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Getting A Divorce In Nevada

There are only two ways to get a divorce in Nevada:

  1. Uncontested Divorce by Joint Petition; or,

  2. Contested Divorce initiated by the filing of a Complaint for Divorce by one of the spouses.

As a side note, one of the spouses must meet Nevada residency requirements, and if there are children to be included, Nevada must also have jurisdiction over them. In addition, Nevada is a "no-fault" state. The only grounds necessary for divorce are differences that cannot be reconciled -- which is a "one way" street (only one spouse needs to believe the marriage is incompatible, the agreement of both spouses is not required).

If you can agree to all terms in advance of filing anything with the Court, you can proceed with a Joint Petition Divorce, saving a great deal of time, money, and emotional turmoil. All terms must be in accord with Nevada law, and must be stated in the paperwork. You should at least consult with an attorney before beginning any divorce process, to better understand your rights and responsibilities. Be very careful with "do-it-yourself" or paralegal-type divorces, as such services cannot give you any legal advice and if you screw up your paperwork the court may not accept it costing you more time and money to try and get it fixed. Or you may be stuck with your mistake in a final court order. Keep in mind that some mistakes cannot later be fixed, and those that can be fixed often cost a great deal of time and money. Your best bet is to have an attorney do your paperwork. Look for someone who offers reasonable flat fees in unconsted matters.

If you cannot agree to all terms in advance, one of you must file a complaint against the other. The person filing becomes the Plaintiff, and the person receiving the papers becomes the Defendant. The Defendant must be properly served with the papers, and then has only 20 days to respond. If the Defendant responds, the case continues moving through the system until the two spouses are able tor each an agreement, or the Judge determines the terms of their divorce. These matters can be complex, with very high risks of saying or doing things in the court process that may be very harmful to your position or your overall case. Again, some mistakes cannot be fixed at any price, and most could have been avoided with proper legal counsel. If the Defendant fails to respond, a default may be taken and a divorce entered without the Defendant having any input. If you are filing a case, be sure to consult with an attorney to make sure you are following Nevada law. If you have been served with papers, consult with an attorney to understand your next steps and how to best protect your rights.

This is just a basic overview of how to get a divorce in Nevada. Every case has its own unique characteristics, quite often not covered in "do-it-yourself" paperwork. You may not need to retain an attorney, but you absolutely should at least consult with one.

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