Can You File for a Las Vegas Divorce as a Non-Resident?
If you live outside Nevada, you may be able to file for a Las Vegas divorce as a non-resident if your spouse lives here and other legal requirements are met. However, you need to make certain that you completely understand all the ramifications of filing for divorce before you proceed. The divorce laws are complex, which makes getting help from an experienced divorce attorney essential for a non-resident considering a Nevada divorce.
Residency Requirements for a Las Vegas Divorce
Getting a divorce in Las Vegas is considerably different from and more complicated than getting married in Las Vegas. To begin with, the Nevada divorce laws include specific residency requirements.
To be eligible to file for a divorce in Nevada, one of the spouses must have resided in the state for at least six weeks. This residency requirement is actually one of the most liberal in the country, since many states have longer residency requirements for divorce. Nevada divorce laws also do not include a cooling off period after filing before a divorce can be finalized, which also makes getting a divorce here easier than in some other states.
Given the short residency requirement, you might consider moving to Nevada to temporarily establish residence in order to file for divorce — but that approach won’t work. The law requires six weeks residency with the intention of remaining in the state to meet the requirement. If you try to move temporarily, your spouse might successfully challenge the required Affidavit of Residency by proving you have no intention of staying in the state after the divorce, which could result in dismissal of the action.
Matters Decided by the Court in a Nevada Divorce
For all married couples getting a divorce in Nevada, the court decides a wide range of issues relating to the marital relationship. A divorce judge addresses many matters beyond simply declaring the end of the marriage.
The court determines division of property, child custody and support, and alimony (spousal support). Nevada is a community property state, which means that marital property and debts are divided between the spouses. The court also applies specific Nevada laws relating to child custody and support and alimony in addressing those matters.
When both spouses reside in the state, a Nevada court has jurisdiction to determine all the issues relating to the marriage. However, if you file for a divorce as a non-resident, the question of jurisdiction can become complicated.
For example, if you have children who have not resided in Nevada for at least six months, the court will not automatically have jurisdiction over custody and support matters. But if both parties consent to the court’s jurisdiction over these issues, the court may be able to resolve them. Similarly, jurisdictional issues may arise in a non-resident divorce when one of the spouses owns property located in another state.
If you are considering filing for a Las Vegas divorce as a non-resident, it is critical to talk with a Nevada divorce attorney about all the issues normally addressed in the proceeding, so your lawyer can determine whether jurisdictional issues will arise, and whether your circumstances and those of your spouse and any children make a Nevada divorce a viable option.
Contested and Uncontested Divorces
One of the factors in deciding whether to file as a non-resident concerns whether you anticipate that the divorce will be contested or uncontested. If you expect the divorce to be uncontested, it may be possible to manage the process remotely with the help of a Nevada divorce attorney. However, a contested divorce likely will involve court hearings on one or more issues, which will require you to travel to the state to attend a trial.
Even an uncontested divorce can involve complicated issues relating to property or other issues. It is important to talk with a lawyer before deciding to pursue an uncontested divorce, to be certain you fully understand all your rights and the divorce process.
Filing for Divorce in Las Vegas
Finally, if you are a non-resident considering filing for divorce in Las Vegas, you should be aware that under Nevada law, a court in Clark County (the county where Las Vegas is located) will only have jurisdiction over a divorce if your spouse resides in the county, you and your spouse last lived together in the county, or you and your spouse lived in Clark County when the basis for the divorce arose.
If your spouse lives elsewhere in Nevada, and you do not meet any of the other criteria for jurisdiction in Clark County, you will not be able to file for a Las Vegas divorce as a non-resident. You may be able to file in the county where your spouse resides.
Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Las Vegas Divorce Attorney
If you are not a resident of Nevada but are considering filing for divorce here, Las Vegas family law attorney Joseph Gersten can 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.