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Nevada is a no fault divorce state. Unlike in some states, there is no waiting period. Although a spouse cannot contest the actual dissolution of a marriage, he or she can contest the terms of the divorce such as child custody and support, the division of the marital estate, spousal support, and alimony.
Laws relative to Dissolution of marriage are set forth in NRS 125
Residency Requirements for Divorce in Nevada
In order to petition a Nevada court for a divorce, one or both spouses must be a resident of Nevada for at least six weeks prior to the date of filing for divorce, or, have been married in Nevada. 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.
Property Division in Nevada
Nevada is a community property state. This means that, generally speaking, property purchased and debts incurred during the marriage are community, so they belong to both spouses. Likewise, any income earned by either spouse during the marriage belongs to the community. During a divorce, community assets, debt, and/or property are typically divided equally between the spouses. Rights of married couples can be found in NRS 123.
Nevada courts have discretion to order an unequal distribution of community property if doing so is fair and equitable. For instance, this may occur when one spouse has engaged in marital waste during the marriage such as by wasting community funds on gambling or drugs.
If a valid prenuptial agreement was executed prior to the marriage, this will impact whether or not assets, debts and income earned during the marriage belong to the community. Also inheritance and assets purchased prior to marriage may not be considered community property.
An experienced divorce lawyer is needed to assist you with your divorce.
Factors which are considered relative to spousal support are set forth in NRS 125.150.
In Nevada, there is no formula for calculating spousal support, otherwise known as alimony. This makes spousal support awards very unpredictable. If the parties cannot reach an agreement on alimony, the issue will proceed to trial and the judge will decide. The absence of any kind of formula makes the issue of spousal support a difficult one to settle but also a risky one to take to trial.
There are three (3) different kinds of Spousal Support in Nevada:
1. Temporary Spousal Support: As a divorce proceeds, the spouse with the lower income may be entitled to temporary alimony, maintenance or financial assistance during the divorce process.
2. Post Divorce, “rehabilitative alimony”: This is for the support and maintenance of a spouse to enable that spouse to obtain training, education related to work or a profession. The court will consider if the payer spouse obtained enhanced job skills, or education during the marriage and whether the recipient spouse, assisted while those avenues were pursued. An award or rehabilitative alimony is not permanent.
3. Post Divorce alimony: May be for a specific period of time or permanent. The court must take a number of factors into consideration when determining an appropriate award of alimony. Those factors include but are not limited to: length of marriage; financial condition of the parties; value of their respective properties; health of both parties; earning ability; and education.
Lump sum alimony is also a viable alternative to making monthly payments over a period of time. An advantage of lump sum alimony that it is non modifiable. All other alimony awards remain modifiable or adjustable if there is a change in circumstance during the duration of the alimony award. Generally a change in circumstances is considered to be a twenty percent (20%) change in the payer or recipient’s income. In Nevada, alimony cannot be modified following the end of the ordered term. Alimony generally terminates upon remarriage of a recipient spouse, although you can agree to alow it to continue after remarriage NRS 125.150.
Child Custody and Visitation laws are set forth in NRS 125C.
There are two aspects of custody: “legal custody” and “physical custody.” In almost all cases, absent extraordinary circumstances, parents will share joint legal custody of their children. This means that the parents jointly make parenting decisions. The other aspect of custody known as “physical custody” pertains to where the children will reside.
The children may reside with one parent primarily or with both parents jointly. A “joint physical custody” time share is considered to be a any timeshare between 60% and 40%. In order to have “joint physical custody” the children must be in the custody of a parent at least 146 days a year.
In Nevada joint physical custody is presumed to be in the best interests of children. The court can award primary custody to one parent if the court determines that joint physical custody is not in the best interests of a child. For more information, see NRS 125C.003. Factors the court must consider in determining the best interests of a child are set forth in NRS 125C.0035.
Preference will not be given to either parent based on gender.
Issues pertaining to child custody can be highly emotional and contentious. This is one of the many reasons why it is important to hire a divorce lawyer who will not only fight for you and your family but also keep you grounded.
Child Custody Process
It is always best for parents to try to resolve their custody issues; they know what is best for their children. If parents cannot reach an agreement on custody or visitation, they are required to participate in mediation at the Family Mediation Center “FMC”. If the parties reach an agreement on custody and/or visitation during mediation, the agreement is memorialized in a Parenting Plan.
