Nevada Divorce Law

Divorce and Legal Separation in Nevada




Divorce and Legal Separation in Nevada

Nevada Divorce Basics

Termination of marriage in Nevada is legally referred to as Divorce from the Bonds of Matrimony.

Residency Requirement:

To file for divorce in Nevada, either party must reside in the state for the six weeks immediately preceding the commencement of the action.

Filing:

A Complaint for Divorce may be filed in the district court of any county in Nevada where any of the following conditions exist:
  • The ground for divorce occurred in the county;
  • The Defendant resides or may be found in the county;
  • The Plaintiff resides in the county; or
  • The parties last cohabited in the county.
Except in summary proceeding for divorce, the proceedings, pleadings and practice must conform to the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure as nearly as conveniently possible.

Summary Proceeding for Divorce:

A marriage may be dissolved in a streamlined process via summary proceedings when all of the following conditions are met at the time the proceeding is commenced:
  • Each party has met the residential requirements;
  • The spouses have lived separate and apart for one year without cohabitation or they are incompatible;
  • There are no minor children of the relationship of the parties born before or during the marriage, or adopted by the parties during the marriage, and the wife is not pregnant the parties have executed an agreement regarding custody of any children which sets for the amount and manner of their support;
  • There is no community or joint property or the parties have executed an agreement setting forth the division of the community property and the assumption of liabilities of the community, if any, and have executed any deeds, certificates of title, bills of sale or other evidence of transfer necessary to effectuate the agreement;
  • The spouses waive any rights to spousal support or the parties have executed an agreement setting forth the amount and manner of spousal support;
  • The parties waive their respective rights to written notice of entry of the decree of divorce, to appeal, to request findings of fact and conclusions of law and to move for a new trial; and
  • The parties desire that the court enter a decree of divorce.
A summary proceeding for divorce may be commenced by filing a Joint Petition signed under oath by both spouses in any district court. The Petition must state that, as of the date of filing, all the requirements have been met and specify the facts which support the residency requirements and the grounds for the divorce.

Spouse’s Name:

In all suits for divorce, if a divorce is granted, the court may, for just and reasonable cause and by an appropriate order represented in its decree, change the name of the wife to any former name which she has legally borne.

Domestic Partnership

Nevada statute defines a domestic partnership as the social contract between two persons who have chosen to share one another’s lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring.

Entering Into a Domestic Partnership:

To be eligible to register a domestic partnership, the two parties must furnish proof of the following to the Office of the Secretary of State:
  • Both persons have a common residence;
  • Neither person is married or a member of another domestic partnership that is recognized as valid by the state of Nevada;
  • The two parties are not related by blood in a way that would prevent them from being married to one another in Nevada;
  • Both parties are at least 18 years of age; and
  • Both parties are competent to consent to the domestic partnership.
If the parties meet these requirements, they may register their domestic partnership by filing a form prescribed by the Secretary of State. This form is a signed and notarized statement declaring the following regarding the two parties:
  • They have chosen to share one another’s lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring; and
  • Desire of their own free will to enter into a domestic partnership.
The Office of the Secretary of State shall issue a Certificate of Registered Domestic Partnership to persons who satisfy the applicable requirements.

A solemnization ceremony is not required for domestic partnerships.

Rights and Duties of Domestic Partners:

Domestic partners have the same rights, protections and benefits, and are subject to the same responsibilities, obligations and duties under law, whether derived from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law or any other provisions or sources of law, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses. The same holds true for former domestic partners as compared to former spouses, and surviving domestic partners as compared to widows or widowers.

The rights and obligations of domestic partners with respect to a child of either of them are the same as those of spouses. The rights and obligations of former or surviving domestic partners with respect to a child of either of them are the same as those of former or surviving spouses. Domestic partners have the same rights to nondiscriminatory treatment as that provided to spouses.

Domestic partnerships or similar legal unions established in other states and jurisdictions must be registered in Nevada as legally required to be recognized in the state as a valid domestic partnership.

Terminating a Domestic Partnership:

Domestic partners who wish to terminate a domestic partnership must follow the procedures set forth in the Nevada statutes regarding dissolution of marriage, unless they qualify for a simplified termination.

