The State of Nevada Requirements for Divorce

By Beverly Bird

Las Vegas is famous for its wedding chapels, but how easy is it to undo the deed there once it’s been done? Nevada is one of our more relaxed states when it comes to marriage dissolution, although that’s not to say that certain criteria must not be met.

Residency Requirements

If you’re the plaintiff (the instigator of the action) and you’ve lived in Nevada for six weeks, the state has jurisdiction. But a particular county must also have jurisdiction and receive a verified complaint for divorce. The cause of action (the reason you seek a divorce) must have occurred in the county you’re filing in. Otherwise, the defendant (the one receiving the complaint) or the plaintiff must currently be a resident of the filing county. Most often, divorce is filed in the county in which the plaintiff resides.

Grounds for Filing

Unless you and your spouse are in agreement that you want a divorce and have resolved all issues ahead of time, you must declare a cause of action. In a “no fault” divorce, you can simply cite incompatibility or prove that you haven’t lived together for a period of at least one year. A “fault” ground is also available if you can prove that your spouse was certifiably insane for a period of at least two years prior to the time you filed. Your word for this won’t be enough. Nevada courts require proof.

Legal Separation Requirements

Separation agreements are not subject to residency requirements. Beyond that, they’re bound by the same rules as divorces. Grounds are additionally provided for when a spouse has abandoned you for a period of at least 90 days.

Service Requirements

The defendant must sign a document indicating that he or she received your verified complaint. You can hand it to the defendant directly, to someone in his or her household over legal age, to the defendant's attorney or other legal representative, or you can achieve service by a county sheriff’s officer for a nominal fee. If you don’t know where your soon-to-be-ex is residing these days, you can ask the court for leave to publish the summons and complaint in a newspaper.

Summary Divorce Requirements

A summary divorce is uncontested. Spouses file a joint petition requesting that the marriage be dissolved. One of them must be a resident of Nevada for at least six weeks, and a witness must attest to this. Either there are no children born to the marriage, or a parenting/custody plan must be entered along with the petition. There must be no community property or an agreement must be reached as to its allotment and must be filed with the court. Either no spousal support is requested or an agreement regarding it has already been reached and filed. Both parties must waive their rights to appeal the divorce. This whole process takes less than a month to finalize.

Technicalities

If you choose to go it alone without hiring an attorney, all documents filed must meet the criteria of local court rule EDCR 7.20. They must be typewritten and notarized. You’ll need to submit an original and three copies of each document. The filing fee is $147 as of February 2010.

About the Author

Beverly Bird is a practicing paralegal who has been writing professionally on legal subjects for over 30 years. She specializes in family law and estate law and has mediated family custody issues.

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