A Guide to Getting Divorced in Nevada
This is a complete guide to divorce in Nevada.
In this guide, you’ll get educated on exactly how divorce works in Nevada .
Specifically, we’ll cover the differences between divorce and legal separation, types of divorce, overview of the process, how much it costs, and a whole lot more.
So if you want to make sure you have a lay of the land (and steer clear of the landmines), we’ve got you covered.
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
- The differences between divorce, annulment and separation
- What are the grounds for divorce in Nevada?
- Deciding what kind of divorce you will go through
- The process of filing for divorce
- How to complete proof of service
- Filing for a divorce online
- Filing for divorce in Nevada without using a lawyer
- How much does divorce cost in Nevada?
- How long does it take to get a divorce?
- Should I retain the services of a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst?
- Bifurcation of Marital Status
- Can I cancel, refuse, contest, stop or reverse a divorce in Nevada?
- What is a divorce decree?
- What is a divorce certificate?
- Changing Your Name
- Bonus: Recommended Resources for a Better Divorce
The differences between divorce, annulment and legal separation
Married couples can end their marriages in Nevada by divorce or annulment. Legal separation resolves many of the outstanding issues, but a couple remains married.
Each of these has their own special requirements and rules, and a basic understanding of these options is a good place for you to start.
This requires a lot more than just having a spouse move out of the home. While they may be physically separated, they are not legally separated and there is a big difference.
Legal separation requires the execution of a formal document that indicates couples are able to reach agreement on a division of assets, child custody and support, alimony and other important issues, without having to go through a divorce. Legal separation does the door open to reconciliation, which actually happens in some cases. At other times, a legal separation may go forward and actually become an official divorce.
In addition to giving a couple time to possibly work out their differences, there are also financial benefits to legal separation, such as being able to keep health insurance, or by continuing to file as a married couple on tax returns.
Although they are uncommon, annulments are granted in Nevada. Part of the reason that they are rare is because judges are bound by limited reasons that they can grant an annulment.
Those reasons include:
- The spouses are closely related. Parties cannot be related any closer than second cousins or cousins of the half-blood to marry.
- One person was already married. This kind of marriage is considered “void,” meaning, it was invalid from the start.
- Underage of lack of parental consent. In most cases, a person must be at least 18 years old to get married. Anyone between 16-18 must have at least one parent’s consent to marry, and anyone under the age of 16 must have at least one parent’s consent and a judge’s consent to marry. If a minor gets married without these consents, the marriage can be annulled
- Want of understanding. This is when one of the spouses did not understand what they were doing at the time of the marriage to the point they were incapable of agreeing to the marriage. A marriage can also be annulled if one of the spouses was insane at the time of the marriage but has since regained sanity.
- If one spouse intentionally lied to get the other spouse to marry them, then annulment is a possibility. The lie must be so serious that if the other person knew the truth, the other person would never have gone through with the marriage.
Nevada is a no-fault state, meaning that no proof is required to prove one spouse or the other was at fault before a divorce is granted. Once approved, it is permanent and officially ends a marriage assuming all legal requirements are met.
What are the grounds for divorce in Nevada?
You must cite one of the three grounds for getting a divorce in Nevada:
- Insanity existing for two years prior to the filing for divorce
- Spouses live separate and apart for 1 year without cohabitating
In an uncontested divorce, which is also known as a summary divorce, you and your spouse agree on all the divorce-related issues and present a written agreement to the court for approval. There are certain requirements you must meet before the judge approves your request:
- Both spouses agree that they are incompatible, or that they have lived separate and apart for at least one year
- The spouses do not have any children resulting from the marriage, or if there are minor children, both agree to custody issues, child support and visitation
- The couple doesn’t have any community property, or if they do, they decide will decide how to divide itafter the divorce
- Both spouses agree to waive alimony, or they agree to the terms of alimony in their proposed settlement
- Each spouse waives their rights to a trial
- Both spouses request that the judge terminate the marriage
What kind of divorce is right for you?
You have several options you can pursue in Nevada if you are contemplating a divorce. How you proceed will, in large part, depend on the dynamics of your relationship with your spouse and your goals.
Once you have made the decision to divorce, determining what type of divorce you will pursue in Nevada is the most important thing you will decide. This is because the nature of the divorce sets the framework for how the divorce will play out.
Before we list some of the different kinds of divorce, there’s one thing that I hope you’ll bear in mind:
One type of divorce is not “better” than another. Divorce is not one size fits all.
Here are the types of divorce:
Do-It-Yourself Divorce: What I like to call the kitchen table divorce. This one is pretty straight forward. You don’t hire any professionals and attempt to resolve all your differences with your spouse. The biggest downside is you don’t know what you don’t know. I’d steer clear of this approach unless you don’t have kids or any money.
Online Divorce: A far superior choice to DIY divorce. Navigating the divorce process and legal procedures can be a minefield. A good online divorce platform removes the guesswork. Through guided interviews, you’ll complete the forms while getting educated on the key legal issues in the process. This can be a great option if you have a relatively straightforward situation and you’re on the same page with your spouse.
