Requirements for divorce in Nevada
The divorce filed in Nevada is completely a no-fault divorce. This essentially means that you do not address the reasons for your divorce in the divorce complaint.
Before filing for a divorce in Nevada, either your spouse or you should have lived in the state for a period of at least 6 weeks.
The person filing for the divorce can choose to file in any one of:
The county where you are residing currently.
The county where your spouse is residing.
The county where your spouse and you lived last together as a married couple.
There is no waiting period to get a divorce in Nevada and the judge can pass a final divorce judgment when the court is available.
If your spouse and you sign all the documents, it will take around 1-3 weeks for the divorce to be granted and in case there is no property to be divided or children involved, then it will take around 2 weeks. If only one spouse signs, it will take around 6-8 weeks if the defendant is in person or cannot be located and must be served by publication then the divorce will take around 16-18 weeks to be finalized.
In Nevada, you can get an annulment, which is also a court procedure that ends or dissolves your marriage.
Nevada grounds for divorce
As we have already discussed, Nevada is a no-fault divorce state and the divorce can be filed on basis of either of the no-fault grounds:
Your spouse and you have been living apart for at least 1 year without cohabitation.
Incompatibility along with a statement that your spouse and you do not believe that there can be a reconciliation.
Insanity that has been in existence 2 years before you file for divorce.
You can opt for an annulment of your marriage instead of filing for a divorce in Nevada. An annulment differs from a divorce and in an annulment, marriage is treated as it never happened and since many people consider a divorce a stigma, they prefer to have the marriage annulled.
Grounds for Annulment:
If there was consent needed, then lack of consent of a parent/guardian.
Insanity or lack of understanding by your spouse or you.
Lies or fraud by your spouse of you that forced the other person to marry.
Marriage is illegal because your spouse and you are very closely related.
At the time of your marriage, your spouse or you were married to a third person.
When the judge orders an annulment, the marriage is considered void immediately and it is as if you were never married. If your spouse and you have children together, then they are considered legitimate even after the annulment, which essentially means that the father is still their father unless it is proved that another person is their father.
Step 1: Starting your NV divorce
You can file a joint petition if your spouse and you agree to all the terms of the divorce; however, if you are unable to agree on the issues, you need to file a Complaint for Divorce.
The third type of divorce you can opt for in Nevada is a “summary divorce”, which is also known as a “summary default divorce by affidavit”. This is the quickest and cheapest method of divorce and to qualify for a summary divorce, both your spouse and you should be in complete agreement about all the issue pertaining to the divorce.
. Both the parties should also waive off spousal support rights or they should arrive an agreement on the amount, which should be in writing. Both parties must also waive the right to a new trial, to appeal and receive notice of the final divorce decree.
In order to file for a summary divorce, a special type of affidavit must be filed with the court along with the settlement agreement copy. The affidavit should have the following details:
All the information in the affidavit is correct.
That the residency requirements are satisfied by you.
The affidavit contains facts which can be submitted to the court.
Each allegation in the affidavit has factual support.
You are capable of signing the affidavit.
If the affidavit and the settlement agreement are accepted by the court, the divorce will be granted even without a hearing.
Preparing and Filing Your Forms
When you decide on the kind of divorce you want to file, you need to put together all the documents required to file for divorce.
If you are filing a joint petition, you will require the following papers:
Divorce Decree (original + 3 copies): This is the legal documentation of the termination of the marriage that will be signed by both spouses and finally by the judge to approve the divorce.
Service or Waiver Certificate
Resident Witness Affidavit: This form is proof that either of the spouses filing for divorce has been a resident of Nevada at least for a period of 6 weeks before the filing and plans to remain here.
Identification and Child Welfare Sheet (in the case of minor children)
Confidential Information Sheet: This has the ssn (Social Security Numbers) of both the spouses) and if your spouse and you are unable to agree on the various issues and you file a complaint for divorce, then apart from the above document, you must also file the Summons.
Your county court may require that you file additional documents depending on the issues of your specific case such as:
Family Court Cover Sheet: This contains information about your spouse and you, your children and details of any other cases pending at the family court.
Joint Preliminary Injunction: This is to prevent your spouse from transferring or selling assets that are owned jointly by your spouse and you when the divorce is still pending.
When you have all your documents, you must take them to the court office in the particular county where you plan to file for divorce and submit the documents to the clerk. Every county has a specific number of copies that you must submit; however, you must keep one copy for your reference and records.
Step 2: Serving your spouse
3rd party process server
If you are not able to locate your spouse, you can publish a notice in the local newspaper. However, this is the last resort and you must be able to prove to the court that you are not able to find your spouse.
On receiving the documents, the defendant has around 20 days to file any one of the responses:
Answer to the Complaint for Divorce
Answer to the Complaint for Divorce & Counterclaim (without any children)
Answer to the Complaint for Divorce & Counterclaim (with children)
According to the civil procedure rules of Nevada, the service of the complaint as well as the summons should be done by personal service, which requires that a neutral party gives the copy to the litigant personally and also files the affidavit of service with the clerk’s office at the district court.
In case a personal service is not possible, then the spouse serving the documents (complainant) can seek relief from the court and get an order to publish the service in a newspaper with general circulation such as the Nevada Legal News for 5 successive weeks.
Step 3: Contested or uncontested NV divorce?
