payment would be returned to you if you sold the house as a part of the property settlement.

Let’s follow John and Mary for a simplified example of the above.

  • Mary purchases a home on her own before her marriage to John.
  • She puts $10,000 down on the home.
  • Once married, the couple opens a joint bank account and makes the mortgage payment with funds from that account.
  • After five years of marriage, they divorce.
  • Since the date of the marriage, the home has increased in equity by $30,000.
  • They sell the home as part of their marital settlement.
  • Mary gets her $10,000 down payment back
  • The remaining $20,000 in equity is divided between them.
  • Any equity from before the date of the marriage belongs to Mary.

 

HOW ANY OTHER PROPERTY MIGHT BE DIVIDED

The same goes with any other property purchased after the marriage, such as a car, fine art, or jewelry.  In community property states, it doesn’t matter in whose name the property (houses, cars, furniture, art work, electronics, etc.)  is held under.

Let’s go back to John and Mary.

  • A year after they married, the couple buys a vintage car.
  • They use funds from their joint account to pay for it, $16,000 in cash.
  • John has the car registered in his name only because it was just easier.
  • When they divorce, John gives Mary $10,000 for her share of the car now worth $20,000.
  • It doesn’t matter that the car is in John’s name only.

In Nevada, the earnings of either party during the marriage belong to both parties. If one of you makes more money than the other and deposits more into a joint savings account,  you’re both entitled to half of those funds, not just what you each deposited into the account.

If you keep ownership of real, or other, property and bank accounts separate and don’t use community funds to augment them or to pay for maintaining them, such as maintaining a house you owned before the marriage,  then said property and accounts will remain your separate property.

 

INHERITED PROPERTY

Inherited property doesn’t fall under Nevada community property, BUT there’s a caveat.

For example, John’s mother passed away two years into his marriage and left him a mortgage-free house worth $200,000.

John never used community assets for upkeep because his mother also left him some money for that purpose. John has never commingled those funds. The house belongs to John only and Mary has no rights to it.

If John quitclaims the house to Mary and himself after he inherits it, Mary now has a right to any equity increase in the house from the time he recorded the quitclaim deed. If the house remains in his name only, but he uses community property funds to maintain the house, Mary now has a claim to the house because John gifted the house to their community  interest by using community funds.

 

COMMINGLING OF FUNDS

We find that commingling of funds, mixing separate property with community property,  such as John paying to fix the house his mother gave him with funds from a joint account he has with Mary, is the usual way separate property becomes community property. We refer to this as transmutation. There is a presumption that when you donate separate property to the community that it is a gift to the community interest.

 

 

COMMUNITY DEBTS

The parties share any debt entered into by either spouse during the marriage.

Let’s say John took out a credit card in his name only while married to Mary and stopped making payments at some point. Mary is responsible for that debt same as if she’d opened the account herself. Creditors will look to her for payback if John does not pay.

If the final decree of divorce states that John is responsible for paying back the debt, the creditor still has the right to go after Mary for payments if John defaults.

Though Family Court has jurisdiction over John and Mary, it has no jurisdiction over a third party such as a credit card company. Usually, credit card companies do not go after an ex-spouse to collect, but it has happened,  and they have a right to collect from Mary.

Same thing with any debt at all, be it a car, a house, furniture, or art work. Say John bought a car during the marriage, in his name only, and he gets the car as a part of the divorce settlement. But, also as a part of their settlement, Mary takes responsibility for the car payments. A year after the divorce, she defaults on the payments: the car company will repossess it from John even though it’s Mary’s debt, not his.

The bottom line is that Nevada is not a title state but a community property state.  For the purposes of a divorce, a community is like a partnership with each party reaping benefits for both partners or incurring debt for both of them.  The two become one.

NRS 125.150 is where you’ll find the Nevada statutes that pertain to division of property in a divorce.

Do you wonder if you’ll have to pay alimony if you divorce? Or spousal support if you separate? This article will explain it.

