Nevada "Same-Sex Marriage" and "Domestic Partnerships"

Nevada recognizes both same-sex marriage and domestic partnership between same-sex couples. In general, these forms of same-sex union in Nevada carry similar rights and legal obligations.

However, some rights -- particularly federal tax advantages -- can only be conferred by marriage. In addition, domestic partners may not be entitled to medical and other benefits when their partner works for the federal government. 

To help you better understand same-sex marriage in Nevada, our Las Vegas family law attorneys, discuss, below:

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1. Does Nevada recognize same-sex marriage?

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Nevada since 2012. In Sevcik v. Sandoval, a federal court ruled that denying same-sex couples the right to marry violates the Equal Protection clause of the 14th amendment.[1]

And in 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States, in a 5-4 decision, reached the same conclusion in Obergefell v. Hodges.[2]

Same-sex marriage is thus fully legal in Nevada even though it is not currently recognized under NRS 122.020, Nevada’s marriage statute. By court decision, however, NRS 122.020 applies to gay marriage in Nevada.

2. What are the conditions for gay marriage in Nevada?

Under NRS 122.020, gay people may marry if they are:

  1. At least 18 years of age, 
  2. Not nearer of kin than second cousins or cousins of the half blood, and 
  3. Not currently married.

People who are 16 or 17 years old may also get married in Nevada if they have the consent of either parent or a legal guardian.

3. What are the conditions for same-sex domestic partnership in Nevada?

Chapter 122A of the Nevada Revised Statutes is Nevada's Domestic Partnership Responsibilities Act.

NRS 122A was passed in 2009. It allows two people to enter into a domestic partnership provided that five conditions are met:

  1. They share a common residence;
  2. Neither person is married or in a domestic partnership with another person;
  3. They are not related by blood by a degree that would preclude them from marrying under Nevada law;
  4. Both parties are at least 18 years of age; and
  5. Both parties are competent to consent to the partnership.

An eligible same-sex couple entering into a domestic partnership must sign and file a notarized declaration with the Nevada Secretary of State.

4. Should same-sex couples choose marriage or domestic partnership in Nevada?

Most rights and obligations granted to married couples extend to couples in a domestic partnership in Nevada. Notably, these include Nevada community property rights, inheritance rights, and the right to make medical decisions about one's partner.

In addition, domestic partners can dissolve their union without going through Nevada divorce proceedings.

However, Nevada domestic partnerships do not confer all of the rights and responsibilities of marriage. For one thing, unlike domestic partners, married couples do not need to reside with each other.

Additionally, domestic partners do not enjoy the favorable treatment married couples enjoy under the federal tax code. They are also not entitled to receive Social Security benefits from each other and may not be beneficiaries for pensions.

For more information, please see our articles on marriage in Nevada and on Nevada domestic partnerships.

5. Can same-sex domestic partners get “divorced" in Nevada?

In Nevada, there are two ways for domestic partners to terminate their partnership.

Although dissolution of a domestic partnership is not called divorce, partners may follow the divorce procedures provided by statute.

Or if the couple is childless and there are no disputed issues of property ownership or support, they may pay a fee and file a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the Nevada Secretary of State.

6. Why hire an attorney for a same sex marriage or domestic partnership?

Getting married or entering a legally-acknowledged domestic partnership can have a significant impact upon the rights of same-sex couples in Nevada.

An experienced Las Vegas LGBTQ rights attorney can help you secure the protections and rights you deserve under Nevada law.

Your Las Vegas family lawyer can also help you decide whether marriage or domestic partnership is right for you. And if you need a Nevada prenuptial agreement, a lawyer can make sure that it accurately reflects your needs.

Need an LGBTQ lawyer in Las Vegas? Call us for help…

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If you need help with a same-sex marriage or domestic partnership in Las Vegas, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.

Our Las Vegas family law attorneys have significant experience with same sex marriage, domestic partnership and divorce. We can also help you if you are a same-sex couple looking to adopt a child in Nevada.

To speak to a lawyer call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) or fill out the form on this page.

Your initial consultation is free so why wait? Contact us today to learn how to protect your rights.

Legal references:

  1. Sevick v. Sandoval, 911 F. Supp. 2d 996 (D. Nev.), reversed and remanded sub nom. Latta v. Otter, 771 F.3d 456 (9th Cir.)
  2. Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2071 (2015).

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