Litigation: The default option and also the most expensive. If you and your spouse can’t agree on one of the other options, then you’re headed for litigation. Litigation is an attorney-driven process. While the majority of cases settle before going to trial, that doesn’t mean litigation won’t wreak havoc on you and your kids.
Sometimes, however, it’s the only viable option. If your spouse has a high-conflict personality (narcissist, borderline, etc.) or there is domestic violence, litigation might be your only option. It’s also the right choice if your primary objective is to punish your spouse. As tempting as that might be, I encourage you to think about the big picture.
Mediation: With mediation, you and your spouse retain a neutral professional (typically an attorney) to help facilitate agreement. The mediator will help you brainstorm options, understand each other’s perspectives, and make compromises to reach a resolution that you and your spouse can both live with.
Collaborative Divorce: Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t just mean that you and your spouse are going to work out your divorce “collaboratively.” There’s much more to it. Collaborative divorce is a structured process that takes a team approach. Divorce is much more than a legal process. It’s about money, kids, and emotions. That’s why a Collaborative team includes collaborative lawyers, a divorce coach, and a neutral financial specialist.
Unlike any other process, everyone commits not to go to court. The idea is that this removes the threat of litigation which fosters creative solutions and interest-based negotiation. It’s far and away the most supportive type of divorce.
Learn More: I’ve really just scratched the surface on the types of divorce. For a deep dive into the pros and cons of these options, be sure to check out our guide on the types of divorce.
The process of filing for divorce in Nevada
Although there are many different kinds of divorce in Nevada, the basic process of filing for divorce is the same no matter what type of divorce you choose.
Gather important information. Save time, money and stress in your divorce by approaching this step in a timely and thorough way. It will take time to pull together your information, but it is vital that you do this without cutting corners.
It’s the best way to make sure your rights are protected and to give yourself the possibility of achieving the best possible financial settlement with your spouse.
Before you jump in to collecting financial information, take the following steps:
- Open a new checking and savings account in your name alone.
- Open a credit card in your name alone.
- Order a free credit report.
- Make a list of all the assets and liabilities that you’re aware of. Include any memberships, reward points, and other perks that may be considered as assets.
If you’re in the dark about your finances, that’s okay. You and your spouse will be required to complete financial affidavits as part of the divorce process. The goal at this point is simply to begin identifying the puzzle pieces.
Okay, now it’s time to start gathering your information. Here’s a short-list of what you need:
- Tax returns (including W-2’s, K-1’s, and 1099’s) for the last 5 years
- Pay stubs for the last 3 months
- Bank statements
- Credit card statements
- Retirement account statements
- Pension plan statements
- Grant notice for stock options, RSUs, etc.
- Investment account statements
- Life insurance policies
- Mortgage statements
- Real estate appraisals
- Deeds to real estate
- Car registration
- Kelley Blue Book printouts (“private party value”)
- Car loan statements
- Social security benefit statement
Complete your paperwork. To start a divorce on your own, you will need to complete all of the following paperwork and submit it to the court. When you file, you are the Plaintiff and your spouse is the Defendant.
- Civil Cover Sheet (pdf fillable)
- Summons (pdf fillable)
- Complaint for Divorce – No Children (pdf fillable)
The Complaint form will cover several things, including:
- What kind of child custody / visitation schedule you would like (if there are children)
- How much child support should be ordered (if there are children)
- How you would like to divide the property and debts
- If alimony should be ordered
- If you want to have a former name restored
File your forms. After you complete your paperwork, you must file them with the district court in your county. For locations of Nevada courts, go here.
You will need to pay a filing fee which varies by county. If you can’t afford the filing fee, it may be possible to have it waived through a request to the court.
How to complete proof of service
After you file your forms with the court, you must serve these documents within 120 days of filing or your case will be dismissed.
Papers must be served by someone who is at least 18 years old and not a party in the divorce. This means family members and boyfriends or girlfriends cannot serve paperwork.
You can ask a neutral person to complete proof of service or pay and fee and have a sheriff or a private process server to hand deliver the documents. A spouse can be served at home, at work or anywhere else they can be found.
When service has been completed, the server must file an Affidavit of Service that details when and where the paperwork was served. A copy of the form can be found here.
If you have made several attempts to complete proof of service without avail, then you can file an Affidavit of Due Diligence and request permission to serve your spouse by publishing the summons in a local newspaper and by mailing a copy of the summons to the spouse’s last known address. To do so, you will need to complete an Order to Serve by Publication.
Once approved by the judge, you will need to contact a local newspaper and run a summons for four consecutive weeks. Upon completion, you will then file an Affidavit of Publication with the court.
Filing for a divorce online
If you and your spouse agree on all the issues of your divorce and file a Joint Petition with the court, you will still have to file the paperwork in person. However, you probably will not have to appear in court to obtain your divorce if you meet the following conditions:
- The legal custody, physical custody, and visitation schedule for any minor children
- Who will pay how much in child support
- Who will provide health insurance for the children
- How to divide the property
- How to divide the debts
- Whether one spouse will receive alimony and if so, how much and for how long
- Whether either spouse wants to return to a former or maiden name
That said, much of the initial paperwork can be filled out with the help of an online service. Our favorite resource for a fast and effective online divorce is: 3 Step Divorce.