If you have questions about how to divide your property in your divorce, or if you’re ready to get started with your divorce, read more here

 

 

5 Things You Should Do With Your Finances During a Divorce

finances during a divorce

When you get a divorce in Nevada, a community property state, you generally divide all property and debts down the middle. This means everything you own and everything you owe, either together or even separately, gets divided pretty much down the middle, unless there is a good reason as to why it shouldn’t be, and unless the property in question falls under an exemption.  Below are five things you should do with your finances during a divorce.

1.       Know what property belongs to the community assets and which is exempted
For instance, if you inherited a sum of money, no matter its size, that’s yours alone. 

Other things to consider, regarding your finances during a divorce are as follows:
If you bought the house in which you and your spouse resided before the marriage, and you never co-mingled funds to pay the mortgage, or to pay for its upkeep, the house is yours alone. If you already owned it, but you used your current salary to make mortgage payments, or your spouse helped make the mortgage payments after the marriage or paid for upkeep and updates, then your spouse is entitled of one half of the equity increase that has occurred since the marriage, minus the down payment you made at the time of the purchase.  

We once had a divorce case where Husband had added Wife to a savings account he had with his parents. The judge said that the funds in that account were now a community asset and he ordered that Wife be given one-fourth of the monies in that account even though she had never contributed to it. 

Also,  if you use separate property funds to pay community marital debt, it is presumed to be a gift from your separate assets to the community assets.

If your Uncle John gave you a $50,000 (or any gifted amount), for any reason whatsoever, it’s yours alone, as long as you don’t deposit it into a joint account. Then, it becomes part of the community assets.

2.       Pay down your community debt before you file, or at least before the divorce is granted
It’s always best to pay off as much of your debt as possible before the divorce is granted. The fewer joint debts you have, the easier it will be to negotiate and divide them, not to mention being able to put them out of your mind completely. Because even if your ex-spouse is responsible for a joint credit account as part of the divorce settlement, you’re still liable for that debt if your ex-spouse doesn’t pay.

Third parties (such as creditors) are not bound by the rulings of a family court. Most creditors will honor what it says in the final decree of divorce, but only as long as the payments are being made. So if the judge says that Mary must make payments on the car she’s driving, but John is also on the loan, if Mary doesn’t pay, the credit company is likely to come after John to make the payments. Should this happen, the only recourse for John is to go to Family Court to try and resolve the issue. A family court judge is likely to hold Mary in contempt of court if she doesn’t make the payments ordered in the decree of divorce.  

3.       Credit reports
The best thing to do here is to obtain your credit report, and that of your spouse, from all three credit agencies and scrutinize them for all monies owed by you and your spouse. Unless an account was just opened very recently, all credit accounts are bound to appear on there. If you suspect your spouse might have recently opened new accounts without discussing it with you, get updated credit reports about a month later. You want to be certain that there are no surprises after the divorce.

A man we know vaguely (we didn’t represent him, or we would have told him how to care for his finances during a divorce)   discovered after the divorce that his wife had purchased a 72” television and put on the electronics store’s credit card he had opened with her.  Bottom line here, is that unfortunately, he was just as liable for that debt as she was; it turned out that she paid the debt, but it could just as easily have gone the other way.

To be sure you know all that’s going on with your credit during this time, consider credit monitoring. Some banks offer this service for free if you have a credit card with them, so start there. Having your credit monitored means that you are less likely to find new debts you knew nothing about after the divorce is finalized.

4.       Freeze or close joint credit accounts
To take things one step further with your finances during a divorce, and assure that nothing can be added to your joint accounts, consider simply closing or freezing all joint credit accounts. As you know, you should immediately close all joint bank accounts.  

Freeze your accounts by calling all credit card companies and telling them about the divorce and asking for them to no longer allow new charges on the account. Note that this will mean that you also won’t be able to charge anything on those cards.

