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Nevada Divorce Process
Preparing the Divorce Papers
There are three routes to divorce in Nevada. When both spouses agree on all the issues - the terms and conditions of property division, child custody and support - they can file a Joint Petition. In a joint petition, the spouses complete the following documents: Decree of Divorce (original and 3 copies); Affidavit of Resident Witness; Certificate of Service or Waiver, and Child Welfare and Identification Sheet (if there are minor children).
Sometimes, however, spouses cannot agree, so one must file a regular Complaint for Divorce. That means, in addition to the documents above, if the spouses cannot agree and one files a complaint, the plaintiff must also file a Summons.
Depending on the issues and details of the case, the filing county might require additional documents, including a Family Court Cover Sheet and Joint Preliminary Injunction.
Nevada also offers a third type of divorce known as a summary divorce or "summary default divorce by affidavit," which is by far the fastest, most inexpensive form of divorce. To qualify, both spouses must be in complete agreement regarding all issues. Both sides must also waive their right to spousal support or agree to an amount in writing. Both must also forego the right to appeal, the right to a new trial, and the right to receive notice of the final decree of divorce.
To file a summary divorce, a party must file a special kind of affidavit with the court and attach a copy of the settlement agreement. The court grants the divorce without a hearing if it accepts the affidavit and approves the settlement agreement.
The affidavit states at least one spouse satisfies the residency requirements; asserts that the information contained in the affidavit is true and the facts stated in the affidavit are admissible in court and the affidavit contains factual support for each allegation, and that the party is competent to sign the affidavit.
Filing the Paperwork with the Court
A party files the appropriate form with the clerk of court's office in the county of filing. Each county requires a different number of copies, but a party should keep at least one copy.
Serving the Documents
The plaintiff must serve the documents on the defendant, which can be accomplished through a third-party process server, sheriff's service, or mail.
In the event the defendant is missing or cannot be found, the plaintiff can also publish notice in a local newspaper as a last resort, however, the plaintiff must be able to show the court that a good faith effort was made to locate the missing person.
Disclosing Financial Information
In Nevada, anyone filing an action for divorce, annulment, custody, or separate maintenance must file a Financial Disclosure Form, which lists the party’s assets and debts. The form must be filed within 45 after service of the original Complaint and served on the other party.
Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce
Upon receipt of the documents, the defendant has 20 days to file one of the following responses:
If the spouses reach an agreement before the case moves forward, the plaintiff files a settlement agreement and presents it to the court. In most cases, divorcing couples prefer dividing their property instead of having a judge decide. Settlement typically saves money and allows the plaintiff and the defendant more control over the case.
Finalizing the Divorce
After the papers are filed with the court it normally takes 1-2 weeks for an uncontested divorce. For a Complaint for divorce if the other party is personally served it normally takes 6 weeks.
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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