How long the Nevada divorce process takes in Nevada 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 court’s own caseload
In general, an uncontested divorce (called a joint petition in Nevada) can be over within one-to-three weeks. But a contested divorce is rarely over in less than three months. And if the assets are particularly complex, it can take significantly longer.
In any case, Nevada has a six (6) week residency requirement. So if the divorcing couple lives out of state, one of the parties must move to Nevada at least six weeks before filing divorce papers in Nevada.
Grounds of divorce in Nevada
Since Nevada is a “no-fault” divorce state, the grounds for dissolving a marriage are:
- The spouses are incompatible (which is the same as “irreconcilable differences”);
- The spouses have lived separately for at least one (1) year; or
- One spouse has been legally insane for at least two (2) years before the other spouse filed for divorce.
Joint petition for divorce (uncontested divorce) in Nevada
The absolute quickest way to end a marriage in Nevada is to file a joint petition. Also known as an uncontested divorce or a two-signature divorce, joint petitions are appropriate when the couple agrees on every aspect of their separation such as:
- division of assets and debts;
- Nevada child support payments;
- child custody in Nevada (legal and physical) as well as Nevada child visitation schedules;
- Nevada alimony payments and end dates; and
- health insurance for children
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 in Nevada are often eligible for joint petitions. But if one of the parties wants to contest the prenup, then the couple would need to proceed with a contested divorce (discussed below).
Contested divorce in Nevada
When couples cannot agree on the terms of their separation, the divorce case resembles that of any other lawsuit: One party files in the local district court, the other party responds, and a trial date may be set. And as with most lawsuits, the majority of divorce cases settle out of court before the trial date.
But if the parties 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.)
The judge typically divides all community property in Nevada fifty-fifty. Any separate property that belonged to the individual spouses prior to marriage should remain their separate property. And unless the couple waived alimony in a prenuptial agreement, the judge may order that one spouse pay the other spousal support.
Judges typically grant divorcing spouses joint physical custody of their children. But the judge will grant one parent primary custody if the judge finds that it would be in the best interest of the child in Nevada (NRS 125C.0035). Then the other parent (the “non-custodial parent”) would get visitation.
Finally, the judge would use the Nevada child support calculator to help determine who pays child support and how much. Note that child support orders may be modified over time as the family’s circumstances change.