Guide To Military Divorce In Nevada
Military divorces in Nevada can be both legally and emotionally challenging. Military divorces must comply with both state and federal laws. This requires navigating detailed laws and regulations on both the state and federal levels, leaving many spouses confused about what they need to do to get a divorce.
Below we outline some general issues that come up in military divorces. However, you should speak with an experienced Nevada military divorce lawyer, like the attorneys at Mills & Anderson, to discuss your case specifics.
Nevada Residency Requirements
You may wonder how to get a military divorce in Nevada. The first step is to make sure that you fulfill Nevada’s residence requirements. Each state has specific residency requirements if you want to pursue a divorce in that state. Nevada is known for quick marriages. People come to places like Las Vegas and Reno to get married. However, to get a divorce in Nevada, you must show that either:
- You or your spouse have lived in Nevada for at least six weeks prior to filing for divorce; or
- You got married in Nevada while both spouses were living there and you file for divorce in the county where you were married.
The Nevada resident spouse will need to file an affidavit with the court to verify that at least one spouse meets the residency requirements.
But suppose one of the spouses is an active duty service member stationed elsewhere, but their state of legal residence is Nevada. The service member’s military legal residence may also satisfy the residency requirements for divorce, but it is not automatic. The Court will consider a number of factors in making divorce residency determination, which can be complicated. That’s why it’s important to have an attorney with experience handling military divorces.
Next, you’ll have to demonstrate that you have legal grounds for divorce, which are the same for both a civilian and military divorce in Nevada. A ground for divorce is a reason under the law that allows you to get a divorce.
Nevada’s grounds for divorce are:
- Living apart for more than one year,
- The insanity of one spouse for two years before the divorce, or
“Incompatibility” is Nevada’s no-fault grounds for divorce. Neither spouse has to prove that one of the spouses is at fault for the marriage ending. They simply state that there’s a marriage breakdown with no hope for reconciliation. In practice, virtually all divorces in Nevada are based on “no-fault” incompatibility.
Delays in Military Divorce Proceedings
Many clients wonder, how long does a military divorce take? Divorces may be quick or lengthy, depending on the circumstances. However, there are added complexities to military divorces.
Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, a court must delay proceedings if a service member provides evidence that they cannot reasonably participate in the matter because of their service.This delay can last up to 90 days initially, or until the service member is able to participate in their representation. Nevada has recently begun using a virtual appearance system, which allows for most court appearances to be attended remotely, removing many of the obstacles to a service member’s participation.
Plus, the military spouse is protected from a default judgment. In a military divorce, a judge cannot grant any judgment against the military spouse if they haven’t appeared in the case. Instead, they must appoint an attorney to try to communicate with the military spouse and delay the case for at least 90 days.
Military Medical Benefits
A civilian spouse may be eligible for medical benefits after a divorce. The 20/20/20 rule dictates medical benefits of civilian former spouses. If the marriage and military service overlapped for more than 20 years, a civilian spouse will generally continue to receive health benefits after a divorce. If the marriage and service only overlapped for 15 years, the civilian spouse only gets one year of medical benefits. The civilian spouse’s medical benefits end if they remarry.
Children of the military spouse maintain medical benefits eligibility regardless of their parent’s relationship status. Generally, military children are covered until they are 21 years old or longer if they are in school or disabled.
Nevada law governs the division of marital assets in a military divorce. Nevada is a community property state. This means that all assets acquired during the marriage, with a few exceptions, are considered marital property. Marital property does not include separate property. Separate property includes individual inheritances, individual gifts, and property acquired before marriage.
Generally, a Nevada court divides community property equally between the spouses. A court may make an unequal division of the property if it finds “compelling reasons” to do so, such as the secreting of assets or hidden expenditures to which the other spouse would not have consented.
A Nevada court may award the civilian spouse a portion of a military pension, which is considered community property under Nevada law. However, the U.S. Department of Finance and Accounting Services (“DFAS”) has specific rules that determine how much it will pay directly to the former civilian spouse. For example, DFAS will only pay the civilian spouse their share of the pension directly if the marriage was at least 10 years long and overlapped with 10 years of military service. Be sure to speak with your experienced military divorce counsel about this and other potential property division issues.
Child custody is complicated regardless of the military status of a parent. Generally, Nevada courts allocate custody based on the specific facts of each case and the child’s best interests.
A military member must also develop a family care plan if:
- The service member has custody of a child under 19 or shares custody with a non-spouse,
- Both parents are service members and have custody of children under 19, or
- The service member is the only caretaker of a child under 19.
A service member must provide a family care plan to their commanding officer within 60 days if they are active duty members and 90 days if they are reserve members.
A military family care plan must include information such as:
- The name and contact information of the child’s other parent,
- Contact information for alternate caregivers,
- The plan for financial support during the servicemember’s absence,
- How the child will be moved to the caregiver’s home, and
- What happens to the child upon the military member’s death.
Each branch of the service may have different family care plan requirements.
Contact Our Firm for a Military Divorce
For your military divorce, you need attorneys well-versed in Nevada divorce law and know the ins and outs of federal law applicable to servicemembers. You need the Mills & Anderson Law Group. The lawyers at Mills & Anderson are highly-experienced family lawyers in Nevada who’ve represented civilians and servicemembers. Contact us today.