Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that we receive about Family Law.
Q: What are the grounds for divorce in Nevada?
A: Nevada is a no-fault divorce state, which means that a divorce can be based on “irreconcilable differences.” Other reasons include: if the parties have lived separate and apart for 1 year without cohabitation or if insanity existed for 2 years prior to the commencement of the action. At least one spouse must be a resident of Nevada for at least six weeks before filing for divorce.
Q: Do I need to hire a divorce attorney?
A: In Nevada, there is no law that requires a person to hire an attorney to represent them in a divorce. However, if a person chooses to represent himself or herself in court, he or she will be held to the same standard as an attorney and be expected to know the rules and laws that apply to their case. It is highly recommended to hire an attorney to handle your divorce so that you do not accidentally violate a rule, miss a filing, or make another mistake that could be detrimental to their case.
Q: Can I change my name at the time of a divorce?
A: Yes, divorcing spouses have the option to change their name at the time of the divorce. After the case is completed, the party can take the certified final decree to social security and the driver’s license department for a change of name.
Q: When is the divorce finalized?
A: A divorce is finalized when a district court judge signs the Final Decree of Divorce and it is entered into the District Court Clerk’s record.
Q: How is alimony calculated?
A: In Nevada, a judge may grant spousal support (alimony) to either spouse. The judge will consider a number of factors when determining whether to grant spousal support, including:
- Financial condition of each spouse
- Age and health of each spouse
- Length of marriage
- Standard of living enjoyed by the parties during the marriage
- Any career before marriage of the spouse who would receive the alimony
- Whether one spouse makes significantly more money than the other
- Future earning capacity of each spouse
- Whether either spouse obtained specialized training or education during the marriage
- Contributions made by both spouses during the marriage
- Any other property awarded by the court, excluding child support
Q: Does cheating affect alimony?
A: Because Nevada is a no-fault state, courts cannot consider a spouse’s misconduct when awarding alimony. This means that a cheating spouse may be entitled to alimony if he or she needs it and their spouse can afford to pay.
Q: How soon after a divorce may I get remarried?
A: You may remarry as soon as the day after your Nevada divorce becomes final.
Q: Can I file for divorce if I can’t find my spouse?
A: Yes, if you are a Nevada resident. When the other spouse cannot be found, a search must be performed to try and find them. When this search fails to find them, an Affidavit of Due Diligence is obtained and the summons is then published in a newspaper once a week for five (5) weeks (service by publication), and also sent by first class mail to the missing spouse’s last-known address. If a missing spouse fails to respond to the mail service or the publication service, a default is filed 21 days after the last date of publication, and your divorce is granted by default.
Q: Who will get custody of our children?
A: The parents are free to determine a custody arrangement and visitation schedule on their own. If the parties cannot come to an agreement, the court will intervene and make this decision based upon the best interests of the children.
Q: If both parents share custody, does anyone pay child support?
A: The amount of child support that is paid, if any, depends on the facts of each individual case. It is possible that parents have joint physical custody and neither parent is required to pay child support. It is also possible that parents share joint physical custody and one parent is still required to pay child support to the other parent. The State of Nevada provides an online Nevada Child Support Guidelines Calculator. A parent can use the calculator to estimate child support obligations.
Q: Can a parent refuse visitation if child support is not paid?
A: No, a parent cannot prohibit the other parent from visiting their child, even if they are late on court-ordered child support payments. If a parent is delinquent on payments, the other parent should ask the court to intervene.
Q: Can my child decide which parent to live with?
A: Under Nevada law, a judge has discretion to determine that a child has sufficient intelligence and maturity to determine which parent they would like to live with. This is known as the “teenage discretion” doctrine. There is no set age where this doctrine applies. Its use is at the discretion of the court.
Q: Do grandparents get custody and visitation rights?
A: Nevada courts will consider visitation rights for grandparents when they find that it is in the best interest of the child.
Q: When can I modify child custody?
A: In Nevada, a court will modify a child custody order when it is in the best interest of the child.
Q: Does my child need to appear in court?
A: No, children are generally not allowed to participate in their parents’ legal dispute. In the event that a judge feels that a child’s input is necessary or important to assist the judge in making a custody decision, the judge will order that the child be interviewed by a court-certified mental health specialist.
Q: What if the other parent tries to move out of state?
A: In Nevada, if a parent wants to move out of state with a minor child, that parent must either obtain the written permission from the other parent or an order from the district court that allows the relocation to occur.
Q: If I have custody, will I receive child support?
A: In Nevada, a child support award is usually based upon the custody arrangement and the relative incomes of each parent.
Q: Can one parent change a child’s last name without the other parent’s permission?
A: In Nevada, if a parent wants to change a minor child’s last name, they are required to obtain consent from the child’s other parent or seek an order granting the name change from the District Court.
Q: How long before my family law case is over?
A: The length of your case will depend on many factors. If the matter is uncontested, both parties cooperate, and everything is filed on time, the case may only take 3 or 4 weeks. If the case is contested, the case can take anywhere from about six months to a few years. The length of time will be affected by the complexity of the case, the amount of cases currently being handled by the court, and any extensions granted to the parties. At Anthem Divorce Lawyers, we always do our best to resolve your case as quickly as possible.