Your attorney is likely to file an injunction to prohibit your spouse from taking large sums of money from your accounts and to prohibit him or her to in any way encumber the community estate with debt, but it’s easier to freeze and close as many accounts as possible, as it will take you more time and energy to try and recoup what is spent if your spouse doesn’t abide by the injunction

5.       Be sure to complete all financial tasks as soon as possible after the divorce is granted
Taking care of finances during a divorce doesn’t end when you get your final decree.  There are still often tasks left to perform to protect yourself and your credit standing.  If you are keeping the marital home as part of the divorce settlement, be sure to file the quitclaim deed as soon as possible. What you don’t want is for your spouse to still appear to own the house and use it as collateral for any type of loan. Same with any other property, such as cars and bank accounts.

And if your spouse is the one to keep the house, and is supposed to refinance it in her name only, follow through until you see proof that it’s been done. You are still responsible for that mortgage until it’s paid off.

Lastly, when it comes to finances during a divorce, many people neglect to  review their living trust and will. Your priorities there are sure to have changed based on the divorce, so don’t neglect this very important task.

If you have more questions about this, or you want to get a divorce started, you can find us at http://nevadadivorce.org

How to Choose a Divorce Attorney in Las Vegas

How to choose a divorce attorney in Las Vegas

I understand your dilemma. There are ton of divorce attorneys in Las Vegas; which one should you choose?  Most people only go through a divorce but once or twice in their lives, and have little experience when it comes to dealing with it.

The one thing you want to avoid is hiring the wrong attorney and have to switch as this increases the overall cost of your divorce.

I aim to give you good general advice and not just get you to choose me as your divorce attorney.  These are guidelines you can follow with any attorney you consider retaining for your divorce.

  1. First know what kind of divorce you are getting into.

Does your spouse agree to a divorce? Does he or she agree to sign the divorce documents? The answer to this question is important and it will affect what type of attorney you should look for to represent you in your divorce.

If you already know that your spouse agrees to sign the divorce papers, you’ll need one kind of divorce attorney, and if your spouse refuses to be reasonable and plans to fight you every step of the way, you’ll need another.

  1. What kind of divorce attorney do you need?

Of course, you need a divorce attorney whether your spouse signs or not, but they come in different flavors too. To determine which type of lawyer is best for you, you need to first know the answer to the question posed above; will your spouse contest the divorce or not?

If your spouse is reasonable and you both agree on all the terms of a divorce on your own, you can file a joint petition divorce.  You can bring all your terms to your attorney and he or she will include them in the divorce pleadings.

That said, if you have been married for a number of years and own property together, have children together, and pensions are involved, and even if you think you agree on all the terms, it would be a good idea to go through mediation just to be sure that you are treated fairly. There are guidelines a divorce mediator can follow to ensure that you are both getting what is fair for your particular situation, finances, and length of marriage. 

If your spouse won’t sign the documents, and will contest the divorce once filed, you’ll need a much more aggressive attorney than if your spouse agrees to terms you set together or through divorce mediation.

If your spouse is intent on fighting everything to the end, your best option is to find a divorce attorney who specializes in litigation.

Before you retain a divorce attorney in Las Vegas, be sure that he or she is open to alternatives, to mediation, rather than choosing a divorce lawyer whose typical strategy is divorce court before he or she has even “felt out” the other side.  

Whether children and finances are involved or not, it’s always best to try mediation first before you enter litigation, either through an attorney who offers collaborative divorce as a part of his or her divorce practice, or through a certified and licensed non-attorney divorce mediator.  

  1. Find at least three attorneys

This would be a good strategy to follow:

  1. Ask for referrals from friends and acquaintances who got divorced before you
  2. Read online reviews
  3. Keep looking until you find three attorneys you think you will like
  4. Interview the three attorneys.

Many divorce attorneys in Las Vegas will give an initial consultation at no cost for divorces that are bound to be contested. I do. 

If your case is very simple and uncontested, you can simply talk to the attorney or his staff on the phone. In such a case, you just need information on divorce procedure rather than legal advice.

