Las Vegas Divorce Lawyer
Our family law practice specializes in a variety of Nevada marital topics including: Child Custody, Child Support, Legal Separation, Annulment, Spousal Support & Alimony, and Domestic Partnerships.
In addition to being emotionally draining, divorce in Nevada may involve complicated legal proceedings. Hiring a Las Vegas divorce attorney who is aggressive, knowledgeable, and experienced is essential. Karen A. Connolly, a Las Vegas divorce lawyer with more than 20 years of hands-on legal experience, is committed to providing her family law clients with aggressive legal representation that yields favorable results.
Facing a Divorce in Nevada?
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Educate Yourself with Our Guide to Nevada Divorce
Divorce is a serious decision, and we understand how stressful and uncertain the time leading up to your divorce can be. That’s why we’ve provided free answers to your most pressing Nevada divorce questions in “A Guide to Nevada Divorce”.
This article provides only basic information about divorce and family law in Nevada. It is not a substitute for consulting with a divorce lawyer. Only an experienced Nevada divorce attorney can give you legal advice about your situation.
Divorce in Nevada
Nevada is a “no-fault” divorce state, which means that you cannot allege that wrongdoing by your spouse is the cause of the divorce. Instead, most divorces in Nevada are based on the grounds that the parties to a marriage have irreconcilable differences that have led to the breakdown of the marriage. You may also base your divorce on the grounds that you have been separated from your spouse for at least 12 months.
There is no waiting period for a divorce in Nevada. Although a spouse cannot contest the actual dissolution of a marriage, he or she can contest the terms of the divorce settlement such as child custody and support, the division of marital assets and debts, and alimony. These issues are discussed more fully below.
Grounds for Divorce in Nevada
Pursuant to Nevada Revised Statutes § 125.010, grounds for divorce in Nevada exist if:
The spouses are incompatible (sometimes referred to as having “irreconcilable differences”); or
The spouses have lived separate and apart for 12 months (one year) without cohabiting; or
One of the spouses suffers from insanity for a period of 24 months (two years) prior to the filing of the divorce.
It is important to understand that while Nevada is a no-fault divorce state and fault will not impact whether you may get a divorce, courts may consider fault when dividing property or awarding alimony. How courts in Nevada use fault as a determining factor in allocating property and alimony will be discussed more fully below.
Annulment in Nevada
Nevada Revised Statutes § 125.290 and the following sections provide that an annulment may be granted if:
A parent or guardian did not consent to the marriage if consent was required at the time of the marriage; or
There was a lack of understanding or insanity at the time of the marriage by you or your spouse; or
You or your spouse induced the other to marry by fraud (or lies); or
The marriage was illegal because you and your spouse are too closely related; or
You or your spouse was married to someone else at the time of your marriage.
Residency Requirements for Divorce in Nevada
In order to petition a Nevada court for a divorce or an annulment, one or both spouses must be a resident of Nevada for at least six weeks prior to the date of filing for divorce. A person is a “resident” of Nevada for purposes of filing a divorce if he or she is permanently present within the borders of the state for a period of six weeks before filing a complaint for divorce.
How Property is Divided upon Divorce in Nevada
Nevada is a community property state. This means that any income earned or debt accumulated by either spouse during the marriage is generally considered to be marital property that is owned equally by each spouse. The same is true for property bought with those earnings. At divorce, any community assets, debt, and/or property is typically divided equally between the spouses.
It is important to understand that there are many exceptions to these general rules, and that not all property (particularly real property like your family home) can be divided into two equal halves. Nevada courts have discretion to order an unequal distribution of community property if an equal division would not be fair and equitable under the circumstances. Nevada courts may consider “fault” or wrongdoing by a spouse when dividing property upon divorce.
If a valid prenuptial agreement was signed prior to the marriage, this will likely impact how property is divided upon divorce. It may stipulate that certain property that would ordinarily be considered community property remains the separate property of one spouse in the event of a divorce. An experienced divorce lawyer can carefully analyze a prenuptial agreement and advise you as to how it will impact your rights and responsibilities upon divorce.
How Child Custody and Child Support is Determined upon Divorce in Nevada
In making a child custody determination, the sole consideration of courts in Nevada is the best interest of the child or children. If a court believes that joint custody would be in the best interest of the child or children, the court may grant custody to the parties jointly. Nevada law specifies that in making a custody determination, preference will not be given to either parent for the sole reason that the parent is the mother or father of the child. See Nevada Revised Statutes § 125.480.
NRS 125.480 provides that a court must award custody in the following order of preference unless the best interest of the child or children requires otherwise:
- To both parents jointly pursuant to NRS 125.490 or to either parent. If the court does not enter an order awarding joint custody of a child after either parent has applied for joint custody, the court shall state in its decision the reason for its denial of the parent’s application.
- To a person or persons in whose home the child has been living and where the child has had a wholesome and stable environment.
- 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 this State.
- To any other person or persons whom the court finds suitable and able to provide proper care and guidance for the child.
In determining the best interest of the child or children, Nevada courts will consider the following factors. In some cases, they may consider additional factors.
- The wishes of the child if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form an intelligent preference as to his or 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 noncustodial 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.
- Whether either parent or any other person seeking custody has committed any act of abduction against the child or any other child.
After a divorce, Nevada requires both parents to financially support their child or children. In determining the amount of child support owed, Nevada courts look primarily to each parent’s income and other resources, as well as how much time each parent will spend with the child or children based on the child custody arrangement.
Issues pertaining to child custody and child support can be highly contentious. This is one of the many reasons why it is important to hire a divorce lawyer who will fight what is in the best interest of you and your child or children.
Featured Family Law Client Review:
Having a blended family comes with a bundle challenges including former spouses and custodial issues. My husband and I are forever grateful for the time, energy and extreme professionalism we received from Ms. Connolly and her staff. Their dedication to protecting our family is priceless.
Review by: Lindzy T.
Reviewing: Las Vegas Family Law Services
Date published: 2014-06-16
Rating: 5 / 5 stars
Contact an Experienced Nevada Divorce Lawyer Today
Karen A. Connolly offers her Las Vegas, Nevada clients years of courtroom experience. She is dedicated to providing her family law clients with the attention and support necessary to secure a favorable division of assets, a fair child custody and support order, and ample alimony payments where appropriate.
To speak with an aggressive Las Vegas divorce attorney, call the Law Offices of Karen A. Connolly at (702) 678-6700.