Nevada is well-known for the ease with which you can get married – and divorced.
The state’s laws concerning marriage and divorce are certainly less restrictive than in most other states but there are still rules to follow.
Some people make bad decisions in the heat of the moment and want to reverse or annul a decision to get married. Other couples find out after a while that they are no longer compatible and decide to file for divorce.
But what is the waiting period for divorce in Nevada? Are there residency requirements to abide by? How soon can you divorce in Nevada?
When marriages go wrong…
Marriages fail everywhere but the laws concerning the ending of a marriage differ from state to state.
In Nevada, there are certain legal requirements for ending a marriage. Firstly, we are a no-fault state, meaning that neither spouse needs to prove that the other was at fault to file for divorce. Citing irreconcilable differences is reason enough for a divorce to be approved.
As part of the divorce process, you will need to specify one of the following grounds on your application for divorce:
- Incompatibility: you and your spouse can no longer live together
- Separation: you and your spouse no longer live together and have resided in separate homes for a year or more, or
- Insanity: your spouse has been insane for at least two years before you filed for divorce
The first reason (incompatibility) is the most commonly cited one.
As well as valid grounds, you must meet the basic residency requirement for divorce in Nevada. You or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for more than six weeks and intend to reside here indefinitely. Residency begins on the first day that you are in Nevada.
This residency requirement was lowered almost 100 years ago by the Nevada Legislature as a way to attract more people (and revenue) to the state. It worked and Nevada retains its reputation as the place to get a quick divorce even today.
Providing you satisfy the residency requirement and have valid grounds, you can file for divorce in Nevada. However, you will need to complete the correct paperwork, including having a witness sign an affidavit stating that you have been a resident of Nevada for the past six weeks.
Slightly different rules apply if you have children. For the courts to have jurisdiction over child custody in Nevada, your children must have been residents of the state for at least six months prior to the filing for divorce.
To terminate a registered domestic partnership in Nevada, the laws are very similar to those for divorce but the process is sometimes a little simpler.
You can file for divorce in the district court in the county where you or your spouse lives – check with the local county exactly what you need before filing.
How long until you can complete a divorce in Nevada?
If you’re planning a divorce in Nevada, the good news is that providing you meet the above requirements, the divorce process here is much faster than in other states.
Some states impose a mandatory waiting period to allow for a possible reconciliation between spouses. In Nevada, no such waiting period applies.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that your divorce can be finalized immediately. In most cases, major issues must be agreed upon between spouses, including marital property and debt division, and spousal support. If there are children from the marriage, this adds complexity due to custody and child support requirements.
For lengthy marriages especially, the key issues can be tough to resolve and the process for doing so may delay the divorce. The judge will want to see a separation agreement that resolves all issues between you and your spouse before signing the final divorce decree.
You and your spouse may be able to talk these issues through, come to an agreement, and file a joint petition for divorce. Your divorce will then be granted without a hearing and be relatively quick.
Otherwise, there are dispute resolution methods like collaboration/negotiation between lawyers or mediation that can help you reach a resolution. In such cases, the mediator helps you prepare a marital settlement agreement and a judge will only need to review it to make sure that it’s fair and (if applicable) in a child’s best interests before granting the divorce.
The final option is litigation. A court trial will severely delay your divorce – by months or even over a year in extreme cases. Judges in Nevada will not generally schedule a divorce trial until you and your spouse have tried alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation.
According to Nevada laws, all property accumulated by a married couple is community property, meaning that it will be likely be divided into equal halves between you and your spouse. This is a simpler resolution than in many other states.
Is there anything you can do to help move things along?
Generally speaking, cooperation between spouses is key to a quick divorce.
The quickest divorces are those with few assets, no children and both parties agree on all aspects of the separation. Uncontested divorces can move very quickly through the Nevada court system.
For lengthy marriages, where there are children, property division issues, considerable assets, support issues, and a lack of cooperation between the spouses, the process can take much longer.
Get the help of an experienced Las Vegas divorce lawyer
Filing for divorce in Nevada is never easy but it does not have to be a long, painful, and expensive process.
An experienced divorce lawyer can help you resolve your divorce issues quickly and complete the relevant paperwork so that there are no delays.