The Truth About Las Vegas Divorce
Divorce can be complex and is always unique to the family getting divorced. Making blanket promises about cost or how quickly it can be done will only set you up for failure. In this we explain the basics of Las Vegas Divorce and give you realistic expectations for your divorce case.
Can I get a Las Vegas Divorce?In order to get divorced in Las Vegas, one party has to have lived in Las Vegas for at least 6 weeks prior to filing the divorce case. This is known as the residency requirement.
Our Family Court requires that each person filing a complaint for divorce also file an affidavit of resident witness. This is a declaration from someone who knows you - they can be a friend, relative, neighbor, co-worker - over the age of 18, that can attest that you actually reside in Clark County, Nevada.
In addition to a witness affidavit, if you are filing a divorce case in Las Vegas, and you have lived here a short period of time, you should be prepared to present evidence to the judge that shows you are a bona fide resident of Las Vegas. This could include a lease or mortgage statement in your name, a utility bill, a bank statement at a local bank or even a Nevada driver's license.
Some judges will question your residency and whether you qualify for a Las Vegas divorce if you file close in time to when you moved here. Be prepared to prove to the judge that you are a bona fide resident and you plan to stay in Vegas after the divorce is finalized.
If you are divorcing in Las Vegas and you have children, your children must have lived in Las Vegas for at least 6 months before you file for divorce. There are exceptions to this rule which are not covered by this article.
How much will my Las Vegas divorce cost?This is the big question and the one where we see the most misinformation from other sites in their answers.
Keep in mind that the filing fee - this is the fee you pay to the Court, not your lawyer - for a Complaint for Divorce for is $299.
If you are filing a joint petition for divorce (this is often referred to as a two-signature divorce) the filing fee is $299.
Filing an answer to a complaint for divorce will cost $270 in filing fees alone.
If you are hiring an attorney for your divorce, the cost can vary as can the qualifications of your lawyer.
In researching this article, I see some lawyers advertising to handle a divorce for $150. I find this hard to believe and would question what kind of service you are getting from a lawyer charging $150.
Like we said, every divorce is different and unique to the family divorcing. Las Vegas divorce lawyers are also different and come with varying experience, customer service and knowledge.
The attorney's fees involved in a Las Vegas divorce can range from a few hundred dollars to several hundred thousand dollars depending on the complexity and length of the case, the assets and debts involved, the cooperation of the other party, the need for expert witnesses and the skill level and knowledge of the attorney you hire.
One thing is for sure, if you are hiring an attorney for $150 to handle your divorce, you need to ask what kind of representation you are getting.
Our suggestion is to find a lawyer you like and work on fees from there. Needless to say, you should expect to pay more than $150 for your divorce if you want it done right.
How long will the divorce process take?This is the other question where we are seeing complete bullsh*t answers on other sites.
In handling thousands of Las Vegas Divorces, our office rarely sees a case that takes less than a week from beginning to end to get divorced.
If you are doing a joint petition for divorce - remember this is an uncontested, two signature divorce - you should expect that from the time you file your case to the time your decree is signed, will take about 10 days on average.
For joint petitions, the timing for divorce often depends on which judge gets the case. Judge Art Ritchie is usually the fastest judge with joint petitions and it takes about 5 days from the time we file, to get the decree signed and filed and the divorce completed. Judge Pomrenze takes about 3-4 weeks to review all of the documents and sign off on a divorce decree when it is a joint petition.
In truth, we tell our clients that joint petition divorces usually take about 10 days on average from the time the joint petition is filed and the decree is submitted until the decree is signed and filed which is the final step in the divorce.
If your case is contested, or you don't know where the other side is or you are filing a Complaint for Divorce, you have to have the other side served. Once your spouse is served you have to wait at least 20 days before you can even submit the divorce decree to the judge.
If you are involved in contested litigation over your Las Vegas Divorce, you should expect that it could take several months, and in rare cases or complex cases, over a year to finalize the divorce.
Again, because each family is unique and each Las Vegas Divorce is different, you should talk to an attorney about realistic expectations and how long it will take to finalize your divorce.
