Divorce in Nevada
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If you need to file for divorce in Nevada, or have been served with divorce papers in Nevada, let our Las Vegas Divorce Attorneys protect your rights. Keep reading for important information regarding divorces in Nevada.
Requirements for Obtaining a Divorce in Nevada
In order to file for divorce in Nevada, you need to actually reside in Nevada; not simply be a visitor. You must have resided in Nevada for a minimum of six (6) weeks prior to filing for divorce, AND you must intend to make Nevada your residence for the foreseeable future. The latter means you must not have plans in place to be moving out of Nevada anytime soon. Further, if there are minor children of the marriage (children under the age of eighteen (18)), the children must have resided in Nevada for a minimum of six (6) months prior to filing for divorce in order for Nevada to have jurisdiction over child custody and child support issues (both of which must be addressed during the marriage).
Clients often ask if their residency requirement is broken if they have traveled during the last six weeks (or months if children are involved), and the answer is no, so long as they were simply “visiting” another state and did not take up residency there. In other words, if you took a s short vacation to another state you did not interrupt your residency requirement. Residency is an issue that you should expect your attorney to ask about upfront to ensure there are no jurisdictional issues before filing (or answering to a filing) your case.
Nevada is a no-fault state
Some states require a statutory reason to file for divorce; a wrongdoing in the marriage in order to obtain a divorce. Nevada does not have this requirement; it is a no-fault state. This means, you can obtain a divorce on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences.” Irreconcilable differences means the differences between the spouses are so great that marriage is no longer possible between the parties. No further explanation is needed, and most divorces are granted on these grounds. In more complex cases, for example, if a spouse has been injured and/or has become mentally ill and cannot make legal decisions for themselves, other grounds may have to be used that your attorney will assist you with. But, for the majority of clients, irreconcilable differences will be the reason.
It is important to note, that since Nevada is a no-fault state, the judge is not interested in hearing the wrongdoings of your spouse unless it is pertinent to the case. For example, if your spouse had an affair, unless you are claiming misuse of marital assets, the affair is not considered important in the case. Obviously, other wrongdoings, such as domestic abuse, child abuse, or substance abuse are different, and would certainly be addressed in your case.
Issues that are handled during the divorce
There are specific issues that must be addressed during your divorce in Nevada. These issues are:
- Division of Marital Assets
- Division of Marital Debts
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Spousal Support (a/k/a “alimony”)
Division of Marital Assets & Debts
Nevada is a community-property state. In very basic terms, this means that all assets acquired during the marriage belong to both spouses equally. This includes income earned during the marriage as well. Community property is a complex area especially if you own many assets or either spouse is self-employed. Imagine that for every $1.00 you earn, $.50 belongs to your spouse, and you can understand how complicated community property can get.
During your divorce, your attorney will go through all aspects of asset division with you. Decisions will be made on what to do with the marital residence, its contents, vehicles, retirement funds, bank accounts, pensions, etc. The same is true for all debt acquired during the marriage. Debt will be assigned to each spouse accordingly at the end of the divorce, and exceptions always exist for assets and debts that may be considered separate property.
Two types of custody must be decided for all minor children during a divorce: physical custody and legal custody.
Physical custody refers to where the children live. Legal custody refers to significant decisions made about the child until they reach the age of majority.
In Nevada, joint physical custody is the preference. This means that the courts prefer that both parents be involved in the childrens’ lives as equally as possible (50/50 is great, but not required – you may have a slightly lower split and still retain joint physical custody). Custody is usually the issue that turns most divorces into contested divorces (meaning you cannot agree on all the terms of the divorce). You should be prepared for what physical custody decisions will need to be made – what the split of time will be between the parents, where pick-ups and drop-offs will take place (and when exactly each time), every major holiday will have to be assigned, as will vacation time each year. Your attorney will guide you through all of these steps. If the two parents cannot agree on custody, the judge will require you to attend mediation to try and reach an agreement. If a full agreement is not reached after that, your case is likely headed to trial where ultimately, the judge will decide on custody for you. It is obviously in your best interest to try and reach an agreement yourselves, and our Las Vegas Child Custody Attorneys will work hard to help you do so.
Aside from joint physical custody, another custody option in Nevada is primary physical custody with visitation for the other parent. In this situation, one parent becomes the “custodial” parent who has the children the majority of the time and the other parent has assigned visitation with the children. This arrangement can be made either through agreement by the parents, or because one parent cannot care for the children enough of the time to be awarded joint physical (for example, if one parent lives out of state).