Simplified Termination:

A domestic partnership may qualify for a simplified termination proceeding if the following conditions exist at the time of filing:
  • The domestic partnership has been registered for five years or less;
  • There are no minor children of the relationship of the parties born before or during the domestic partnership or adopted by the parties during the domestic partnership and no female member of the domestic partnership is pregnant, to her knowledge, or the parties have executed an agreement regarding the custody of any children and setting forth the amount and manner of their support;
  • There is no community or joint property or the parties have executed an agreement setting forth the division of community property and the assumption of liabilities of the community, if any, and have executed any deeds, certificates of title, bills of sale or other evidence of transfer necessary to effectuate the agreement;
  • The parties waive any rights to support or the parties have executed an agreement setting forth the amount and manner of support;
  • The parties waive any right to the conduct of more comprehensive proceedings.
If a domestic partnership meets these criteria, domestic partners may terminate their registered domestic partnerships in the following manner:
  • File a form prescribed by the Secretary of State which declares that both parties have chosen of their own free will to terminate the domestic partnership; and
  • Pay a reasonable filing fee to the Office of the Secretary of State, which must not exceed the total of any administrative costs incurred by the Secretary of State.

Legal Grounds for Divorce

In Nevada, a divorce from the bonds of matrimony may be obtained for any of the following grounds:
      1. Insanity existing for two years prior to the commencement of the action;
      2. The spouses have lived separate and apart for one year without cohabitation; or
      3. Incompatibility.
When insanity is claimed as a ground for divorce, the court shall require corroborative evidence of the insanity of the Defendant before granting the divorce. A decree granted on this ground shall not relieve the successful party from contributing to the support and maintenance of the Defendant.

In any action for divorce when it appears to the court that grounds for divorce exist, the court in it discretion may grant a divorce to either party.

Annulment

All marriages which are prohibited by law because of consanguinity (kinship) between the parties or bigamy are void without any decree of divorce or annulment or other legal proceedings.

A marriage may be annulled for any of the following causes:
  • Either party is at least 16 years of age, but under the age of 18 years and did not obtain consent of a parent or guardian to marry;
  • Either party is under the age of 16 years and did not obtain consent of a parent or guardian and judicial consent to marry;
  • Either party was incapable of consenting to a marriage due to lack of understanding;
  • The consent of either party was obtained by fraud and the parties have not voluntarily cohabited as husband and wife after receiving knowledge of the fraud;
  • Any cause which is ground for annulling or declaring a contract void in a court of equity.
An annulment that is sought for lack of consent of a parent or guardian may not be obtained if the minor freely cohabited with the other party to the marriage as husband and wife after reaching the age of 18 years, nor if more than one year has passed since the minor reached the age of 18 years.

The marriage of any insane person shall not be declared void after his/her mind is restored to reason if it appears that the parties freely cohabited together as husband and wife after the insane spouse was restored to a sound mind.

If a marriage was contracted, performed or entered into outside Nevada, one of the spouses must reside in the state for six weeks before filing Complaint for Annulment. However, there is no residency requirement to commence an annulment action if the marriage was contracted, performed or entered into within Nevada.

A cause of action for annulment may be pleaded in the same Complaint with a cause of action for divorce.

Property Division

In any action for divorce, at any time more than 10 days before trial, a party may serve upon the opposing party a written offer to allow a decree to be entered concerning the property rights of the parties in accordance with the terms and conditions of the offer.

If the offer made is accepted by the opposing party and approved by the court, the court shall enter judgment in accordance with the terms and conditions of the offer, with entry of the decree of divorce.

Nevada is a community property state. In granting a divorce, the court shall make an equal disposition of the community property of the parties and property held in joint tenancy. However, the court may make an unequal disposition of the community property in proportions that it deems just if it finds a compelling reason to do so.

If a party has made a contribution of separate property to the acquisition or improvement of property held in joint tenancy, the court may provide for the reimbursement of that party for his/her contribution. The amount of reimbursement must not exceed the amount of the contribution of separate property that can be traced to the acquisition or improvement of property held in joint tenancy, without interest or any adjustment because of an increase in the value of the property held in joint tenancy.

The amount of reimbursement must also not exceed the value, at the time of the disposition, of the property held in joint tenancy for which the contribution of separate property was made. In determining whether to provide for the reimbursement in whole or in part, of a party who has contributed separate property, the court shall consider the following factors:
  • The intention of the parties in placing the property in joint tenancy;
  • The length of the marriage; and
  • Any other factors which the court deems relevant in making a just and equitable disposition of the property.

Alimony and Support

In granting a divorce, the court may award alimony to the wife or husband, in a specified principal sum or as specified periodic payments, as appears just and equitable. The court may set apart certain portions of the paying spouse’s separate property for the requesting spouse’s support as is deemed just and equitable.

