Jurisdiction Laws for a Nevada Divorce

by Mike Broemmel
Nevada law establishes a short residency requirement to file a divorce.

Nevada law establishes a short residency requirement to file a divorce.

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A Nevada divorce court must have jurisdiction over a case before a judge can enter orders on any issue associated with a marriage termination. Jurisdiction means the court can make decisions and issue orders in a case. Nevada law provides one of the shortest residency periods to give a court jurisdiction over a divorce. The six-week period in Nevada compares to a range of six months to one year in most other states. Despite the short residency requirement, other jurisdictional requirements must be met before a couple obtains a divorce in Nevada.

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Residency in Nevada

A key jurisdictional requirement to file for divorce in any state is a minimum period of residence. Nevada law provides one of the most shortest residency requirements in the United States. At least one spouse must reside in Nevada for six weeks before filing for divorce. Additionally, one of the parties must also reside for the same period of time in the county where he actually files a divorce petition.

Proof of Residency

The minimal jurisdictional requirements under Nevada law potentially give rise to abuse. For this reason, anyone filing for divorce must provide independent verification that at least one spouse has lived in Nevada long enough. One spouse must testify under oath that at least one of the spouses lived in Nevada for at least six weeks prior to the filing of the divorce petition.

Jurisdiction Over Children

Although six weeks of residence is long enough to get divorced in Nevada, it is not long enough for a court to have jurisdiction over issues associated with children in a divorce case. Nevada has adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. That law requires that at least one spouse must be Nevada resident for at least six months, rather than six weeks, before a court has jurisdiction to issue orders relating to children. This includes orders regarding child custody, parenting time and child support. In emergencies, a court can issue a temporary order regarding children short of the six-month threshold -- for example, if a child is in jeopardy. If the jurisdictional requirements over child-related issues is met, including living in the state for six months before the case, the court maintains jurisdiction over them into the future even if one of the parties leaves the state with the children.

Jurisdiction Over Property

In cases where only the six-week residency requirement is met, Nevada courts also face limitations on issuing orders pertaining to marital property, real estate and other assets accumulated by the couple during their marriage. A Nevada court does have jurisdiction over real estate and personal property located within the state of Nevada, provided the six week requirement is satisfied. Issues regarding property, including real estate, becomes more complicated if it is located outside of Nevada. A conflict could occur if the property is in a state that has different rules for dividing property than the community property rule used in Nevada. In the event of conflicting laws, a Nevada court likely applies the law in the state where the property is located to resolve a dispute over it in a divorce case.