When Can You Get an Uncontested Divorce in Las Vegas?
Nevada has a simplified, expedited process for married couples to receive an uncontested divorce. The spouses and circumstances must meet specific criteria to be eligible for the process. If you wish to pursue an uncontested divorce in Las Vegas, consulting with an experienced divorce attorney is strongly recommended. Without legal counsel, you could jeopardize important legal rights and face significant consequences for your family and finances in the future.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce in Nevada?
Nevada law requires that at least one of the spouses must live in the state for at least six weeks before filing for an uncontested divorce. This requirement is the same as the residency rule for a contested divorce.
If the residency requirement is met, a married couple may only use the process for an uncontested divorce if both spouses agree completely on all the terms of the divorce settlement. Those terms include property division, child custody and support, and alimony. Disagreement of the spouses on a single issue prevents eligibility for an uncontested divorce.
In Nevada, uncontested divorces are relatively common. They typically occur when spouses amicably agree to finalize all the terms of the divorce. But a spouse should be cautious before pursuing an uncontested divorce and make certain they understand their legal rights, as well as the consequences and implications of an uncontested divorce. Talking with a knowledgeable divorce attorney is the best way to accomplish that goal.
Any divorce is an emotionally difficult process. A spouse considering an uncontested divorce may be tempted to give up important legal rights just to expedite the process and finalize the divorce. That decision can be a significant mistake. For both spouses, talking with a lawyer is the only way to ensure that an uncontested divorce is in the best interest of both spouses.
Process for a Nevada Uncontested Divorce
To begin an uncontested divorce, the parties file a Joint Petition for Divorce, signed by both parties and notarized. This process is different from initiating a contested divorce, which begins with filing a Complaint for Divorce. Other documents, including an affidavit of a resident witness (to prove residency), executed divorce settlement agreement, confidential information sheet, and a decree of divorce, must accompany the petition. If there are minor children, both parties must attend a seminar for separating parents (formerly called the COPE class). A certificate of completion is filed with the rest of the court documents.
The Joint Petition includes a statement of grounds for the divorce, which usually is incompatibility or one year of separation in Nevada. These reasons are often referred to as the grounds for a “no-fault” divorce in the state.
When you have legal representation, your attorney prepares these legal documents for you and makes certain everything meets the requirements. If you attempt to handle your own divorce and make a mistake in the legal documents, it can end up costing you more than if you consulted with a lawyer in the beginning.
After the filing and payment of court fees, a judge reviews the forms. If everything is in order, the judge signs the decree. After one of the parties files the signed decree with the court, the divorce is legally final. The court often finalizes an uncontested divorce within a few weeks after the initial filing. In many cases, the parties do not attend a court hearing or make any other formal appearance before the court.
In a limited number of cases, the court may require a brief hearing, referred to as a prove-up, in which the judge reviews the documentation with the parties, to ensure that the terms meet the applicable legal requirements and are in the best interests of the parties and any children. Though not required, the parties may be represented by legal counsel at a prove-up.
Is an Uncontested Divorce the Right Choice?
The expedited process of an uncontested divorce is the right choice for some spouses. But it’s not the best course for everyone. A hasty uncontested divorce can lead to serious legal problems, if the spouses do not make certain it suits their circumstances and protects their respective legal rights.
If important issues are unintentionally omitted from a divorce decree or a mistake is made in the documentation, it will be difficult to resolve the problem after the divorce is final. In addition, future litigation may be necessary if one of the parties fails to comply with the terms of the decree.
Even an uncontested divorce that does not involve minor children can pose difficult issues relating to property division with specific assets like retirement accounts. You should make certain that you understand Nevada community property laws before you agree to a property settlement agreement that will be binding after the divorce.
Talking with an attorney before initiating in uncontested divorce is the best approach to making certain that there are no unresolved issues, mistakes in documentation, or issues that might require litigation in the future. Sound legal advice helps you protect your rights and proceed with the confidence that you are choosing the right process for your circumstances.
Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Las Vegas Uncontested Divorce Attorney
If you are considering filing for divorce in Nevada, Las Vegas family law attorney Joseph Gersten is here to help. He draws on his extensive experience in domestic matters, including uncontested divorces, child custody and support, property division, and alimony (spousal support), to protect your interests and pursue cost-effective resolution of all issues.
Attorney Joseph Gersten works with clients in Las Vegas, Henderson, and elsewhere in Clark County. Your initial consultation is always free-of-charge at The Gersten Law Firm. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.