If your case is to be contested, it’s probably best to meet all three potential attorneys in person. You want to see for yourself how these divorce attorneys look and what demeanor they have. This person might end up representing you in divorce court. You want to be sure that he or she is a proper reflection of you.

Ask the following questions:

  • What is your experience with (contested or uncontested) divorce?
  • Do you specialize in any particular type of divorce (litigated, collaborative, uncontested)?
  • Do you favor collaborative divorces over litigation whenever possible?
  • Do you offer flat fees for uncontested divorce matters?
  • What is your fee if my divorce becomes contested? Typically, a divorce attorney in Las Vegas charges an hourly fee. Usually, a retainer fee is paid and the hourly fee is charged against it. The attorney is bound to deposit any retainer into a trust account and will then take portions of the retainer out as they are earned. 
  • How long have you been practicing divorce law in Las Vegas?
  • How often go you go to family court here?
  • How familiar are you with the judges currently sitting on the bench?
  1. Make your choice.

After interviewing all the lawyers, retain the divorce attorney with whom you feel most comfortable.

Be sure that he or she is a highly experienced divorce attorney in Las Vegas. In other words, he or she is a local attorney, not a lawyer who, say, just moved to Las Vegas from Reno.

Be sure that he or she regards divorce in the same way you do. For instance, if you favor a joint petition divorce, meaning you want to come to an agreement on all the terms of the divorce and you want both you and your spouse to sign the divorce papers before filing, choose an attorney who will do his or her best to promote mediation if you hit a road block, rather than immediately pushing for court.

Of course, if your intent is to go to court to fight for everything you want and you have no intention to compromise, then choose a strong litigator with a good track record for winning tough divorces.

Be sure you know all the fees you will be charged up front and what it could cost down the road.

If you follow this guidance, you should end up with a professional and highly experienced divorce attorney in Las Vegas, one who cares as much as you do about the outcome of your divorce.

5 Tips to Survive Divorce During the Holidays

divorce during the holidays

Divorce clients who come to us in December often seem a bit more distressed than they are the rest of the year.  We get it.  A divorce scores 73 on a 1-100 stress scale with 100 being the most stressful event in a lifetime. Add to this the holidays and expectations to give more, love more, and forgive more. They feel confused and wonder how to find it within themselves to do that in the face of a divorce during the holidays. If children are involved, this time period becomes even more difficult and emotional to navigate.

1.  If you’re in the middle of a divorce during the holidays,  you need a plan.

The first thing you can do is to remember that our emotional state is attached to familiar actions and surroundings. Therefore, the first thing you should do to make the holidays easier and even enjoyable for you and your children is to change those actions and change those surroundings. 

If possible, take yourself out of your usual holiday surroundings.Visit out-of-state family, for instance. If this is not possible…

2.  How about starting a new tradition? Do this on your own or with your children if you have them. It’s probably best for your emotional well-being to not continue with the traditions you followed with your spouse. Having your very own traditions will keep you focused on the positive and new rather than distressing over going through a divorce during the holidays. For the kids, it could be fun and distract them from what’s now different, namely, that, possibly for the first time in their lives, they are only with one parent at a time for this year’s holiday.

Justin had always wanted to take his children ice-skating around the holidays, but his  soon-to-be ex-wife didn’t like it at all, so they never went. He decided to now make it a holiday tradition to spend an afternoon at the ice skating rink with the kids and then take them out for hot chocolate after. It turned out to be a hit with them. It also gave everyone hope that the holidays could still be a happy time for them despite the divorce.

3.   Are you single? Or are your children scheduled to be with your ex during this holiday season? Plan ahead to do something to help others when going through a divorce during the holidays. It’s a well-known fact that helping others lifts our own spirits. Volunteering your time to a shelter, for instance, would take your mind off your own suffering and warm your heart as you help others even less fortunate than you. Or find other single parents whose children will be with their other parent that day and celebrate together, doing something none of you usually does on that day.

