How long the Nevada divorce process takes depends on several factors, including:
- whether the divorce is contested or not;
- whether there are children involved;
- the complexity of the marital estate; and
- the Nevada court’s own caseload
In general, an uncontested divorce (called a joint petition in Nevada) can be over within one-to-three weeks. Though a contested divorce is rarely over in less than three months. Plus if the assets are particularly complex, the waiting period to get the decree of divorce can be significantly longer.
In any case, Nevada has a six (6) week residency requirement.1 So if you and your spouse both live out of state, one of you must become a Nevada resident before you can file for divorce here.
However, if child custody/visitation is an issue in your divorce, Nevada courts will not have jurisdiction over the case unless your child has lived with you or your ex in Nevada for at least six months.2
How long does a joint petition for divorce (uncontested divorce) take in Nevada?
The absolute quickest way to end a marriage under Nevada divorce laws is to file a joint petition. Also known as an uncontested divorce or a two-signature divorce, joint petitions are appropriate when you and your ex agree on every aspect of your separation such as:
- property division;
- child support payments;
- legal custody and physical custody of minor children as well as child visitation schedules;
- alimony payments and end dates; and
- health insurance for your children.3
Another benefit of a joint petition is that the judge can often sign off on it without holding an unpleasant court hearing first. Unless the court docket is overloaded, the divorce may be final within a week of the initial filing.
Couples who had a thorough and valid premarital agreement are often eligible for joint petitions. Though if you or your ex wants to contest the prenup, then you would need to proceed with a contested divorce (discussed below).
Note if you are pursuing a joint petition, you are still advised to seek advice from a divorce lawyer to make sure your rights are being safeguarded.
How long does a contested divorce take in Nevada?
When you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of your separation, the process resembles a regulation lawsuit. It could take several weeks, months, or even longer.
The contested divorce process proceeds as follows:
- Either you or your ex files a complaint for divorce in court. Whoever files first is the plaintiff, and the other party is the defendant.
- The court will issue a summons. It is the responsibility of the plaintiff to make sure that the defendant gets served with the complaint and summons. You can do this by:
- Personal service, such as hiring a process server or having a disinterested adult serve the divorce papers (usually at your ex’s home or office). The papers can also be served on anyone at that same address who is at least 14 years old.
- If your ex evades personal service – or their address is unknown – you should file with the court the process server’s affidavit of due diligence (attesting that they had done everything to find your ex but failed). The judge may then grant you permission to publish the summons in a newspaper once a week for five weeks. The judge may also grant permission to serve your ex by social media or email.
- The defendant has 21 days to respond to the complaint by filing an answer. In some cases, the defendant can make counterclaims against the plaintiff.
- Both sides typically try to negotiate the matter out of court. Though if you and your ex cannot agree to a settlement, the court will hold a trial to determine the issues in contention. Note that divorce trials do not have a jury: The judge makes all the decisions. (In Clark County, family law trials are heard in Las Vegas Family Court.)4
Since Nevada is a community property state, the judge would divide all your marital assets 50/50 unless there was a contractual agreement stating otherwise. Any separate property that belonged to you prior to marriage should remain your separate property.5 Unless you waived alimony in a prenuptial agreement, the judge may order that the higher earner pay the lower earner spousal support.6
Judges typically grant divorcing spouses joint physical and legal custody of any minor children. Though the judge will grant you primary custody if the judge finds that it would be in the best interest of the child (NRS 125C.0035).7
Finally, the judge would use the child support calculator to help determine who pays child support and how much. Note that child support orders may be modified over time as your family’s circumstances change.8
What are the grounds for divorce?
Since Nevada is a no-fault divorce state, the grounds for dissolving a marriage are:
- You and your ex are incompatible (incompatibility is essentially the same as “irreconcilable differences”);
- You and your ex have lived separately for at least one year; or
- Your ex has been legally insane for at least two years before you filed for divorce.
Call us for help…
Contact our Las Vegas divorce attorneys for legal advice on negotiating a settlement agreement. You can reach our Las Vegas, NV law firm through our contact form or over the phone. We appear in family courts throughout the state of Nevada.
See our related article on annulments.