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Nevada Property Division
Property Distribution Laws in Nevada
In Nevada the courts generally accept a fair and reasonable property division the parties agree to, but if the parties cannot agree, the property is divided by the District Court within the Judgment of Divorce.
Nevada is a community property state, organized on the dual property model. All property and debt acquired from the date of marriage until the marital cut-off date is community property, which the court divides when the spouses cannot.
Any property held in joint tenancy is community property. When one spouse makes a contribution of separate property to the acquisition or improvement of community property, the court may reimburse that party.
Factors in Equitable Distribution
According to Nevada Statutes - Chapter 125 - Sections: 150, in determining reimbursement for separate property the court considers:
Marital Property vs. Separate Property
Since Nevada is a community property state, the court divides all marital property in a 50-50 fashion according to the court unless the spouses agree otherwise.
Community property division means that everything that is “in the pot” is cut in half. Obviously this does not entail splitting a car in half so to speak; rather each spouse receives assets of equal value.
Valuing and Dividing Property
First, the court classifies assets and liabilities, property and debt, as marital or separate. Then it assigns a monetary value to the marital property and debt. Finally, it distributes the marital assets between the two parties in according to the protocols of community property division.
The Marital Home
In Nevada, as in many jurisdictions, the equity in the marital home is often one of the biggest assets the spouses divide. The equity is the market value of the house, less any debts or liens against it. Equity is established by determining what the current market value of the home is at the time of separation. Once the spouses agree to a current market value, any debts associated with the property (mortgage, taxes, home equity loans, etc.) from are deducted the market value to arrive at the equity to be divided. Normally, making this calculation requires a paid real estate appraisal or a real estate agent can prepare a market analysis for free.
From there, couples choose one of three options to divide the equity:
Pensions and Retirement Accounts
In Nevada vested pensions are marital property. A pension vests when all the requirements to receive the pension have been met. Unvested pensions are also marital property. Until the pension has vested, the person under whom the pension is maintained has only an expectancy of interest in the pension.
Several different methods of valuation are used in determining how much a marital asset is worth, depending upon the asset to be valued and the level of agreement between the parties. Courts generally accept the value when the spouses mutually agree on a value of a particular asset. Experts may be retained by the parties or by the courts to determine the value of marital assets if the parties cannot agree. Such experts may include accountants, real estate or business appraisers, or pension valuators. The use of experts adds to the cost of the divorce.
In Nevada the court may include the retirement benefits and plans earned by both spouses as marital assets available for division. Retirement benefits vary greatly but can generally be divided into two groups:
In Nevada if spouses share in each other’s retirement or pension plan, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order must be completed. A QDRO is a written set of instructions that explains to a plan administrator that two parties are dividing pension benefits. The instructions set forth the terms and conditions of the distribution - how much of the benefits are to be paid to each party, when such benefits can be paid, and how such benefits should be paid.
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