In the case that you are unable to come to an agreement regarding some or all the issues of your divorce with your spouse, this is known as a contested divorce. Usually, in the case of a contested divorce, both parties will have to go to court for a hearing where the issues will be presented to the judge, who will issue the rulings for every stated issue between both parties.
The divorce decree will be finalized when the judge signs it. Usually, a contested divorce is expensive as both parties must hire a divorce attorney to represent the case on your behalf in the court, provide resolutions for the issues, provide witnesses and protect your interests.
Some of the uncontested divorces in Nevada are also called summary divorces. If your spouse and you agree on all the issues of the divorce from the start, then you can choose to get a summary divorce. a summary divorce is much cheaper and quicker compared to a regular divorce. And, if you opt for a summary divorce, then there is no need to go to court. All you need to do is simply file your papers in the court and they will be signed by the judge.
You can get a summary divorce only if all the conditions mentioned below are true:
If your spouse and you have been separated and have not lived together for at least 1 year or if you are incompatible, which means that your marriage has been damaged so badly that you cannot get along with your spouse anymore. Incompatibility and separation are legal grounds for divorce.
You do not have any minor children with your spouse and your wife isn’t pregnant. Or, your spouse and you have children and have a written agreement regarding the visitation, custody and child support.
There is no joint or community property and if there is community property involved, your spouse and you have a written agreement that divides the property as per mutually agreed terms.
Your spouse and you have agreed to waive your alimony rights or you have a written agreement regarding alimony.
Your spouse and you have waived your rights to notice of entry of the divorce decree, to appeal the divorce order passed by the judge, to request for a new trial and to request findings of conclusions and facts of the law.
Both your spouse and you want that the court enters a final decree of divorce.
You can opt for a summary divorce whether your spouse and you have children together or not. In case you have children, you must provide additional papers to support your agreement such as a child support worksheet.
Step 4: Do it yourself or hire an attorney?
There is no court rule in Nevada that requires you to hire a divorce lawyer to represent you in a divorce action. If you are representing yourself in court, then you will be known as a “proper person litigant” and will be held in the same standard as a lawyer and you will be expected to know the laws and rules applicable to your case. It is, however, recommended that you hire a lawyer to represent you so that you do not make any mistake or flout any rule that can damage your case severely.
Online Divorce Services
If you require help with preparing the documents for filing a divorce in Nevada, you can file for a divorce without incurring expensive lawyer’s fees by making use of an online divorce service (Recommended provider). They give you step-by-step instructions on how to fill the forms and help you complete the divorce documentation online.
Some online services even fill in the documents for you after you give them the necessary information. Once the divorce documents are prepared, they give you complete instructions of the specific court where you need to file the papers. Using an online service is quicker, easier and cheaper too.
Step 5: Figuring out the major issues
Being a community property state, Nevada considers all the property that your spouse and you acquire during your marriage such as your home, personal property and income as community property and this is divided between your spouse and you equally. Any debts that are acquired during the marriage are also divided equally.
However, if your spouse and you have an agreement on how the property will be divided, then you can give your proposal to the court and if you believe it to be fair, then you need not divide the property exactly equally. Any property will remain as the separate property of the party who has acquired it if the property was got before marriage, after the separation date or was inherited or received by bequest during the marriage.
One of the spouses may have to provide alimony to the other spouse after the divorce and there are many factors that will be considered by the judge before the alimony amount is decided.
Factors such as whether one spouse has contributed towards the education or the job training of the other spouse, if the spousal support awarded is equitable and just and if one spouse requires additional education or training for the purpose of a job.
The amount of alimony can be altered if the income of the spouse paying alimony changes by 20% or more. In the case the spouse receiving alimony remarries or one of the spouse dies, then the alimony stops, unless the court has directed otherwise.
When making any decisions regarding child custody, the court will consider the best interests of the child. The court will order sole custody to one parent or joint custody to both the parents after considering various factors such as:
Wishes of both parents and the child
Ability of parents to cooperate and take care of the child together
Child’s emotional requirements and physical development.
Child’s relationship with both parents.
Child’s adjustment to the home, school and community since the divorce of parents.
Parent who is likely to allow contact frequently with the parent who does not have the custody of the child.
If any parent wants to modify the child custody order, the parent asking for modification needs to show that the circumstances have changed significantly.
The child support obligation per month is determined by the Nevada court on the income of the noncustodial parent. Apart from the income, the court will also consider other factors like childcare, education cost, medical cost and health insurance and adjust the child support amount to accommodate these expenses.
Usually, $100 is the minimum amount for child support per child. The Division of Welfare and Support Services of Nevada regulates children’s welfare in the state and can help you in opening a child support case.
Step 6: Finalizing your Nevada divorce
If your spouse and you reach an agreement about all the issues before your case goes to court, then you can file a settlement agreement in the court. Having a settlement agreement lets you have more control over the case and is also a cheaper option that helps you save money.
If your spouse and you agree on a complete disposition of your property, children and other issues, then you can file a joint petition and the court will enter a divorce decree immediately without you having to go to court and appear before a judge. In the event that your spouse and you are not able to agree on the terms of the divorce, you will have to make court appearances.
When the judge of the district court signs the final divorce decree, it is entered in the records of the court clerk and your divorce is finalized.
Other helpful resources
You can get extensive self-help information about how to file for a divorce or an annulment in Nevada, the informational brochure and complaint packets are available on the Clark County Nevada State Court Website.