Experienced Las Vegas Divorce Lawyers
Serving the Areas of Clark County Including North Las Vegas, Henderson, Overton, Moapa Valley, Mesquite, and Laughlin.
Deciding to file for a divorce can be a scary and unsettling experience. Before filing, you should take certain steps to educate yourself about the process and make the appropriate plans for each stage of the case.
The decisions that you make in the divorce case can impact every aspect of your life including where you will live, what happens to your assets and debts, how you will care for your children, and how you will spend your money.
Contact our experienced Las Vegas Divorce Lawyers at Mills, Mills & Anderson to discuss your case. During the initial consultation, our experienced Las Vegas divorce attorneys can help you understand the process and the decisions you will make at each stage. We represent both men and women in divorce cases throughout Clark County including Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas, NV.
Call (702) 386-0030 to schedule a consultation to discuss the facts of your case.
Resolving the Temporary Divorce Issues First
One of the most important decisions you will make is how to divide the assets on a temporary basis immediately before the divorce is filed. The temporary issues also include those issues that arise while the divorce is pending but before the it's finalized.
Temporary issues can include who will live in the primary residence, where the other spouse will live, how the money in bank accounts will be divided at the onset of the case, how the reoccurring bills of the household will be paid, and how much temporary child support and spousal support will be paid each month while the case is pending. Those initial decisions made early in the case can have a huge impact on how the issues are ultimately resolved.
The lawyer you hire should help you make all of the preliminary decisions in the case. Deciding those issue fairly might ultimately help you prevent waste, save money and preserve the assets that you and your family worked so hard to accumulate during the length of the marriage.
Who is Eligible to File for Divorce in NV
To be eligible to file, one or both of the spouses must have lived in the State of Nevada for at least six (6) weeks before the action is filed and the person must have the intent to remain here indefinitely. In other words, to file for divorce in NV, either the husband or the wife must actually be a resident of Nevada.
The issue of venue is also important. The divorce action must also be filed in the correct county within NV, which is usually the county where the defendant lives. If the wife is filing for divorce from the husband, and the husband is a resident of Nevada residing in Las Vegas in Clark County, NV, then the action is properly filed in Clark County, NV.
Civil Unions and Domestic Partners in Same-Sex Relationships
Like many other states, Nevada has adopted statutes recognizing civil unions - including same-sex partners - as an alternative to marriage. As a community property state, NV has provisions allowing for couples, including same-sex couples, to become “domestic partners." Under Nevada law, two individuals, including two same-sex partners, may register as domestic partners. As registered domestic partners, the two adults are subject to state community property laws, in the same way, was married couples. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 122A.200.
Therefore, registered domestic partners in NV must split community property income on their separately filed individual federal income tax returns. Registered domestic partners, however, may not file joint returns. Also, community property owned by registered domestic partners may be subject to the same tax collection remedies as community property owned by married couples in Nevada.
The Residency Requirement
In order to file for a divorce in the State of Nevada, one party must reside in the state for at least six (6) weeks prior to filing. Additionally, it requires a "Resident Witness." This witness is another resident who signs the document stating that the party has lived in Nevada for at least six (6) weeks.
If one spouse is currently in the military, and if the state of record or military home state is NV, then the divorce can be filed in this state even if one or both parties currently reside in another state or outside of the United States. Read more about the military divorce in Las Vegas, Clark County, NV.
Grounds for Divorce under Nevada Law
The State of Nevada is considered a “no-fault” divorce state. Under the “no-fault” theory, the person filing does not have to prove fault. Instead, the person only needs to claim that the parties are no longer compatible and that there is no chance of reconciliation. Other grounds for divorce exist, although they are rarely used in NV.
Types of Divorce Actions
Nevada law provides for two different types of divorces – the joint petition (often called the “uncontested divorce”) or the separately filed complaint (often called the “contested divorce”). In an uncontested case, the parties can file together in a “joint petition for divorce.” These cases are approved more quickly. In many cases, the parties do not need to appear in open court in front of the judge.
When the parties do not agree on all of the terms of the divorce, then one party will file a “complaint about divorce” and have the complaint served on the other spouse. Either the husband or the wife can file the “complaint about divorce.”
The person who files for the divorce is designated as the "plaintiff." The other spouse that must respond to the complaint is designated as the “defendant.” After being served with a complaint about divorce, the defendant will file an “answer.” In most cases, the defendant will also file a “counterclaim for divorce.” A “counterclaim” is appropriate when the defendant also wants a divorce.