3 Step Divorce checks all the boxes that make an online divorce worthwhile.
They aim to make it easy – and they certainly deliver.
From step-by-step instructions to unlimited live support, here are just a few of the reasons why 3 Step is our #1 recommended online divorce resource:
- $299 flat-fee with no hidden charges
- Monthly payment options as low as $84/mo
- Initial questionnaire takes less than 1 hour
- Library of free tools and resources
- Unlimited access to support agents by phone or email
- Immediate access to completed forms
- Assurance of 100% court-approval (or your money back!)
3 Step Divorce also boasts the highest customer rating in the industry (4.6 stars based on 1,575 reviews).
You can learn more by reading our 3StepDivorce review.
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Filing for divorce in Nevada without using a lawyer
You are not required to use a lawyer to assist you with your divorce in Nevada. If your divorce is simple and straightforward, you may be able to complete a divorce on your own.
But if there are any contested issues or complexities that could cause problems if not handled the right way, it is a smart move to retain professional legal counsel.
How much does divorce cost?
The filing fee is $326 for a Joint Petition and $364 for a Complaint. These fees may change periodically and it is best to check with the courthouse in your county to make sure of what the exact fees are.
If costs are an issue for you, it may be possible to seek a fee waiver.
How long does it take to get a divorce in Nevada?
It depends on the circumstances of your divorce.
If both parties sign the documents in a Joint Petition, it takes about 1-3 weeks for a divorce to be granted. When a Complaint is filed by only one party, it takes 6-8 weeks when the Defendant can be served in person, and approximately 16-18 weeks when the Defendant must be served by Publication.
In contested divorces, especially those where there are many debts or assets to unwind, or if there are major child custody challenges to negotiate, a divorce may take as long as one to two years to complete.
The only other consideration that might delay the finalization of a divorce is the state’s residency requirement. You must live in Nevada for at least six weeks before you are eligible to divorce. If a Complaint is filed, then the plaintiff must be a resident. If a Joint Petition is filed, then only one of the spouses need to be a Nevada resident.
Should I work with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst?
Divorcing spouses in Nevada often retain a family law attorney to help them through the process. In simple cases, an attorney may be equipped to handle all aspects of the divorce, including the finances.
But if you have a degree of complexity to your financial situation, you might benefit from working with a divorce financial planning expert.
The best professional to help in these situations is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA), and preferably someone who is also a Certified Financial Planner (CFP).
A CDFA has specialized training in the financial and tax implications of divorce and can work with you to help you understand the pros and cons of your options.
Bifurcation of marital status in Nevada
Bifurcation is allowed in Nevada and means that both parties in a divorce can legally declared as a single person while issues such as a division of assets, child custody, visitation, child support, alimony and so forth are worked out at a later date.
Some courts in Nevada are reluctant to grant a bifurcated divorce since this means that there would be two proceedings instead of one and it may cause the divorce to drag on longer than it otherwise normally would.
Can I cancel, refuse, contest, stop or reverse a divorce in Nevada?
No. If somebody wants to get a divorce from you, it may be possible to delay the process to some degree but ultimately a divorce will be granted once all issues are resolved.
What is a divorce decree?
When all the issues have been decided and a judge approves of the terms of the settlement, a Decree of Divorce will be issued. It must be signed by a judge and filed with the Clerk of the Court to be valid.
A Decree of Divorce provides detailed directions on the financial responsibilities and a division of assets for each spouse as well as child custody, visitation, alimony, child support and other similar issues.
It is a legally binding document, and if either party does not meet the terms of the decree, the other party can take legal action to correct any deficiencies.
What is proof of divorce?
A proof of divorce record provides much less detail than a decree, showing only minimal information, such as the names of both spouses and the date and place a divorce was granted.
It serves as proof of divorce for many legal purposes such as when a person wants to change the name on any state issued documents, or as proof that the person legally has the right to get married again.
Changing Your Name
As you prepare your divorce forms, you will be able to choose to either restore your former name or request a court order for changing names.
The name change will be granted as part of your divorce. You may either receive a separate court order making your name change official, or else have your name change recorded on the final divorce decree. Either of these documents are accepted with all US agencies and organizations as evidence of your name change.
Your name change will not take effect just because you have a court order. You need to contact all your organizations to request your records are updated.
It’s a long process to contact each company and figure out what to send where. To lighten the load, we recommend using an Easy Name Change kit to prevent the 10+ hours of paperwork and research that you would have to do by yourself.
Recommended Divorce Resources
There are a TON of divorce resources online that make big promises. Most of them don’t meet our expectations. We found the few that do.
These are the tools and resources we’re excited to share with you because we know they can help you have a better divorce.
If you’re looking for recommendations in any of the following areas, we’ve got you covered:
- Online divorce
- QDRO preparation to divide retirement plans and pensions
- Masterclass on ninja tricks to negotiating with a narcissist
- Co-parenting apps
- Personal finance and budgeting apps
- Best place to sell your engagement ring
- And a whole lot more