What are the Grounds for a No Fault Divorce in Nevada?
Nevada is one of the easiest places in the country to get married. All it takes is a ride to the Marriage Bureau for a certificate, a drive thru ceremony at one of the many wedding chapels, and you’re on you’re way to marital bliss. Somewhat ironically, Nevada has also made itself one of the easiest places to get divorced. Below are some of the requirements one must meet in order to file for divorce and an explanation of the “no fault” rules of Nevada’s community property laws.
The Nevada courts have jurisdiction to dissolve a marriage based on the residency of at least one of the parties. Residency for the purposes of filing a divorce consists of
A. Living in Nevada for at least six weeks prior to filing a complaint for divorce, and
B. Having a present and indefinite intent to make Nevada your home.
If you meet these two requirements, you can file a complaint for divorce in Nevada. This is true even if your spouse has never lived here, or even set foot in the state. However, the court’s ability to make decisions about your community property will be extremely limited if your spouse has never resided in Nevada and the property that needs to be divided is located in another state. In such a case, the Court can grant you a divorce dissolving your marital status, but it will NOT adjudicate your property rights relative to your ex-spouse.
The courts also have the ability to divorce couples who lived in Nevada at the time they were married but have since moved out of the state, provided that they file for divorce in the county in which they were married.
2. Grounds for divorce.
Unlike many other states, the grounds, or reasons, for filing for divorce in Nevada are quite simple. Specifically:
a. Insanity existing for 2 years prior to the commencement of the action. Upon this cause of action the court, before granting a divorce, shall require corroborative evidence of the insanity of the defendant at that time, and a decree granted on this ground shall not relieve the successful party from contributing to the support and maintenance of the defendant, and the court may require the plaintiff in such action to give bond therefor in an amount to be fixed by the court.
b. When the husband and wife have lived separate and apart for 1 year without cohabitation the court may, in its discretion, grant an absolute decree of divorce at the suit of either party.
After reading the three causes upon which you could file for divorce, you may wonder why section “a” and “b” above are necessary at all. The answer is, they are not. Nevada law allows you to file for divorce if you are willing to state that you are “incompatible” in marriage. As a rule of thumb, this means that your likes, dislikes and dispositions have become so divergent that you can no longer live as husband and wife and there is no hope for reconciliation. In short, you are no longer “compatible” with your spouse. There is no need to provide any evidence to prove this beyond a sworn affidavit; provided you meet the jurisdictional requirements explained above and you are willing to say you are incompatibly married, you will get a divorce.
3. No Fault rules.
Nevada is a community property state, which essentially means that any debt incurred or asset acquired during the existence of the marriage is community property. Nevada law directs the courts to divide community property “equally” upon granting a decree of divorce. Unlike some other states, the misconduct, abuse, and/or infidelity of one spouse is NOT a basis upon which the court can make an unequal disposition of property. Only in situations where a spouse’s misconduct can be shown to have had a substantial effect on the value of the community property can the court compensate the other spouse for the misconduct.
The most common example in Nevada is gambling. Often, one spouse will develop a gambling addiction that results in significant financial losses to the marital community. These gambling losses are relatively easy, though time-consuming, to prove since habitual gamblers use “player’s club” cards that track their winning and losses electronically. Additionally, bank records can provide the location and amount of ATM withdrawals, which will inevitably have occurred in large amounts from machines located inside a casino.
In such a situation, the Court may do one of two things. First, if there is any debt associated with the gambling, the court may assign 100% to the party incurring the debt rather than split the debt equally. Additionally, the Court may award more than 50% of the remaining assets to the non-gambling party to compensate for the assets that were wasted due to the gambling of the other spouse. The Courts will not, however, undertake such a task in cases involving recreational gambling or where the spouse was aware of the problem and did nothing to stop it. Such a remedy is only involved where the losses are substantial and have been secreted from the non-gambling spouse.
The question is often asked whether infidelity or spousal abuse will result in the victimized spouse receiving more of the marital assets in the divorce. The short answer is no. Again, unless the misconduct can be directly tied to financial loss, the court is required to make an equal division of the marital community. While it is possible that a court may reimburse the victim of spousal abuse for medical expenses, or the victim of infidelity for funds spent on the other’s indiscretions, it is the victim’s burden to prove the exact amount of the damage sustained and link it to the misconduct before the Court can award compensation.
If you have any questions about what you’ve read or would like additional information on divorce in Nevada, please feel free to comment or contact our lawyers for a consultation.
Mills & Anderson Law Group focuses its practice on family law in Las Vegas, including divorce, custody, child support, spousal support, alimony, guardianship, adoption, termination of parental rights, and abuse and neglect proceedings. We also practice in the areas of corporate consulting, contracts, business organizations and criminal law. If there is a specific topic you would like information on, feel free to comment on the blog or contact us directly via our “contact us” page.