Property Rights

Property Rights

Are you contemplating divorce? Do you know how you and your spouse are going to divide your property? Nevada is a community property state. This means that spouses share equally in the property and debts acquired during marriage.

A divorce can be difficult. It impacts every aspect of life. Property division during a divorce has lasting consequences. It is important that spouses understand how Nevada community property laws impact their divorce.

If you have questions or concerns about your property rights, contact a trusted divorce attorney before you file. Anthem Divorce Lawyers serve clients all over the Las Vegas area. Contact us today for a consultation.

Nevada Community Property

Nevada is a community property state. This means that in a divorce, the courts will equally divide community property and debt among spouses. A spouse may be entitled to keep their separate property and/or any property/debt owned before the marriage.

During a divorce, couples typically divide the following property and debt:

  • Houses
  • Mortgages
  • Household Items
  • Furniture
  • Bank Accounts
  • Vehicles
  • Car Loans
  • Credit card debt
  • Tax debt
  • Pensions
  • Retirement accounts
  • A business owned by a spouse
  • Pets


Chapter 123 of NRS governs the property rights of a married couple unless the property is separate property or there is a:

  • Premarital agreement which is enforceable pursuant to Chapter 123A
  • Marriage contract or settlement, containing stipulations contrary thereto

A court may also unequally divide community property with a written compelling reason.

What is the Purpose of Community Property?

The Internal Revenue Service has said the following about community property:

  • The theory underlying community property is analogous to that of a partnership. Each spouse contributes labor (and in some states, capital) for the benefit of the community, and shares equally in the profits and income earned by the community. Thus, each spouse owns an automatic 50% interest in all community property, regardless of which spouse acquired the community property. Spouses may also hold separate property, which they solely own and control, but the law in the community property states does not favor this.

The division of property and debt can have long term financial consequences for both parties. Couples may not understand their rights and responsibilities with regard to property disposition. Knowledgeable divorce attorneys understand how the laws affect you and your property. If you have questions about your property, contact the team at Anthem Divorce Lawyers. We are available for consultations.

Does Community Property Include Retirement Plans?

Community property includes retirement plans. A divorce must provide for how a couple will divide these benefits. In many relationships, retirement benefits are significant. The division of benefits in a divorce can be complex. It is important that each spouse understands their rights and responsibilities with regard to benefit division.

What is a QDRO?

QDRO stands for Qualified Domestic Relations Order. A QDRO will order a retirement plan to pay a spouse (or other payee) their share of the plan. A QDRO will include specific language and information. A knowledgeable attorney experienced in preparing QDROs can assist in its preparation.

Not all plans require a QDRO. A QDRO is not necessary to divide IRAs and Thrift Savings Plans.

Are Military Benefits Divided?

In military-related divorces, an order provides for the division of military retirement benefits. Military benefits can be significant. The division and distribution can impact your financial future. If you have questions about benefits and your divorce, contact an experienced divorce lawyer. Anthem Divorce Lawyers have experience with the division and distribution of assets.

Does the Court Always Divide Property Equally?

Pursuant to NRS 125.150 the court shall, to the extent practicable, “make an equal disposition of the community property of the parties." This statute has an exception that allows for the unequal division of community property. The court may make such an unequal division “as it deems just" if it does the following:

  • Finds a compelling reason to do so
  • Sets forth in writing the reasons for making the unequal disposition

The statute does not define a compelling reason. A compelling reason may include:

  • One spouse’s intentional misconduct losing, expending, or destroying of the community property
  • Negligent loss or destruction of community property
  • Unauthorized gifts of community property
  • Compensation for losses occasioned by marriage and its breakup
  • Wasteful and secretive purchases
  • Hiding community assets

A party will need a compelling argument to support the unequal division of community property. An experienced divorce lawyer can advise you of how the law may apply to your specific situation. Contact Anthem Divorce Lawyers today for a consultation.

What is Separate Property?

Separate property is not community property and is not shared equally by the parties. Under NRS 123.130, separate property includes “all property of a spouse owned by him or her before marriage." A spouse may also acquire separate property during the marriage. Separate property can include property acquired by “gift, bequest, devise, descent or by an award for personal injury damages."

It is the responsibility of the party claiming that their property is separate to prove that it is their separate property. A couple’s treatment and use of separate property can convert it into community property.

A spouse can maintain his/her separate property by:

  • A premarital agreement
  • Keeping the property separate from the community
  • Recording an inventory of all such separate property with the County Recorder

What is a Premarital Agreement?

A premarital agreement is “an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective upon marriage."

To be enforceable, a premarital agreement must be:

  • In writing
  • Signed by both parties


Property means “an interest, present or future, legal or equitable, vested or contingent, in real or personal property, including income and earnings."

In a premarital agreement, a couple may contract with regard to:

  • Their property rights and obligations
  • Disposition of property upon separation, marital dissolution, death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event
  • Their rights to manage and control property
  • Modification or elimination of alimony or support or maintenance of a spouse
  • Making of a will, trust, or other arrangement to carry out the provisions of the agreement
  • The ownership rights in and disposition of the death benefit from a life insurance policy
  • Choice of law governing the construction of the agreement
  • Any other matter not in violation of public policy or a criminal statute


A premarital agreement may not adversely affect the right of a child to support.


A premarital agreement is not enforceable if a party proves any of the following:

  • That party did not execute the agreement voluntarily.
  • The agreement was unconscionable when the parties executed it. The court decides whether a contract is unconscionable.
  • The spouse did not have “a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party".

If you have a premarital agreement and are contemplating divorce, contact an experienced divorce lawyer.

Las Vegas Divorce Lawyers

An experienced Las Vegas divorce lawyer can help you understand your rights and answer your questions about Nevada community property. A divorce lawyer will know the applicable rules and laws and how they apply to your property. Anthem Divorce Lawyers are an experienced team of divorce lawyers. Contact us today for a consultation.