Karin reached out to two other friends whose children were going to be with their other parent for the last day of Hanukkah. She arranged ahead of time for them to visit residents of a nursing home who didn’t get visitors or whose families were out of state. They bought several low-cost gifts and wrapped them brightly and delivered them to these residents with good wishes, bringing tears of joy to the eyes of some. This made the women feel very happy inside and thankful for the happiness they still had in their own lives. They followed this up with a special dinner at a restaurant none of them had ever been to before.  They vowed to do it again the next time their children were with their other parent for a holiday.

4.  No matter what, make sure that your children feel loved by both parents during this time. Make sure they don’t feel pulled between you and made to feel guilty for being with one or the other parent on any given special day. If you are still working out the holiday visitation schedule, be sure that the children have ample time with each parent and vary it up, from year to year if the children have to travel some distance between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

If a certain holiday is very important to both you and your spouse, make it so that you both get the children for a portion of it, but be sure and do it in a way that is enjoyable for the children too. If you live far apart, it would most likely be best to agree to an alternate-year holiday visitation schedule.

Robert and Diane, who live 500 miles apart, agreed that their two children should spend all of the holidays with one another at least until their late teens, and made it so that the children spent the Christmas holiday with Diane during odd years and with Robert during even years.

Having to fly or take a bus to get from one parent to another on an actual holiday to meet a visitation schedule would most likely make your child dread that holiday rather than look forward to it.

5.  Lastly, but most importantly, do NOT become a recluse if you are going through a divorce during the holidays. 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 (stay away from those who constantly bring up negative things about your ex or ask them to stop). Your spirits will lift from your new activities! We are social creatures and even when feeling low, we derive happiness and comfort from being around others.

Happy holidays to all!

 

P.S. If you haven’t retained an attorney yet and want a more affordable solution, visit our divorce website, NevadaDivorce.org

Should you file a legal separation?

legal separation

In Nevada, if you wish to dissolve a marriage, there are two options for you:

  1. File a divorce. This is the cleanest option, the one that permanently dissolves the marriage.
  2. Legal separation. If you object to divorce on moral or other grounds, or rely on your spouse for health insurance, your option is to remain married, but legally separate your assets, as well as address child support and visitation through an action for separate maintenance, as it is formally referred to in Nevada, but commonly known as a legal separation.

If you wish to protect yourself from the financial obligations entered into by your spouse after a separation, and you either object to divorce, or you want to take some time before filing one, or one of you must remain on the other’s health insurance, a legal separation is your best option.

If a divorce is filed later, the terms of your legal separation can be incorporated into the Decree of Divorce, or you can make new terms.

Essentially, a legal separation addresses all issues normally addressed in a divorce. The only thing it doesn’t do is permanently dissolve the marriage. In other words, all of your property is divided and all issues regarding any children you might have with your spouse are addressed, but you are still married. Neither of you can marry anyone else.

Issues commonly addressed in a legal separation:

  • Spousal support
  • Child support.
  • Possession of community property and debt.
  • Division of community property and debt.
  • How future income will be handled.
  • How future property bought by either party after the separation will be handled.
  • How future debt entered into by either party after the separation will be handled.
  • Disclosure and modification provisions.
  • Relationship to divorce decree and reconciliation.
  • How the parties will file taxes and who will be responsible for payment of taxes.
  • Who will be responsible for the attorney fees.
  • How your estate will be managed.

Before filing a divorce, which dissolves the marriage completely, especially when you have minor children, it is often 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 look at legal separation instead of divorce:

  • Are you an older couple where medical insurance and spousal benefits are important?
  • Do you have younger children together and wish to cause them minimal trauma? It might be less difficult for them to hear “mommy and daddy are getting separated” instead of “mommy and daddy are getting divorced.”
  • Are you uncertain about forever dissolving your marriage? A trial separation could give you better insight into whether you wish to permanently dissolve your marriage through a divorce.
  • Are you in a long-term marriage? Have you considered the cost and consequences of unwinding the community property? Is it worth the attorney fees, appraisal costs, and expert fees?