In addition to any other factors the court considers relevant, when determining whether to award alimony and the amount of the award, the court shall consider the following factors:
  • The financial condition of each spouse;
  • The nature and value of the respective property of each spouse;
  • The contribution of each spouse to any property held by the spouses;
  • The length of the marriage;
  • The income, earning capacity, age and health of each spouse;
  • The standards of living during the marriage;
  • The career of the requesting spouse before the marriage;
  • The existence of specialized education or training or the level of marketable skills attained by each spouse during the marriage;
  • The contribution of either spouse as homemaker;
  • The award of property granted by the court in the divorce (other than child support and alimony) to the requesting spouse; and
  • The physical and mental condition of each party as it relates to his/her financial condition, health and ability to work.
When granting a divorce, the court shall also consider the need to grant alimony to a spouse for the purpose of obtaining training or education relating to a job, career or profession. In addition to any other factors the court considers relevant, when determining whether this type of alimony should be awarded, the court shall consider whether the paying spouse has obtained greater job skills or education during the marriage, and whether the requesting spouse provided financial support while the other spouse obtained job skills or education.

If this type of alimony is awarded, the court shall make provisions regarding the time allotted to the requesting spouse to begin the training or education for his/her job, career or profession.

In addition to any other alimony granted by the court, the requesting spouse may also be granted money to provide for the following:
  • Testing of the requesting spouse’s skills relating to a job, career or profession;
  • Evaluation of the requesting spouse’s abilities and goals relating to a job, career or profession;
  • Guidance for the requesting spouse in establishing a specific plan for training or education relating to a job, career or profession;
  • Subsidization of an employer’s costs incurred in the requesting spouse’s training;
  • Assisting the requesting spouse to search for a job; or
  • Payment of the costs of tuition, books and fees for a GED, career-related college courses, or courses of training in skills desirable for employment.
Unless otherwise ordered by the court, periodic alimony payments must cease upon the death of either party or the subsequent remarriage of the receiving spouse.

Child Custody and Support

Custody:

The Nevada Legislature has declared the following to be state policy:
  • To ensure that minor children have frequent associations and a continuing relationship with both parents after the parents have become separated or have dissolved their marriage; and
  • To encourage those parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing.
If a court has not made a determination regarding the custody of a child and the child’s parents are married to one another, each parent has joint legal custody of the child until otherwise ordered by a court.

In determining custody of a minor child, the sole consideration of the court is the best interest of the child. Preference shall not be given to either parent for the sole reason that the parent is the mother or the father of the child.

The court shall award custody in the following order of preference unless in a particular case the best interest of the child requires otherwise:
      1. To both parents jointly or to either parent;

      2. To a person or persons in whose home the child has been living and where the child has had a wholesome and stable environment;

      3. To any person related within the fifth degree of consanguinity to the child whom the court finds suitable and able to provide proper care and guidance for the child, regardless of whether the relative resides within the state of Nevada; or

      4. To any other person(s) whom the court finds suitable and able to provide proper care and guidance for the child.

In determining the best interest of the child, the court shall consider the following criteria:
  • The wishes of the child if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form an intelligent preference as to his/her custody;
  • Any nomination by a parent or a guardian for the child;
  • Which parent is more likely to allow the child to have frequent associations and a continuing relationship with the non-custodial parent;
  • The level of conflict between the parents;
  • The ability of the parents to cooperate to meet the needs of the child;
  • The mental and physical health of the parents;
  • The physical, developmental and emotional needs of the child;
  • The nature of the relationship of the child with each parent;
  • The ability of the child to maintain a relationship with any sibling;
  • Any history of parental abuse or neglect of the child or a sibling of the child;
  • Whether either parent or any other person seeking custody has engaged in an act of domestic violence against the child, a parent of the child or any other person residing with the child; or
  • Whether either parent or any other person seeking custody has committed any act of abduction against the child or any other child.
When there is a finding that either parent has engaged in one or more acts of domestic violence against the child, a parent of the child or any other person residing with the child, a presumption exists that sole or joint custody of the child by the abusive parent is not in the best interest of the child. The same presumption exists when a determination is made that either parent has committed any act of abduction against the child or any other child.

There is a presumption that joint custody would be in the best interest of a minor child if the parents have agreed to an award of joint custody or agree in open court

Support:

In granting a divorce, the court may set apart certain portions of the separate property of either spouse for the support of their children as is deemed just and equitable.

