A divorce legally dissolves a marriage. In some circumstances, spouses may want to separate, but do not want to dissolve their marriage. In this instance, Nevada spouses can pursue an action for separate maintenance. A separate maintenance action allows spouses to:
- Resolve their financial responsibilities towards each other.
- Decide on the custody and support of children.
Under an order for separate maintenance, the parties are legally separated. A separate maintenance action can address most of the same issues as a divorce decree.
A separate maintenance action can be as stressful and complex as a divorce. An experienced and knowledgeable lawyer can help you navigate this difficult process. Anthem Divorce Lawyers have over 25 years of experience. Contact us today for a consultation.
What are the Grounds for a Separate Maintenance Action?
Under Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 125.190, a spouse may bring an action for permanent support and maintenance. A person may bring an action when any of the following occur:
- Insanity existed for two years prior to filing the action.
- Spouses live separate and apart for one year without cohabiting.
- A person has been deserted and the desertion has continued for 90 days.
- Spouses are incompatible.
The person does not have to apply for divorce. He/she may main maintain an action against his or her spouse for permanent support and maintenance of:
- Himself or herself
- Their children
Is a Separate Maintenance Action a Divorce?
A separate maintenance action is not a divorce. A divorce legally ends a marriage. An action for separate maintenance does not legally end a marriage. Similar to a divorce, a separate maintenance action does resolve financial and custody issues.
Persons may pursue a separate maintenance action for a variety of reasons including:
- Religious reasons prohibiting divorce.
- The chance of reconciliation with a spouse.
- Maintaining health insurance.
- Remaining entitled to federal survivor benefits under social security or the military.
- Filing a joint tax return.
If you have questions about a separate maintenance action, contact an experienced lawyer. Anthem Divorce Lawyers have over 25 years of experience. Contact us today for a consultation.
Does Separate Maintenance Include Litigation Costs?
Yes, pursuant to NRS 125.200(1), unless excluded by a valid premarital agreement. During the pendency of a separate maintenance action, the court has discretion to require either spouse to pay money necessary for:
- The prosecution of the action.
- The support and maintenance of the other spouse and their children.
Do Premarital Agreements Affect Separate Maintenance?
Under NRS 125.200(2), the court may not require either spouse to pay for the support or maintenance of the other spouse if:
- It is contrary to a premarital agreement between the parties.
The premarital agreement must be enforceable pursuant to Chapter 123A of NRS.
What are the Powers of the Court Respecting Property and Support of Spouse and Children?
NRS 125.210(1) is below.
1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, in any action brought pursuant to NRS 125.190, the court may:
- Assign and decree to either spouse the possession of any real or personal property of the other spouse;
- Order or decree the payment of a fixed sum of money for the support of the other spouse and their children;
- Provide that the payment of that money be secured upon real estate or other security, or make any other suitable provision; and
- Determine the time and manner in which the payments must be made.
Exceptions of Subsection 2
NRS 125.210(2) is below.
2. The court may not:
- Assign and decree to either spouse the possession of any real or personal property of the other spouse; or
- Order or decree the payment of a fixed sum of money for the support of the other spouse,
if it is contrary to a premarital agreement between the spouses which is enforceable pursuant to chapter 123A of NRS.
Does Separate Maintenance Affect Federal Disability Benefits?
NRS 125.210(3) is below.
3. Unless the action is contrary to a premarital agreement between the parties which is enforceable pursuant to chapter 123A of NRS, in determining whether to award money for the support of a spouse or the amount of any award of money for the support of a spouse, the court shall not attach, levy or seize by or under any legal or equitable process, either before or after receipt by a veteran, any federal disability benefits awarded to a veteran for a service-connected disability pursuant to 38 U.S.C. §§ 1101 to 1151, inclusive.
Can the Court Change, Modify, or Revoke a Separate Maintenance Order?
How Long is a Separate Maintenance Order Effective?
Under NRS 125.210(5), “no order or decree is effective beyond the joint lives of the spouses."
What is the Process for a Nevada Separate Maintenance Order?
The process for a separate maintenance order is similar to a divorce. One party (the plaintiff) files the action and serves the other party (the defendant). The defendant has 21 days to respond. If the defendant does not respond within 21 days, the plaintiff can ask the court to enter a default against the defendant. A default stops the defendant from responding. It allows the plaintiff to ask for a final decree.
If the defendant does respond, the judge will schedule a case management conference. The court schedules this conference within 90 days of the date the defendant files their answer.
During the pendency of the separate maintenance action, either party may file a motion for temporary orders. Temporary orders can include temporary:
- Child support
- Custody orders
- Visitation schedules
Spouses may also attend mediation to resolve separate maintenance issues. If parties cannot resolve their issues, the judge will set a trial. If parties got to trial, the judge will decide the final terms of the separation.
Does Separate Maintenance Affect Child Custody and Visitation?
Similar to a divorce, an action for separate maintenance provides for child custody and visitation. If there are minor children, the parents will have to agree to custody and a visitation schedule. If parents cannot agree, parents will attend mediation. If mediation is not successful, a judge may decide custody and visitation.
Child Custody and Visitation
Custody refers to both legal custody and physical custody. In Nevada, the court determines child custody and visitation based on the “best interests of the child.”
- Legal custody refers to who makes major decisions about the child including healthcare, religion, and education.
- Physical custody is the amount of time a child spends with each parent.
A court does not have to decide child custody and visitation. Parents are allowed to agree to their own custody and visitation schedules. In most instances, if parents dispute custody or visitation issues a judge will refer them to the Family Mediation Center.
The Family Mediation Center does not resolve financial issues like child support. It helps parents try to resolve legal custody and physical custody. The Family Mediation Center can help parents set up schedules for the following:
- Weekly visitation
Child custody and visitation can be stressful for all parties involved. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate this process.
Experienced Las Vegas Lawyers
Separate maintenance actions are complex legal proceedings with lasting consequences. A separate maintenance order can help parties resolve their support issues and avoid a divorce. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you navigate this difficult process. The team at Anthem Divorce Lawyers has the experience and knowledge necessary to handle your separate maintenance action. Contact us today for a consultation.