Divorce vs. Legal Separation in Nevada

Posted: 10 July, 2020

The finality of a divorce isn’t necessarily the most attractive option for couples experiencing marital strife, as it results in a permanent dissolution of the marriage. Another option available to Nevadans is legal separation, also known as separate maintenance. In a legal separation, the spouses establish separate residences while they attempt to resolve their marital issues.

The process of legal separation in Nevada is similar to that of a traditional divorce. In general, one party files suit against the other in the county where either resides. The same grounds that apply to filing for divorce also apply to legal separation. Additionally, if one spouse has been deserted by the other for a period of 90 days or more, the individual may bring an action in district court against the “missing” spouse seeking permanent maintenance and support. Spouses can also agree to an immediate legal separation and make their own arrangements for child and spousal support.

Once an action for separation has been filed by one spouse, the other spouse has 20 days to respond. Upon receipt of the response, the court will schedule a hearing. If no response is received, the court will automatically grant the legal separation.

As with a traditional divorce case, in which it goes through the court process and a final determination is made by a judge, the court has the power to rule in several areas during a legal separation proceeding. The court can assign the possession of real and personal property and decree payments for child and spousal support. The court will also determine the time and manner in which support payments will be made.

The Next Step

The legal separation will remain in force until further action is taken by the parties involved. If at some point the couple decides they want to resume married life and maintain a joint residence for themselves and their children, they must file a motion in divorce court to have the separation dismissed. If one or both parties wish to permanently dissolve the marriage, they must commence divorce proceedings in accordance with Nevada divorce law.

Dating While Legally Separated

Nevada is a no-fault divorce state. That means you don’t need a reason to divorce your spouse. Divorce courts also don’t care why you choose to divorce. If one spouse cheats, that will not affect the outcome of the asset division.

There is no legal penalty for dating while legally separated. It’s the same as how there is no legal penalty for dating while you are married.

If you have a prenuptial agreement in place, review it with divorce lawyers to make sure there isn’t an infidelity clause. Those are the only things that can impose penalties for dating while legally separated.

Whether you choose to date or not after your legal separation is up to you and your moral code. There is no penalty in the legal system.