People who are not from Nevada joke about how easy it can be to 'get married in Vegas'. While there is truth to the speed of marriage adoption, the same is also true for divorce. Many divorces are messy affairs that result in seemingly endless courtroom litigation. For spouses that can resolve their differences before going to court, however, Nevada provides a simplified uncontested divorce process known as a summary divorce.
This article will explain the nature of an uncontested divorce and Nevadaun contested divorce law. If you still have any questions after reading this article or would like to file for an uncontested divorce, you should consult with an experienced divorce attorney.
Uncontested Divorce in Nevada Defined
Like many states, Nevada provides a mechanism for spouses to apply for an uncontested divorce. In Nevada, an uncontested divorce is known as a summary divorce proceeding.1 Legal proceedings that are considered 'summary' proceedings such as eviction are designed to move quickly through the court system and to cut out unnecessary delays. A summary divorce can save you and your spouse considerable money and time compared to filing for normal divorce.
The key hallmark of uncontested divorce in Nevada is agreement. Prior to filing for a summary divorce, the spouses must agree on all aspects of the divorce. Any disagreement between the spouses on any issue will disqualify both spouses from receiving a summary divorce and will require you to apply for a normal divorce.
Requirements for Seeking a Nevada Uncontested Divorce
To file for uncontested divorce in Nevada, the filing spouses must meet certain requirements. Any questions about these requirements can be answered by an experienced Nevadadivorce attorney or family lawyer.
As explained above, the most important requirement is agreement. Under a summary divorce procedure, the agreement must come in the form of a marital settlement agreement between you and your spouse. The settlement agreement should legally resolve, in writing, each issue involved in the divorce. These agreements are discussed in more detail later.
Nevada residents seeking a divorce must also meet the state’s jurisdictional requirement. A spouse seeking to file for a divorce must either have been a resident within the state for at least six weeks or have been actually domiciled within the state before the cause of action accrued.2 Domicile means that the Nevada resident has an intent to remain a citizen of Nevada for the foreseeable future.
Finally, the spouses must satisfy the grounds for seeking a divorce. Nevada recognizes two no-fault grounds: separation for more than a year and incompatibility.3 Both grounds test the same thing, which is whether the marriage is dead or whether it can be revived. The only difference between the two grounds is that spouses that have been separated for more than a year do not have to prove that they are incompatible (the fact that the spouses separated proves incompatibility all on its own).
On Spousal Support and Marital Settlement Agreements
When spouses sit down to discuss the terms of their divorce, it is often beneficial for the spouses to sign a legal marital settlement agreement. A marital settlement agreement is NOT a formal divorce. A marital settlement agreement is a contract between spouses that lays out their agreement and terms of their separation. A fully completed marital settlement agreement can serve as the basis for an uncontested divorce, and may be helpful in filling out the required divorce paperwork. Prior to signing any marital settlement agreement (or any contract with your spouse), you should have an experienced attorney review the terms of the contract for you.
In general, a marital settlement agreement should address each of the following issues:
- Property settlement (dividing the marital property, including the residence, between the spouses);
- Division of the marital debts (known as an assumption of liabilities to the community);
- Spousal support; and
- Attorneys; fees and costs.
Additionally, if the marriage resulted in children and the children are still minors, the agreement MUST also address waiver of the right to receive written notice of the entry of the decree of divorce, right to appeal, right to request findings of fact, and right to move for a new trial; child custody; and child support.
Spouses must also have executed any deeds, certificates of title, bills of sale or other requirements to transfer property BEFORE filing for a summary divorce.
The Process for Filing for an Uncontested Divorce in Nevada
Once you and your spouse have decided to file for an uncontested divorce, the general flow of the process is as follows:
- This step is optional, but you should begin by consulting a family law attorney who can either answer any questions that you may have, or who can help you file your divorce paperwork properly.
- Next, you and your spouse should prepare all of the required paperwork. This includes a legally-binding marital settlement agreement, a joint petition for summary divorce (do not forget to state that you satisfy the jurisdictional requirements and grounds for divorce), and an affidavit swearing to either residency or domicile. For spouses filing for divorce without the assistance of an attorney, the Supreme Court of Nevada provides a compilation of sample divorce forms on its website.4
- Once the paperwork is complete, you will need to determine which court is the appropriate court to file the joint divorce petition in. You must file in the district court of the county in which either spouse lives or the county in which the spouses last resided together as husband and wife.
- Finally, you will need to file the divorce paperwork in court and pay the filing fee. If the paperwork was all filed correctly (the court will work with you if you make mistakes), the court will enter a final judgment on the summary divorce.
Note: This article is not legal advice. Please consult a lawyer for your specific situation.
- Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 125.181 et seq.
- Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 125.020.
- Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 125.010.