Child support and other financial matters are ordinarily not discussed during this mediation process. Parties are free to utilize a private mediator to address all issues should they so desire. If all else fails, it is the judge who is ultimately charged with making a custody/visitation decision which will serve the best interests of the children. The judge has the option to order a child custody evaluation to address the strengths and weakness of each parent and to address any other issues of concern.
If either parent has engaged in domestic violence, and it can be proven by clear and convincing evidence, it is presumed, under the law, that said parent should not be awarded custody.
In some cases, the judge may order an FMC specialist to interview the children. A few judges may even speak with the children directly; however, whether or not the children have any input is generally within the discretion of the individual judge. Teenage children are far more likely to have input than are younger children.
There may come a time when a child custody order needs to be modified for a variety of reasons. In Las Vegas, Nevada, if parents share joint legal and joint physical custody, the custody arrangement can be modified if doing so is in the “best interests” of the children. However, if the parents share joint legal custody and one parent has primary physical custody, a modification can be granted only if the non-custodial parent can prove two things:
1. There has been a “substantial change in circumstances;" and
2. A change will be in the “best interests of the children.”
If after a custody determination has been made, one parent decides he/she wants to move out of state with the children, written permission from the other parent, or, permission from the court is required.
Codified laws related to relocation can be found at NRS 125C.006-007
Third party/grandparent Visitation
Nevada law provides that in certain circumstances, third parties may petition for custody and /or visitation with children. Grandparents also have rights under Nevada law.
If you are fighting for custody, or visitation, or considering modifying a current custody order, or are unhappy with your current order, you should seek immediate legal advice. For favorable results, you need a Las Vegas Child Custody Attorney with over 20 years of successful litigation experience.
Codified laws related to Grandparent/Third Party visitation can be found at NRS 125.050
Child support is designed to cover some of the expenses related to rearing children. In Las Vegas, child support obligations are calculated based upon a formula set forth in Nevada Administrative Code, Chapter 425.
These statutes and Nevada case law establish not only who will pay child support, but also the amount to be paid. Absent special circumstances, child support continues until a child reaches the age of 18, or 19, if still in high school.
In cases where parents share joint physical custody, the spouse with the greater income may still be required to pay some child support to the other parent. The costs of medical insurance and medical expenses are not included in the child support calculation. They are considered to be a separate obligation.
Child support can be modified every three (3) years, or any time there has been substantial changes in circumstances. Child support can also be awarded retroactively for up to four years.
Enforcing Clark County Child Support
If you have already been granted child support and are not receiving it, you can take legal action to enforce payment of child support. With the help of a child support attorney you will be able to collect back and future child support payments. Unpaid child support accumulates penalties and interest.
Domestic Partnerships are addressed in NRS 122A.
As of October 1, 2009 citizens of Nevada can file for a domestic partnership.
The Senate Bill describes domestic partnerships as civil or domestic partnerships granted, “the same rights, protections, benefits, responsibilities, obligations and duties,” that any other civil union has always stood for. Therefore, if you are in a domestic partnership and no longer want to be, it’s very important that you take the proper steps to legally remove yourself from the relationship.
A domestic partnership is a civil contract granting domestic partners the same rights, protections, benefits, responsibilities, obligations and duties as partners in any other civil contract. Couples of any sexual orientation can enter into a domestic partnership, so long as they are 18 years or older, unmarried, non-blood relatives, and share a common residence. Once couples in a domestic partnership are registered, they are extended rights similar to those afforded married couples.
Issues often arise that cause a need to terminate a domestic partnership. Appealing a domestic partnership can be similar to divorce as relationships often include children, assets, businesses, and many other in-depth figures that need the utmost care to produce the best solution. Understanding both traditional and non-traditional life styles enables Karen Connolly to seek the best outcome for you and your loved ones.
Annulment in Nevada
Annulments are addressed in NRS 125.290-380.
To file for an annulment in Las Vegas, one partner must reside in the State of Nevada, or the wedding ceremony must have taken place within the State. There are no time limits on filing for an annulment; at any time during a marriage one or both partners can request an annulment. If granted, property accumulated during the joint relationship will be divided; child support and custody will also be resolved by agreement of the parties or by the court. A couple can either agree to an annulment, or the Court can grant one after a hearing. An annulment is the exception, not the norm. If the judge will not grant an annulment, a divorce will be granted, if requested.