What Are Nevada’s Divorce Requirements?
Legal separation is not required before a divorce in Nevada. If one spouse has resided in Nevada for at least six weeks, either spouse may file for a divorce with legal advice and guidance from a Las Vegas divorce attorney.
How does a legal separation differ from a divorce in this state? What steps will you have to take in order to divorce in Nevada? How can you protect your long-term best interests throughout the divorce process? When should you schedule a consultation with a Las Vegas divorce lawyer?
If you’ll read this brief discussion of legal separation and divorce in Nevada, these questions will be answered, but if you are personally ready to begin the legal separation or divorce process, you will also need to consult a Las Vegas divorce lawyer.
What is Legal Separation in Nevada?
Legal separation – called “separate maintenance” in Nevada law – is a standard legal alternative to divorce. Many of the same matters that are dealt with in a divorce – such as alimony, custody, and the division of community property – may also be dealt with in separate maintenance cases.
However, unlike a divorce, a legal separation does not end a marriage. You and your spouse may live separately, but you are still legally married. You may still file your tax returns jointly, share health insurance, and remain entitled to military or Social Security survivor benefits.
Spouses legally separate for various reasons. A couple may have religious objections to divorce, or they may use separate maintenance as an opportunity to patch up and save the marriage. Some couples separate before divorcing, but legal separation isn’t required before a divorce in Nevada.
Who May Get Divorced in Nevada?
In order for a married couple to qualify for a divorce in this state, one spouse must be a Nevada resident for a minimum of six weeks. Nevada is a “no-fault” divorce state, and a divorce may be granted for any of these three reasons:
- One or both spouses claim the couple is incompatible.
- The spouses have been legally separated for a year or more.
- One spouse has been deemed legally insane for two years or more.
A Las Vegas divorce lawyer will help you prepare and file the divorce papers and advise you through every stage of your divorce proceeding. Your divorce lawyer will protect your rights and long-term best interests and ensure that you are treated fairly.
What is a Summary Divorce?
Nevada courts offer two types of divorce proceedings: summary divorce and formal divorce. Couples may qualify for a summary divorce, which is faster and less expensive, when:
- They agree on all matters that could be legally disputed.
- They don’t need a judge to divide their assets, decide custody, or order child support.
- They both agree to waive the right to a formal divorce proceeding.
Together, both spouses must apply for the divorce when they seek a summary divorce. Let a divorce lawyer in the Las Vegas area provide you with reliable, personalized legal advice from the beginning of the divorce process.
What is a Formal Divorce?
A formal divorce proceeding is required in cases where one spouse refuses to cooperate or if there is a disputed matter such as child custody, child support, alimony, or the division of marital property.
There are no jury trials in Nevada divorce proceedings. A judge will divide the marital property and issue child custody orders, child support orders, and/or alimony orders. A judge may also, in some cases, order one spouse to pay the other’s legal costs including the attorney’s fees.
What Happens in a Formal Divorce Proceeding?
A divorce trial is a last resort when there is no other way for spouses to settle their differences. If you and your spouse cannot reach some agreements, a judge who knows neither of you personally will be making important decisions about your lives.
At a divorce trial, the lawyers for each side may call, question, and cross-examine witnesses. Depending on the issues that must be resolved, the evidence that may be introduced could include medical and financial records or even personal text messages and voicemails.
The judge will consider the evidence and testimony each side has presented and will issue a decision (called an “order”). Unless one spouse appeals the judge’s order within thirty days, it becomes final and binding.
What Happens in the Legal Separation Process?
Spouses frequently separate in Nevada without ever involving the courts, but if you want or need to formalize your separation legally, a Las Vegas family law attorney can petition the court on your behalf.
Depending on the details of your legal separation, a judge may conduct a proceeding where your attorney presents evidence and examines witnesses. In a legal separation proceeding, a court may decide the same matters that are decided in divorce proceedings, including:
- child custody, support, and visitation rights and schedules
- alimony (also called “spousal support”)
- credit card or other debt payments
- health care insurance coverage and payments
- the distribution or division of marital property (such as vehicles, bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts, and more)
What Else Should You Know About Divorce and Legal Separation?
If your marriage is ending, is divorce or legal separation the right option for you? Many people automatically opt for divorce, but legal separation should also be considered where appropriate.
As mentioned previously, not every couple that legally separates ends up divorcing. Legal separation provides both spouses with the opportunity to re-evaluate their marriage before making the choice to file for divorce.
The paperwork for legal separation is just as complicated and burdensome as the paperwork for a Nevada divorce. In either procedure, couples may jointly settle questions about child custody or spousal support, or a judge will decide and issue a court order that imposes the judge’s decisions.
When Should You Contact an Attorney?
Even before you make the decision to file for a divorce or a legal separation, you need accurate legal information in order to make informed choices. A Nevada divorce lawyer can give you personalized advice and explain how Nevada law will apply to your own divorce or separation.
If your marriage is ending, whether through a divorce or through a legal separation, you must protect your future. Make the call to a family law attorney in Las Vegas and get the sound legal advice you need before any legal procedure begins.