After the complaint, if filed by the plaintiff and served on the defendant, the Court will schedule several hearings to make sure the case is progressing towards a fair resolution. Hearing can be set to ask the Court to decide temporary issues of child support, visitation, and spousal support.
How Long Does it Take to Divorce in Nevada?
During the initial consultation, one of the first questions asked is, “How long will it take for the divorce to become final?” The answer to that question depends on a host of factors.
A divorce case can settle very quickly once the parties agree on all or most of the terms. As a general matter, the more issues that remain unresolved, the longer the divorce will take. This is particularly true when the unresolved issue involves child support and custody. Hiring an experienced Las Vegas divorce lawyer can help you navigate quicker and guide you through the steps of a divorce.
Can the Facts of the Case Remain Private?
For the most part, the parties in the case to not want to air their dirty laundry in public. When the case is initially filed, it is a public record. Typically, anyone can go to the clerk’s office and obtain a copy of the filings or orders issued in the case.
At the end of the case, your divorce attorney can request that the Court seal the case file so that the contents are no longer public records. Your lawyer will file a "Request and Order to Seal File" for this purpose. The parties must then wait for the request to be approved by the Court.
Issues to be Resolved in the Divorce
Under Nevada law, several different issues will be decided in the divorce case. Those issues include the division of property and debts, whether either spouse will receive temporary alimony or support from the other spouse, child custody, child support, and child visitation or time-sharing.
In most cases, the parties will come to some agreement on how these issues are resolved. If the parties cannot agree then the Court will make the final decision for the husband and wife.
Alimony and Spousal Support
Alimony in Nevada can be awarded on either a temporary basis or a permanent basis. Under NV law, alimony comes in different forms including a lump-sum payment or periodic payments.
Alimony can also be awarded as rehabilitative alimony. The purpose of rehabilitative alimony is to provide financial support to the spouse with a lower income in order to help that spouse adjust and become completely self-supporting.
Determining Child Custody, Visitation, and Support
If the parties have minor children in common, then the divorce action will include issues of legal custody, physical custody, child visitation, and child support. Child custody issue can also include requirements that the parents maintain life insurance for the benefit of the minor child and requirements related to maintaining health insurance for the children.
The Division of Property
The State of Nevada is considered to be a “community property” state. In a community property state, the property and debts acquired during the marriage are presumed to belong to the husband and wife equally. For that reason, during the divorce, the community property is generally divided equally. The different types of assets divided can include:
- cash on hand;
- the money in various bank accounts;
- stocks and bonds;
- the primary residence;
- vacation homes;
- commercial real estate;
- ownership in a business;
- retirement accounts; and
- personal property including clothing, furniture, and furnishings.
The different types of debts can include:
- personal loans;
- student loan debt;
- credit card debt;
- vehicle or car loans; and
- tax debts.
Separate Property or Separate Debt
Under Nevada law, a distinction is made between assets and debts obtained before the marriage and assets and debts obtained during the marriage. Some types of property obtained during the marriage are also considered to be separate property of one spouse that is not divided during the divorce including:
- an inheritance;
- a personal injury award;
- a disability award; or
- certain types of gifts.
Be aware that Nevada law generally recognizes a presumption that all property acquired after marriage is community property and the presumption may only be overcome by clear and convincing evidence. See Forrest v. Forrest, 99 Nev. 602, 604-05 (1983).
Finding a Las Vegas Divorce Lawyer
If you are considering filing for divorce or if you were just served with divorce papers, contact an experienced Las Vegas divorce attorney at Mills, Mills & Anderson. We will help you determine what property and debts should be considered separate property. We will also help you determine the best way to divide the community property accumulated during the divorce. Our divorce lawyers will also help you with child support, custody, and visitation issues. Call our office to speak with an experienced divorce attorney about the unique facts of your case.
Also, find out effective strategies to resolve those issues fairly before trial or during mediation. Our Las Vegas Family Law Firm represents clients throughout the greater Las Vegas Metropolitan area and the surrounding areas of Clark County, Nevada including North Las Vegas and Henderson, NV.
During the initial consultation, we can also talk with you about other issues in the divorce such as alimony, spousal support, child support, and child custody. Contact us to discuss your questions and let us help you find the best solutions for your family.
Call (702) 386-0030 today.