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Divorce, is sometimes a necessary and only solution to marital discord and it is sad but true. The following are commonly asked questions regarding divorce in Nevada and answers.
Q.: What are the grounds for divorce in Nevada?
A.: In Nevada it is usually irreconcilable differences, but insanity for two years prior to the action, and spouses living separate and apart for more than one year are also used. Currently in Nevada adultery, mental cruelty and other grounds for divorce under a fault-based system are not needed for purposes of dissolving a marriage in Nevada.
Q.: What are the residence requirement necessary before filing a divorce suit?
A.: Six weeks residency in the state and a Resident Witness that you have know for at least four (4) months that can attest to your presence in the state for all of the six-week period. The petitioner’s affidavit states that you intend to make Nevada your home for the foreseeable future.
Q.: In a divorce case, what kinds of things will the court decide?
A.: When filing a Joint Petition by Summary you usually do not have a Court Hearing per se so you can state conditions as you wish providing they adhere to state law. They will always make a decision on the marital status unless the case is withdrawn. If there is property held by the husband and the wife, the court will decide on the division of any property held in common (community property or joint tenancy property) and will determine what property is the separate property of the husband or the wife.
The Court will determine whether either spouse will receive an award of support (alimony) from the other spouse. If there are children of the marriage, the court will determine which spouse will have visitation rights and which spouse will make child support payments.
It is possible to simply dissolve the marriage, but some courts will make a determination of property rights, eventually. For example, some persons from out of state will establish residency in Nevada in order to dissolve a marriage but property held outside the state of Nevada would be subject to jurisdiction in Nevada’s courts.
Q.: When the court divides community property and/or joint tenancy property must it be a 50-50 split?
A.: The division may be 50-50. But the court has the discretion to make an equitable apportionment of the community property and/or joint tenancy property.
Q.: How else can property be divided?
A.: Sometimes community property debts equal more than community property assets, or one spouse gets an entire asset, such as a house or car that cannot be easily split. In such cases, one spouse’s separate property may be applied to pay community property debts, or to even out an otherwise uneven split of community property.
Q.: Can a husband and wife agree on how to divide their property?
A.: Yes, provided that the agreement is written and is approved by a court in the divorce proceeding. Provision must be made for child support if there are any minor children and payment of debts.
Q.: If the couple signed a prenuptial agreement before the marriage, can it be enforced?
A.: A prenuptial agreement for support and division of property may or may not be upheld, depending upon the circumstances. Bother prospective spouses should seek legal counsel before signing such an agreement.
Q.: What provision does Nevada make for child support payments?
A.: Ordinarily, the spouse who has primary custody of the child/ren will receive child support payments from the non-custodial spouse. There are guidelines under state law for the amounts of child support to be paid, with $100 per child being the minimum and $500 per child being the maximum, unless the court has good reason to deviate from the formula.
Q.: What is the basis for a child custody determination by the court?
A.: First and foremost, the best interests of the child, taking in to account the ability of each spouse to raise the child/ren, what would be the most stable environment for the child/ren, available financial resources for the child’s support and other factors. The respective spouses may be required to submit to an evaluation by officers of the court to determine there factors.
Q.: Is it required to give the non-custodial parent visitation rights?
A.: Yes, unless there exists a Court Order that the non-custodial parent cannot have contact with the child/ren, or the non-custodial parent’s rights have been terminated. Not only must visitation rights be given, they must be spelled out very specifically as what days, pick up and drop off times, pick up and drop off places, arrangements for holidays, birthdays, and vacations.
Q.: What is the cost of filing a divorce petition or complaint?
A.: Each county differs but currently in Nye County it is $135 which is to be paid in cash at the time of filing. In Clark County the fee is $147(effective 10/1/97). Unless you are petitioning the court to forgive the fee (known as an EX PARTE MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS. Check for the procedure/s with the county you reside in.
Q.: Can a request for fee waiver be made by the Petitioner and/or Plaintiff?
A.: Yes, there are specific forms to file to motion the court to forgive the filing fee. The motion is an EXPARTE MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS. A signed and notarized financial affidavit is required showing income and debts. The final decision is in the hands of the court so do not leave anything out.
Q.: When there are children involved is there any requirements for counseling?
A.: Currently, in Clark County couples are required to attend divorce counseling sessions. Nye County does not require this. Although it is wise to check with your respective county offices.
Q.: Do I need an attorney to initiate proceedings?
A.: Although, it is always wise to seek professional counsel one may file what is known as Pro Se or Proper Person and represent yourself in court. There are legal kits available for some divorce proceedings.
Q.: Do we have to appear in court?
A.: With a Joint Petition by Summary procedure you are not required to appear. You may either petition the court for judgment and unless there are extenuating circumstances you will most likely not have to appear.
Q.: What data is required for completion of divorce documents?
A.: Legal Names (all parties concerned) , the Social Security Numbers (all parties), Dates of Birth (all parties concerned), Addresses; Phone; Driver Licenses Numbers, Resident Witness Information such as name, address, date moved to Nevada and date met Petitioner, Financial Information for support, Company names, Amounts and who will pay.; Property-personal and real and who is getting what, Vehicle Make, Model, VIN and who is keeping what; and Custody & Visitation Schedule.(if applicable).
The court may award alimony to either spouse. A spouse seeking to obtain alimony must specifically request it in the complaint. In determining the need, duration and amount of maintenance, the court considers the faults and merits of each spouse (Nevada is one of only a few states that consider the misconduct of a spouse), the financial condition of each spouse after the divorce, the actual ownership of property being used for spousal support, the need of support for schooling, training or education in order to get a job, career, or profession, and the career enhancements obtained during the marriage as a result of efforts by the spouse requesting support.
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