Your Rights in a Nevada Divorce

How Preparation, Legal Consulting, and Mediation Can Help With Your Divorce
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Right to Obtain a Divorce Without Proving Fault

In terms of divorce, Nevada is purely a no-fault divorce state, which means that filing for divorce does not require the person filing to either accuse or prove any sort of wrongdoing. Each spouse can merely state that he and the other spouse no longer get along. This is a major change over the status quo before the implementation of no-fault divorce, when one spouse would have to prove the other spouse was at fault for the failure of the marriage.

Generally speaking, no-fault divorces are granted in situations involving:

  • Incompatibility;
  • Irreconcilable differences;
  • Showing a physical separation of 12 months.

It is helpful to keep in mind that, even in a no-fault system, fault may be considered when determining marital waste or community property.

Right to Have Your Divorce Decided by a Judge

Formal divorce proceedings, otherwise known as contested divorce, occur most often when one or both spouses refuse to cooperate with the other or to compromise on one or more issues, such as alimony or child custody.

All contested divorces in Nevada are decided by a judge; there are no jury trials in a Nevada divorce. The judge in the case determines all questions of law and fact. The judge will grant the divorce if grounds for divorce exist. As noted earlier, neither side has to prove fault, or culpability for anything thought to have caused the dissolution of the marriage. During the proceeding, the judge will make a decision regarding issues child custody, child support, alimony and the division of marital assets. In some cases, the judge may order one spouse to pay the other spouse’s costs, including attorney fees.

Right to the Community Property Being Divided Evenly

Nevada is a community property state, which means any income earned by either spouse during the marriage and any and all property purchased with those earnings, are considered to be marital property, and thus owned equally by both spouses. Therefore, at the time of divorce, the property will be divided equally between the spouses.

While this is true of all marital assets, it is also the case with all marital debts. You split all direct financial contributions to the marriage, but also inheritances, gifts and other indirect financial contributions. The court will consider homemaking, child care, and other contributions made by each spouse and it will always be based on the circumstances present in your family, which will probably be quite unique. In that way, your divorce settlement is your own, and may not be comparable to anyone else’s.

Right to Joint Physical Custody of the Children

You always have a right to joint custody of or reasonable visitation with your child or children.

As is the case in every state these days, Nevada family courts will begin the process of determining child custody beginning with the with the presumption that, following a divorce, it is best for a child to have regular and consistent contact with both parents after a divorce. This means that judges will encourage and support joint custody arrangements to the extent possible.

Right to Adequate Child Support

Regardless of the end result is regarding custody, both parents in a divorce proceeding will be expected and required to support their children. If you have your children for more than 50 percent of the time, or your spouse makes considerably more than you, then you may be entitled to some amount of child support.

The amount of child support you receive will depend on a number of factors, such as:

  • The amount of income of each parent;
  • The additional resources to which each parent has access;
  • How much time each parent spends with the child.

In Nevada, child support is based on a fixed percentage of the non-custodial parent’s gross monthly income.

Right to Stay in the Marital Home

You have the right to remain in the marital residence, unless your spouse first obtains an order from the Court based on a showing of good cause that you should be required to move.  Spouses cannot evict spouses just because their name is on the title or the mortgage.   A court order for “exclusive possession” is required.    This is usually obtained my filing a motion for temporary orders.

Right to Alimony

When the court grants a divorce, it may award alimony to the wife or husband, in a way that is considered both just and equitable. It can be awarded as a specified principal lump sum or it can be awarded specified periodic payments, as appears just and equitable.

In Nevada, there is no special way that alimony/spousal support is calculated, which means the court has the discretion to consider a number of factors, such as these:

  • The relative earning capacity of each spouse;
  • The overall financial condition of each spouse;
  • The possibility that education or training could potentially increase the earning capacity of one spouse or the other;
  • The contribution of each spouse as a homemaker in the marriage;
  • The value of the property owned by each individual spouse (not including child support);
  • The standard of living during the marriage; or
  • The length of the marriage.

Alimony can be awarded on either a temporary or permanent basis. Also, any ex-spouse can, frm time to time, petition the court to either increase or reduce alimony. As it did when you were awarded alimony in the first place, the court will look into the applicant’s needs and the other spouse’s ability to pay.

Right to Rehabilitative Alimony Where Necessary.

When a Nevada Family Court grants a divorce, it will consider the need to grant alimony to one spouse for the purpose of obtaining education or training relating to a better job or career profession with the purpose of equalizing the earning potential of that spouse in relation to the other. As part of this assessment, the court will consider whether the higher earning spouse gained those skills during the marriage, while the other spouse was offering financial or other support. For example, if one spouse put their career on hold to help put the other through law school, the court may determine that rehabilitative alimony is appropriate.

If rehabilitative alimony is awarded, the court will usually make provisions regarding the time allotted to the receiving spouse as to when they should begin their education or training for their chosen  job, career or profession.

The spouse requesting rehabilitative alimony may also be granted money to provide for any of the following:

  • Skills testing and evaluations related to a job, career or profession;
  • Guidance, in the form of a specific plan for training or education relating to a job, career or profession;
  • Subsidization of an employer’s costs relating to the requesting spouse’s training;
  • Payment for tuition, books and fees for a GED, career-related college courses, or courses of training in skills desirable for employment.

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