The fastest way for a married couple to split in Nevada is for both spouses to file a joint petition for divorce in Nevada. Another term for this is an "uncontested divorce" or "two-signature divorce."
If everything goes smoothly, the Nevada divorce may be granted in as little as 10 days. (Though it may take longer depending on the court's schedule.)
Meanwhile, contested divorces can drag on for months or sometimes longer. The parties need to ask themselves whether the assets they are fighting over are really worth the time and expense of fighting over them.
Definition of Joint Petitions in Nevada
When a couple agrees on every aspect of their divorce, they can file a joint petition that spells out their terms regarding:
- division of Nevada community property
- division of liabilities and debts
- child custody in Nevada and visitation in Nevada
- child support in Nevada
- pet custody in Nevada
- Nevada alimony
- responsibility for paying various expenses for children, including health insurance
- Nevada legal name changes (such as reclaiming a maiden name)
Family Court judges usually prefer uncontested divorces to contested ones. They generally believe that the spouses themselves are in a better position to make decisions about their money and property, and they would rather not get involved in a couple's private affairs.
Joint petitions are common in cases where the couple had a detailed premarital agreement in Nevada that addressed all the above issues, and neither is contesting it. One of the advantages of having a good prenup is that it increases the chances that the couple will be able to divorce via a joint petition; this is because all the terms were already agreed to in the prenup.
Residency Requirement to Get a Nevada Divorce
Nevada has a six (6) week residency requirement for divorce. So if a couple who lives outside of Nevada wishes to file a joint petition in Nevada, they still need to live in-state for six (6) weeks before proceeding with their uncontested divorce.
Note that it does not matter where in Nevada the couple resides. Living in Las Vegas, Reno, or any other location in Nevada suffices as long as the residency lasts at least six (6) weeks.
So for an out-of-state couple to get a divorce in Nevada, it would take at least six weeks plus however long the court takes to grant the joint petition (which may be as little as ten days).
Also note that Nevada requires couples with minor children to take a parenting class prior to filing for divorce. Couples who wait to take the class could delay the whole divorce process.
Drawbacks of Quick Divorces in Nevada
Even if a couple is anxious to divorce and qualifies for doing a joint petition, both parties are still encouraged to consult with separate attorneys first. An attorney can review the party's case and see if it is truly in his/her best interest to pursue a "quickie divorce."
Sometimes, a party may be legally entitled to far more money and property than what the other party would agree to. Sometimes, the couple's estate is just too complicated to parse out in a joint petition.
Another consideration is that entering a joint petition is the equivalent to taking a plea in a criminal case--the party loses the right to appeal. That is fine if the joint petition is truly in the parties' best interest. But if not, filing the joint petition could prevent them from getting what is legally theirs.