Nevada Divorce Process
Overview of divorce process in Nevada
Getting divorced in Nevada follows a series of legal steps outlined in state laws. The process involves filing divorce paperwork, dividing assets, determining child custody arrangements, and finalizing the dissolution of the marriage formally through the court system. Whether your divorce is simple and uncontested or complex and contentious, understanding the basic process in Nevada can help.
To file for divorce in Nevada, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least 6 weeks prior to filing and intend to remain a resident. There are a few exceptions to this rule.
Nevada allows for both no-fault and fault-based divorce. In a no-fault divorce, you assert irreconcilable differences as the reason for divorce. Fault-based divorce requires alleging your spouse committed offenses like adultery, abandonment, or domestic violence.
Uncontested vs contested divorce
An uncontested divorce is one where you and your spouse agree on all aspects. A contested divorce means you can’t agree and must litigate issues. Over 90% of divorces in Nevada are uncontested.
Steps to filing for divorce
The basic steps include hiring a lawyer, filing paperwork, serving your spouse, disclosure and discovery, settlement, and final court orders. Getting divorced takes an average of 1 year in Nevada.
Physical presence rule
To file for divorce in Nevada, one spouse must have physically lived in the state for at least 6 weeks before filing and have the intent to remain a Nevada resident. There are no exceptions to this rule.
Exceptions to physical presence rule
There are a few exceptions that allow filing for divorce in Nevada without meeting the 6 week physical presence requirement:
- Your spouse lives in Nevada and consents to the divorce being filed.
- You are in the military stationed in Nevada.
- There are exigent circumstances requiring an emergency divorce filing.
As long as one spouse meets the requirements, the divorce can proceed in Nevada.
Divorce Grounds in Nevada
Nevada has “no-fault” divorce which means you can request to end your marriage based on irreconcilable differences without blaming your spouse for the breakdown. You only need to state the marriage is broken.
Fault-based divorce grounds
Nevada also allows fault-based divorces alleging:
- Abandonment for 1+ years
- Physical or mental cruelty
- Sexual impotency
- Habitual alcohol or drug use
- Incarceration for felony crime
- Domestic violence or conflict
You must provide proof of grounds for a fault-based divorce.
Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce
An uncontested divorce is one where you and your spouse agree on ending the marriage and how to handle all divorce-related issues like:
- Asset division
- Child custody and support
Over 90% of divorces in Nevada are uncontested, making the process simpler and faster.
A contested divorce is where you and your spouse do not agree on some or all aspects like:
- Dividing property, assets, or debts
- Child custody arrangements
- Alimony terms
Contested divorces involve more time, money, and litigation to settle disputes.
Steps to Filing for Divorce in Nevada
Hiring a divorce lawyer
It’s recommended to hire an experienced Nevada divorce attorney to protect your rights and guide you through the intricacies of state laws. They can help complete forms, recommend strategies, negotiate settlement, and represent you in court if needed.
Filing the divorce petition
The initial divorce paperwork is called the petition or complaint which states you want a divorce and proposes terms. Your lawyer can file this with the court to officially commence the divorce.
Serving your spouse
Your spouse must receive official notice that you’ve filed for divorce. This is usually done by certified mail or process server.
Responding to the petition
Once served, your spouse must file a response within 21 days, either contesting terms or agreeing to the proposed resolution. Silence is treated as agreement.
You and your spouse exchange financial documents, appraisals, and other information to value assets, determine budgets, and establish facts. This phase can take months.
Reaching a settlement
Most divorces eventually reach settlement through negotiation, mediation or litigation. A marital settlement agreement finalizes the terms.
If you can’t agree, the judge will make final decisions on disputed issues through a bench trial. This is time-consuming and expensive.
Finalizing the divorce
Once any required waiting periods pass, the judge signs the final divorce decree legally dissolving your marriage. The process takes 12-18 months on average.
Child Custody and Support
Legal custody determines which parent(s) can make major decisions about education, healthcare, religion, etc. Options are sole or joint legal custody.
Physical custody establishes which parent the children live with most of the time. One parent could have primary physical custody with the other having visitation rights.
Child support calculations
The court determines child support by the paying parent’s income and amount of time children spend with each parent according to Nevada guidelines.
Division of Assets and Debts
Nevada is a community property state, so marital assets and debts are divided equally in divorce. This includes income earned, property bought, and obligations incurred during marriage.
Assets or debts belonging to one spouse before marriage or received as a gift/inheritance during marriage are separate property exempt from division. Prenuptial agreements also dictate separate property.
The court strives for an equitable 50/50 split of net marital property. The judge has discretion to divide assets unequally in certain cases.
Spousal Support (Alimony)
Types of spousal support
Nevada allows temporary, rehabilitative, reimbursement, lump-sum, or permanent alimony after weighing specific criteria.
Factors determining support
Courts consider the spouse’s ability to pay, recipient’s need, age, income, work skills, duration of marriage, and each spouse’s role.
Duration of support
There are no hard rules on duration. Permanent alimony is reserved for long-term marriages. Rehabilitative alimony is short-term to cover education.
Summary of key points
Getting divorced in Nevada involves meeting residency requirements, choosing divorce grounds, filing paperwork, disclosing finances, settling disputes, and finalizing the marital dissolution. Knowing the detailed steps allows you to prepare for the legal process. With the help of an experienced Nevada divorce attorney, you can navigate the intricacies of state laws and protect your rights. Although divorce can be emotionally and financially difficult, understanding the basic process in Nevada can make the transition smoother.
What if my spouse and I can’t agree on divorce terms?
If you can’t reach agreement, the areas of dispute become contested issues that have to be resolved through mediation, settlement conferences, or decided by a judge at trial.
Does it matter who files for divorce first in Nevada?
No, it generally doesn’t matter except for strategic reasons. The first to file is the Plaintiff/Petitioner and the other party is the Defendant/Respondent.
How long does it take to finalize a divorce in Nevada?
The average divorce in Nevada takes 12-18 months from filing to final decree. Uncontested divorces can be resolved in 6-8 months. Contested cases often take 18+ months.
Can I get alimony in my Nevada divorce?
Nevada allows for different types of spousal support or alimony. The court determines eligibility based on factors like length of marriage, income levels, and earning ability.
Is Nevada a community property state?
Yes, Nevada is a community property state, so marital assets and debts are divided equitably between spouses in divorce. Separate property acquired before or during the marriage is exempt.