Is there a waiting period for a Las Vegas divorce?The simple answer here is "NO. There is no waiting period to file for divorce in Las Vegas." You only have to meet the residency requirements in order to file the divorce.
Can I still get divorced in Las Vegas if I am a non-resident?In Las Vegas Divorces, only one party has to live in Las Vegas. If you live in another state, but your spouse has lived in Las Vegas for at least six weeks before you file for divorce, you can file in Las Vegas.
However, before you decide to file in Las Vegas, you may want to talk to an attorney about filing in the jurisdictions where you live. Each state has its own divorce laws and it might be more beneficial to you to file where you live instead of filing in Las Vegas.
Once you know the advantages and disadvantages to filing in the state where you live, you should make a decision about whether it is best to file in Las Vegas or file where you live.
Also, if you have children, you should consider filing for divorce where your children have lived for the last 6 months and how filing for divorce in Nevada may affect your custody rights.
What if my spouse doesn't live in Las Vegas?This answer goes hand-in-hand with the answer to number 5 above.
If you have lived in Las Vegas for six weeks but your spouse lives somewhere else, you can still file for a divorce in Las Vegas.
Again, if your spouse lives in another state, you may want to talk to a lawyer in that state about the advantages and disadvantages of filing in that State instead of filing for divorce in Las Vegas.
Once again, remember that custody will be appropriately filed wherever your children have lived for the last six months.
Is my divorce public information in Las Vegas?Yes. Your divorce information is public and available to the world by going to the Clark County Court website and looking up the case by name.
If you want to make your case invisible, you can ask to have your case sealed.
Recently though our Las Vegas Family Court judges have taken a lot of flack for sealing cases without a good reason. So, if you want to hide your family court case from the world. You have to have a good reason to do so.
Depending on the facts of your case, or the detail in your divorce decree, our office usually recommends having your case sealed at the end of the case.
We usually recommend sealing a case if there have been false allegations of abuse or domestic violence throughout the divorce proceeding. Who wants their children, neighbors, co-workers or future employers reading about this? Nobody - so ask to seal the case.
If your decree contains significant detail about your finances such as bank institution names, account numbers, transfers of property and business ownership, we recommend sealing the case. Divorce decrees are prime targets for identity theft and fraud. All of this information is available to anyone looking for it which is why we recommend sealing the case.
What if I want a different judge to hear my divorce case?The number of times I get half-way through a case and have a client ask to change judges is uncountable.
In our family Court, there are sixteen judges that hear divorce and custody cases regularly. There are sixteen different personalities, aversions, likes and dislikes.
Like any other type of work, many judges have strengths and weaknesses. Some judges are great with custody but not great with alimony. Other judges tend to favor joint custody over awarding a litigant primary custody.
If you have hired an attorney for your divorce, your lawyer will know the day your case is filed, who your judge is.
Ask your lawyer their opinions about your judge for your type of case. Have an open and honest conversation about whether the judge assigned to you is a good fit for your case or whether you should try for a different judge.
Whether you have a lawyer or not, do research about your judge. There are tons of articles and posts about our family court judges on the internet. This is your life and your family. You should know about the judge making decisions that could affect the rest of your life.
Keep in mind that if you want to change judges, you have a very small window of opportunity at the beginning of your divorce case to do it and it will cost you at least $450 to change judges.
What if there is adultery in my marriage?Nevada is a no-fault jurisdiction. This means that an affair will usually not be considered by our judges in making ultimate decisions about alimony, division of assets and debts and other matters affecting your divorce. It could be a factor in custody.
What if one party wants alimony?This is a tough one to answer too. Alimony is certainly a factor to be considered in a Las Vegas divorce.
Basically, alimony is money paid by one spouse to the other spouse in a divorce in order to equalize the parties' incomes and to maintain the receiving party in a standard of living similar to that which existed during their marriage.
There are different types of alimony and support that can be awarded. Rehabilitative alimony is money paid by one party in order for the other party to obtain the education and skills necessary to reenter the job market and obtain employment to make that party self-supporting.
Your Las Vegas Divorce judge can award alimony and rehabilitative alimony in combination.
If you and your spouse cant agree on alimony, the judge will decide how much alimony will be paid and for how long.