Las Vegas Divorce Laws

By Holly Cameron

Las Vegas was once known as a divorce haven, due to Nevada's tolerant "no fault" divorce laws. Even today, Nevada requires just six weeks' residency before filing for divorce and therefore attracts a number of short-term residents for that purpose. The divorce procedure depends on whether the couple agrees on all relevant issues such as financial settlements and child custody. The Family Court at Clark County Court in Las Vegas deals with divorce cases for the area, applying the law under Chapter 125 of Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS).

Grounds for Divorce

Nevada laws do not require couples to prove that one or both is at fault if they decide to divorce. NRS 125.010 lists the grounds for divorce in the state of Nevada. These include insanity, incompatibility and separation for at least one year. If one of the spouses alleges that the other is insane, he must produce corroborative evidence from a medical practitioner.

Complaint for Divorce

If the couple disputes either the causes or the issues arising from the divorce, either one can file a Complaint for Divorce at Clark County Court. After filing, the County Court assigns a judge and case number to the case. A copy of the complaint should also be served on the spouse. After service, the spouse has a period of 20 days to file a formal answer with the clerk. If the couple has minor children, they must attend the Court Family Mediation Center to develop a parenting plan for the benefit of the children.

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Joint Petition

Where the couple agrees on all relevant issues, they can apply for a Joint Petition for Divorce. Each spouse signs a document to signify his or her agreement on the division of property and, if relevant, child custody and access issues. Once the court has reviewed the documentation and established that the couple understand and agree to the terms, it will grant the divorce.

Alimony and Support

NRS 125.150 states that a court may, when granting a divorce, award alimony to either spouse either in a principal sum or as periodic payments. In awarding alimony, the court considers a number of factors, including the financial position of each spouse, the duration of the marriage, the earning capacity of each spouse and the contribution of either spouse as homemaker. The court may grant a specific sum for the purpose of obtaining training or qualifications needed to obtain a position of employment.

Division of Property

Spouses often agree to divide community property between themselves during the divorce proceedings. If they cannot agree, Nevada law provides that marital property shall be divided equally between the parties, unless the court finds a compelling reason to divide the property unequally. If the court decides to make an unequal distribution of community property, it must set out in writing its reasons for doing so.

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