Las Vegas, Nevada Divorce Process
To begin the process of divorce, your Nevada divorce attorney must file a “Complaint for Divorce.” While you do not gain an advantage when you are the first to file, you will be the plaintiff and you must personally serve the complaint on your spouse, the defendant. A complaint is the official legal document requesting your divorce.
Because Nevada is a “no-fault” divorce state, you or the divorce lawyers in Nevada who represent you do not need to allege or prove mental cruelty, physical abuse or adultery to be granted a divorce. It will only be necessary for your Nevada divorce lawyer to show the court you and your spouse no longer get along and there is no future possibility of getting along again. This is commonly referred to as “Irreconcilable Differences.” The only requirement for filing for divorce is that one or both of you have resided in Las Vegas Nevada for at least six weeks prior to filing the complaint.
Once the complaint is received by your spouse, he/she or his/her Nevada divorce attorneys will have 20 days to file a response to your complaint. This is called an “Answer.” After the answer is filed, you both must attend mediation if you have minor children together. When children are involved in a divorce action, mediation is necessary to devise a parenting plan that specifies each parent’s role and responsibility. This includes physical custody, legal custody and visitation time such as holidays and vacations. Mediation is an attempt for you and your spouse, with the assistance of your divorce attorney, to come to an agreement on parenting time and custody. This will be conducted through the Court Family Mediation Center. If, through the mediation process, you can’t agree on these issues, the judge will make a decision at trial.
It will also be necessary for both of you to attend a co-parenting class before a divorce is granted. The goal of this class is to help you and your spouse recognize and handle the changes in the family dynamic as well as the impact it has on your children. It is not required you attend this class with your spouse and it is offered at various locations and times around Las Vegas by three separate providers.
After you and your divorce lawyer have filed your complaint and your spouse has filed an answer, each of you will exchange all documents that you believe are relevant to your divorce. At this time, you and the divorce lawyers will discuss the issues and attempt to resolve everything. This would include, but not limited to, property distribution, debt distribution and child custody and visitation if you have children. A case management conference will be scheduled by the court to go over your attempt at resolving the issues. The court will also schedule a date for an evidentiary hearing to rule on any issues that remain.At this time, you and your divorce attorneys will have the opportunity to ask the court for any necessary Temporary Protection Orders (TPO). A TPO is sometimes necessary for the court to make immediate, although temporary, decisions that cannot wait until trial such as possession of the home, child custody, child support, attorney fees and alimony. Because this is a temporary order, the court’s final decision may be contrary to the order in the TPO.
In the event you need documents or other information from your spouse or anyone else, you can file for “Discovery.” Discovery may consist of:
- Interrogatories – Consisting of questions and answers administered under Oath
- Request for Production of Documents – A request that a certain party provide you with specific documents such as pay stubs or bank records
- Request for Admissions - Specific questions asking the other party to admit or deny something
- Depositions – A face-to-face interview where a party answers questions under oath
If a trial is conducted, there are normally 6 different categories for the court to decide:
- Division of Debt
- Division of property
- Whether you or your spouse will receive alimony (spousal support)
- Issues of Child Custody
- Divorce Attorney fees
- Child support
If you and your spouse are in agreement on all of the issues, it will not be necessary to make an appearance at court or attend a trial. However, in the event you and your spouse cannot resolve your issues, you both will proceed to trial and the judge will determine the issues for you. You will have the opportunity to present evidence in the form of witnesses and evidentiary documents in support of how you wish the court to rule. Your spouse and his/her divorce attorneys will then have the same opportunity to present his or her case. After listening to both sides, the judge will make a final decision. If you, or your spouse, disagree with the courts ruling, you and your divorce lawyer may appeal the judge’s decision within 30 days.
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