Legal separation, also referred to as separate maintenance, means that the married parties no longer live together, but are still married with a legally binding agreement outlining issues such as support that is enforceable by the court system.
A legal separation is not a divorce. If participants wish to remain married, they can have the separation legally dismissed. If the participants wish to divorce, they must file further paperwork.
Each county in Nevada has different rules for filing legal separation paperwork. In Clark County for example, couples file different paperwork based on if they have children, if there will be support, and if there is community debt involved.
As support is the main reason for a legal separation, both parties will likely agree upon temporary maintenance, or alimony pendente lite. This includes child support and alimony, as well as how to take care of the bills for community property. The parties will also decide visitation rights.
The complaining party must file a complaint with the courts. The defendant then has 20 days to file an answer. If there is no answer, the court automatically grants the separation. If there is an answer, a hearing will be scheduled to make a judgment concerning custody, assets, support and debts.