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A primer on Nevada's divorce laws


Nevada family law addresses many issues associated with ending a marriage. Any married spouse who has been a resident and present in this state and who intends to stay indefinitely or has no immediate plans to move to another state may divorce.

Nevada has few grounds for divorce. These include incompatibility, insanity for two years before the action, and living separately for over one year. It is not necessary to charge adultery, mental cruelty, or similar grounds.

Courts may decide numerous issues in a divorce proceeding. These matters may include property division, division of debts, child custody matters such as legal custody and time-sharing, child support, and alimony. The court may be limited to deciding issues such as marital status and child custody and property in the state if one of the spouses does not live in Nevada, makes a legal appearance in the action, and does not have significant contacts with the state.

Spouses can agree to divide property and debts if the agreement is placed in writing and approved by the court. Otherwise, the court will equally divide the couple's community property unless there are compelling reasons to for unequal division. Each spouse may keep their separate property owned before marriage, received by gift or inheritance, or awarded in a personal injury action. The court may return separate property to one of the spouses that was invested in community property if it is clearly identified.

Spouses can also agree on child custody issues such as weekly time sharing, holidays and vacations. These agreements, too, must be placed in writing and approved by the court.

Child support payments are determined on a percentage basis in accordance with the time a parent has custody of the child. Separate calculations govern a parent having primary physical or over 60 percent custody and joint physical custody between 40 to 60 percent of the time. A child support order may be modified every three years or sooner if circumstances change significantly since the order was initially issued.

For alimony, Nevada does not utilize percentages as guidance. Courts consider 11 factors when ruling on the length and amount of this support. While a case is pending, a court may order temporary spousal support.

Spouses considering divorce may face many of these issues. An attorney can help a spouse seek a fair and just settlement or decree.

Source: State Bar of Nevada, "Informational Brochure-Divorce," Accessed April 9, 2017

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