A final physical custody arrangement in Nevada is sole custody that typically has no visitation for the other parent or visitation at the discretion of the sole custodian. This is difficult to obtain and will typically only apply in cases where one parent is abusive to the child and/or has a severe substance abuse problem or has abandoned the child.
Aside from physical custody, legal custody must also be decided. Major decisions such as where the children will attend school, what religion they belong to, what kind of medical care they receive, etc., will have to made while the children are minors. Therefore, the parents must decide who makes these decisions. The choices are joint legal custody – where the parents must make these major decisions together or sole legal custody where one parent makes the decisions. Note that physical custody can be different than legal custody – in other words, you can have joint physical custody and sole legal custody or primary physical custody and joint legal custody. The two do not have to match. Like physical custody, a good majority of cases end up with joint legal custody.
Nevada also requires that parents take a co-parenting class in order to obtain a divorce. This class is done online in most cases and is not done together with the other parent (in other words, you are both responsible for taking it on your own time). In some cases, a waiver may be granted if you are able to resolve all custody arrangements without court interference. You should, however, expect to have to take the course.
Child support in Nevada depends on many factors that your attorney will discuss with you and ultimately calculate the amount due. The major factor, however, is that child support is based off of what custody arrangement you have. If you have joint physical custody, then both parents’ incomes will be considered in the child support award. If a primary physical custody arrangement is made, then the non-custodial parent is the one paying child support to the primary or “custodial” parent (and the custodial parents’ income is not considered for child support specifically). For detailed information, see our Article concerning how child support is calculated in Nevada.
Note that health insurance arrangements must also be made for the children during the divorce as well.
Spousal Support (“Alimony”)
Spousal support in Nevada is allowed, but it is not guaranteed. Many factors go into determining whether you have a case for spousal support including the parties’ educational backgrounds, incomes, income potential, etc. Further, if spousal support is awarded it is usually for a temporary period of time. Your attorney will discuss whether spousal support is an option to ask for in your case.
The process should begin with a consultation with one of our Las Vegas Divorce Attorneys. Our consultations are done remotely (via phone or video call), are confidential, and the initial consultation will last around thirty minutes. This consultation is focused on what issues surround your case and what steps need to be taken to get started. It is a chance to get to know your attorney and understand what the initial process will be like.
To get started, call us today at 702-515-1500 or Schedule Your Consultation online. We look forward to assisting you during this difficult time.
Common Q&A about Divorce in Nevada
What Does it Cost to Obtain a Divorce in Nevada?
We try and keep our rates extremely competitive so we can help more clients. We require a much lower retainer than most firms and offer many services for flat rates, saving you thousands of dollars. Additionally, we offer access to third-party financing where if approved you can make monthly payments towards your fees.
Is the Consultation Free?
Yes, we offer a free phone or Zoom 30-minute initial consultation.
What if My Spouse Does Not Want a Divorce but I Do?
Your spouse cannot keep you from getting a divorce. This is true even if he/she refuses to participate in the case.
What is Required to Prove my Residency?
You will need a physical address, and a Residency Affidavit is required from a third-party who under oath testifies (via this form) that they know you to be a resident of the state for the required time. Please do not attempt to fake residency as this can cause you a lot of legal headaches.
Can I Force My Spouse to Pay My Attorney's Fees?
Possibly. It depends on your individual case. Your attorney will discuss whether or not you may qualify to ask for attorney’s fees. Please note that you will still be required to pay your attorney’s fees upfront in order to file or respond to a filing. If attorney’s fees are awarded later on, then you may either be reimbursed for your fees or your spouse will pay your remaining fees directly.
My Spouse lives out of State and I live in Nevada and I have been Served with Papers. Can I file in Nevada and Force the Case Here?
Not unless you believe Nevada has proper jurisdiction. The key is to contact us prior to responding to the case filed in another state; otherwise if you respond to the out-of-state case, your response can be construed as agreeing to jurisdiction in that state (meaning you cannot file in Nevada). Regardless, as soon as you are served papers, contact our firm immediately for assistance as the clock starts ticking on how long you have to respond. Also note that if you are planning to file for divorce, you may want to be the first to file so that you control the case a bit better – in other words, you are not caught off guard with a filing you have to rush to respond to.
- Need help with filing for divorce in Nevada?
- Need assistance with child custody matters in Nevada? For more information see our Custody page.
- Need help understanding child support and child support calculation in Nevada? See our article on child support calculation.
- Need help establishing paternity in Nevada? For more information see our article discussing Paternity.
- Need help responding to divorce papers you have been served with?
- Need an aggressive family lawyer to protect your rights?
- Need help with other family law matters not listed here?
We can help! Call us today to schedule your initial consultation or skip ahead of the line and Schedule Your Consultation now.