Do You Need a Lawyer to Get a Las Vegas Divorce?
Nevada law does not require you to have legal representation in a divorce proceeding. The legal process is fairly straightforward, but decisions you make during the process can impact your life for years after the divorce. Even if the divorce is amicable, each spouse should be certain to understand their rights, know what the process entails and what issues the court decides, and fully comprehend what they are giving up to get the divorce. Talking with a knowledgeable Las Vegas divorce attorney is the only way to make sure you cover all those bases before you begin the process.
Issues Decided By the Court in a Las Vegas Divorce
Married couples sometimes do not realize that getting a divorce in Nevada involves critical issues beyond simply ending the marriage. Even if the decision to divorce is amicable, the spouses must agree on all these issues to get an uncontested divorce. The agreement must be in writing, signed by both parties, and submitted to the court. If the spouses disagree on any issue, the court ultimately has authority to determine the outcome.
Division of Marital Community Property
Nevada is a community property state. When a married couple divorces, all marital property is subject to division between the spouses. That includes bank and financial accounts, personal and real property, and any asset acquired during the marriage. Debts and liabilities incurred during a marriage are presumptively a community obligation and are also divided as part of the property distribution in a divorce.
Some types of property can cause significant issues in a divorce. For example, many spouses are not aware that a retirement account or pension plan of a spouse is subject to division under Nevada’s community property laws. Similarly, if one spouse owns a business during the marriage, the business assets are subject to the property division requirements.
Before you proceed with a divorce, it is essential to understand how your marital property and debts will be divided when the divorce is final. Even if the situation is amicable, you need to ensure that all issues are fully addressed in the written property division agreement. If issues are omitted or inadequately addressed, serious problems can arise after the divorce.
Every marital property situation is unique. Talking with a knowledgeable divorce attorney is the best way to make certain that you fully understand your community property rights and obligations before you enter into a property division agreement with your spouse.
Child Custody and Child Support
Issues relating to children of a marriage are often the most difficult to resolve in a divorce case. Legal and physical child custody and child support are also of paramount concern to the court, which will focus on each child’s best interests in making decisions on these issues. Specific provisions of Nevada law apply.
Spouses may require assistance to work through all the details of an agreement on child custody and support. Lawyers for the spouses often can help resolve outstanding issues and ensure that all the necessary details are addressed in the divorce settlement. In some situations, divorce mediation may be an option for addressing custody issues. Mediation also may be an option for addressing disagreements over property division.
Alimony / Spousal Support
Nevada law does not provide for the right of a spouse to receive alimony, also called spousal support, during or after a divorce. The court has authority to award support to either spouse, based on consideration of detailed factors set forth in a specific state statute. If you are considering a divorce, it’s important to understand whether you or your spouse may be entitled to alimony or spousal support under Nevada law.
How a Las Vegas Divorce Attorney Can Help
If you are thinking of proceeding with a divorce petition without talking to a lawyer, you should consider how an attorney can help you with the divorce process. A lawyer’s role goes far beyond simply preparing the paperwork to file with the court, although that is part of their responsibility.
As the preceding discussion explains, a divorcing spouse makes critical decisions in many areas. Those decisions can have an effect that extends far beyond the end of the marriage. One of your lawyer’s most important responsibilities is making certain that you fully understand all your rights and obligations before you make any decisions. Your attorney also ensures that an agreement with your spouse covers all the essential aspects of the divorce, so that no outstanding legal issues remain unaddressed after the divorce is final.
Preparing the paperwork and forms is also an important part of your lawyer’s services. If you prepare court documents without help from an attorney, mistakes and omissions could cause serious problems in the process. Inadvertent omissions from your written settlement agreement can be particularly difficult (and costly) to resolve after the divorce is final.
Your lawyer also provides you with advice and counsel throughout the divorce process. If disagreements with your spouse arise, your attorney advocates on your behalf and takes responsibility for resolving issues. Finally, if there are issues that simply cannot be resolved between you and your spouse, and you end up in a contested divorce, your lawyer represents you and your interests in the legal proceedings in court.
The bottom line is that even if you and your spouse seem to agree on everything in advance of filing for divorce, it is in your best interest to talk with a lawyer before you proceed. At The Gersten Law Firm, your initial consultation is always free of charge and without obligation, so you have no reason to proceed on your own without talking to an attorney.
Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Las Vegas 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 property division, child custody and support, and alimony (spousal support), to protect your interests and pursue cost-effective resolution of all issues.
The Gersten Law Firm helps clients in Las Vegas, Henderson, and elsewhere in Clark County. Your initial consultation is always free. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.