Oftentimes, a separate maintenance has a clause that indicates that in the event the parties divorce after the legal separation has been granted, the obligations, duties, rights and responsibilities contained in the decree of separate maintenance (legal separation) will be incorporated by reference into the decree of divorce. It’s wise to do this since not having this clause in your legal separation could add to the cost of your divorce (if you ultimately decide to take this route) where all the issues would have to be re-entered in the final decree of divorce, instead of the decree of separate maintenance being incorporated into the divorce.

You are free to include any provisions in your legal separation 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 legal separation cannot agree to lump sum child support because the Supreme Court has ruled against it.

If you and your spouse reconcile after a legal separation filing and after the decree has been granted, the decree of legal separation will be terminated. If you separate again, you will have to file a new legal separation, unless the first decree contained a provision that the first decree of legal separation will continue in full force if you reconcile then separate again.

 

 

5 Things to Avoid Doing to Your Children When You Go through a Divorce

Divorce with children always make the process more painful, and often more difficult.  Too often, parents will put their children in the middle, sometimes without even realizing that they have done so, or without thinking of the consequences to the children.  This then makes the divorce not only painful for the adults involved, but excruciating  for the children, not to mention the long-term psychological damage they can suffer from having been forced to act as referees between their parents.

  1. Do not use them to deliver messages to you ex. Asking your children to say to your ex, for example, “tell your father (or mother) to not bring his girlfriend (or boyfriend) to your birthday party” puts them in an awkward position. They might have a relationship with that boyfriend or girlfriend and will feel confused and guilty about having to relay such a request.
  1. Don’t tell your child to ask his other parent for the money needed for a school project, allowance, or the pair of shoes you would have given him or her without discussion before the divorce. Your child can’t comprehend the money issues of adults going through a divorce and will only feel guilty about asking. They might even stop asking all together for things that are even urgently needed, like school supplies. Some kids have been known to start stealing them rather than have to ask for them.
  1. Do you have a new significant other in your life? Don’t ask your child to keep this information from your ex-spouse. And don’t ask your child to not tell your ex about your new relationship. This will put undue stress on your child and possibly put them in a position of having to lie. If your wife asks your child whether or not you have a girlfriend, your child shouldn’t have to debate whether or not to tell the truth.
  1. Don’t use your children as a sounding board for problems you are having with your ex. They don’t need to hear how your ex refuses to communicate about school issue and how her being late for every pick up or drop off is creating turmoil in your own life.  This will make them feel like they have to take your side and make them feel disloyal to their other parent.  They should be able to feel equally loyal to both of you , and not have to worry about getting their mother to pick them up or drop them off on time.
  1. Find a way to attend school functions even if you have a difficult time being with your ex. And, yes, it’s hard, but don’t stand on the other side of the room and avoid all contact with him or her. This will make your children feel embarrassed and anxious in front of their peers. It will also make them feel disloyal to both of you as they hang out first with you, then with their other parent separately. You were once married to this person and created a beautiful child with him or her. Unless there is a physical danger to you (and/or your child), find it within yourself to be somewhat together in the same room with your ex and be civil to one another for the short duration of these events.

If you need help to accomplish the above, don’t be afraid to seek it professionally rather than put your children in the middle.  A divorce is probably one of the hardest things you will go through in life, if not the hardest. There is no shame in needing help to make it through; just don’t get that help from your child. He or she will suffer emotional consequences from it.  There are plenty of studies that demonstrate the emotional and psychological trauma endured by children put in middle by their divorced or divorcing parents.

Even if you are not required to do so, consider taking a parenting class for divorcing parents. In Nevada, where such a class is mandatory before a divorce will be granted, it can be taken online. Our office will direct you to a class that is approved by the court.

 

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.

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