The parents of a child have a duty to provide the child necessary maintenance, health care, education and support. They are also liable, in the event of the child’s death, for his/her funeral expense. In addition, the father is liable to pay the expenses of the mother’s pregnancy and confinement.

Before a court issues or modifies an order for child support, it shall determine if any of the parties to the proceeding are receiving or have ever received public assistance. If the court determines this to be the case, it shall not waive child support arrearages until after it has provided the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services with notice and an opportunity to be heard regarding the matter.

Nevada used the Flat Percentage of Income Model to calculate child support obligations. It uses the paying parent’s gross monthly income and the number of children for whom support is being ordered and is based on the following schedule:
    18% for one child;
    25% for two children;
    29% for three children;
    31% for four children; and
    An additional 2% for each additional child.
However, the child support amount may not be more than the presumptive maximum amount per month set forth in a statutory table, which is adjusted yearly. The current amounts are as follows:
    For income between $ 0 and $ 4,168 the presumptive maximum amount is $500;
    For income between $ 4,168 and $ 6,251 the presumptive maximum amount is $550;
    For income between $ 6,251 and $ 8,334 the presumptive maximum amount is $600;
    For income between $ 8,334 and $10,418 the presumptive maximum amount is $650;
    For income between $10,418 and $12,501 the presumptive maximum amount is $700;
    For income between $12,501 and $14,583 the presumptive maximum amount is $750; and
    For income equal to or more than $14,583, the presumptive maximum amount is $800.
These presumptive maximum amounts are adjusted on July 1 of each year for the fiscal year beginning that day and ending June 30 in a rounded dollar amount corresponding to the percentage of increase or decrease in the Consumer Price Index published by the U.S. Dept. of Labor for the preceding calendar year.

The minimum amount of support that may be awarded by a court in any case is $100 per month, per child, unless the court makes a written finding that the paying parent is unable to pay this minimum amount.

If the parents have come to an agreement regarding a child support amount, the parties must certify that the amount agreed to is consistent with the appropriate formula as set forth in the statutes, and if not, they must stipulate sufficient facts which justify the deviation to the court.

Every court order for the support of a child issued or modified in Nevada on or after June 2, 2007, must include a provision specifying that one or both parents are required to provide medical support for the child and any details relating to that requirement.

Medical support includes coverage for health care under a plan of insurance that is reasonable in cost and accessible, including the payment of any premium, copayment or deductible and the payment of medical expenses.

Expenses for health care which are not reimbursed, including those for medical, surgical, dental, orthodontic and optical, must be borne equally by both parents in the absence of extraordinary circumstances.

The court shall consider the following factors when adjusting a child support amount:
  • The cost of health insurance;
  • The cost of child care;
  • Any special educational needs of the child;
  • The child’s age;
  • The legal responsibility of the parents for the support of others;
  • The value of services contributed by either parent;
  • Any public assistance paid to support the child;
  • Any expenses reasonably related to the mother’s pregnancy and confinement;
  • The cost of transportation of the child to and from visitation if the custodial parent moved with the child from the jurisdiction of the court which ordered the support and the non-custodial parent remained;
  • The amount of time the child spends with each parent;
  • Any other necessary expenses for the benefit of the child; and
  • The relative income of both parents.
If a child becomes handicapped before he reaches the age of majority, his/her parent shall support the child beyond the age of majority until he/she is no longer handicapped or becomes self-supporting.

Legal Separation and Separate Maintenance

Legal separation is also referred to as separate maintenance in Nevada. In all cases for legal separation and separate maintenance, the proceedings and practice must be the same, as nearly as may be, as those provided in actions for divorce. Suit may be brought in the county in which either party resides at the time the suit is commenced, or in the county in which the spouse may be found.

When a person has any cause of action for divorce or when a person has been deserted and the desertion has continued for 90 days, the person may, without applying for a divorce, maintain in the district court an action against his/her spouse for permanent support and maintenance of him/herself and their children.

The court shall have the powers to do any of the following:
  • Assign and decree to either spouse the possession of any real or personal property of the other spouse (provided it is not contrary to a premarital agreement between the spouses);
  • Order or decree the payment of a fixed sum of money for the support of the other spouse and their children (provided it is not contrary to a premarital agreement between the spouses);
  • Provide that the payment of that money be secured upon real estate or other security or make any other suitable provision; and
  • Determine the time and manner in which the payments must be made.

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