Joint Petition for Divorce

Not every divorce has to be riddled with conflict. In many situations, couples decide that a divorce in both of their interests and they can proceed with the process together. Cooperating with one another and using a divorce lawyer  to draft the documents will make the divorce process easier, faster, and less expensive.

Technically there are two ways for an uncontested divorce to unfold;

  • Both spouses complete and sign a joint petition
  • One spouse files a divorce, afterwards both spouses sign an uncontested divorce decree

Joint Petition

In Nevada, couples can file a Joint Petition for an uncontested divorce.  If they agree on every aspect of their separation, including property division and child custody, a Joint Petition can be filed. This type of divorce petition is faster and less expensive because you rarely have to appear in court.  The spouses simply sign the documents and the judge approves the divorce. The divorce is then finalized after it is filed. The approval process can be as short as 10 to 15 days.  However, the average time is 30 to 60 days.

Joint Petition Information

You have a lot to consider before filing for a divorce. There are, of course, the emotional and sentimental aspects that are certainly a big part of your decision, but there are more practical issues as well. Once you and your spouse have decided that divorce is a good idea for your situation, you need to discuss the details of what the divorce will look like.

The first step is to itemize all of your assets and resources. This includes not only shared assets but also things that you own by yourself as well, including vehicles or bank accounts that are only in your name. In situations where couples have been separated for some time, they may think that they do not have to list their separate bank accounts, but this is not the case. If you have been legally married throughout your separation, then you need to list every asset.

Failure to draft a detailed a divorce decree is one of the biggest issues we see.   We have had the unfortunate pleasure of helping clients undue a poorly drafted joint petition.  For example, if a couple have been separated for a year they think their individual bank accounts are theirs and don’t need to be included as property on the document.  Not true.  Those bank accounts are community property and need to be discussed in a decree.

A good joint petition will list all the husband’s assets, and all the wife’s assets.  By listing all property, even items owned before the marriage, neither spouse can file a future lawsuit claiming the decree left something undecided.

Property to be listed may include:

  • The marital home
  • Other real estate
  • Vehicles, recreational vehicles, and boats
  • Bank accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Pension and retirement accounts
  • Life insurance policies
  • Personal property (usually anything sentimental or worth of $500 or more)

You should also list out the debts that you acquired during your marriage. In a divorce, the assets are not the only things to be divided.   A good divorce decree should list who is responsible for which debts.

Spousal support and decisions involving children are often more heated or passionate discussions compared to dividing assets or debts. Nonetheless, you and your spouse must agree on these issues as well to file an uncontested divorce.

Spousal support (also known as alimony) will generally be awarded if one spouse cannot maintain the lifestyle they had before the divorce without additional funds from the other spouse. That often means that the spouse that makes more money may end up paying spousal support Spousal support can have a specified duration, such as years, or until spouse finishes school.

Some of the same considerations will apply to child support, depending on who has physical custody of the kids. You must also decide on legal custody and physical custody of the children. Visitation schedules should be established as part of the Joint Petition.

Speaking to Your Spouse About Divorce

Many clients have decided to file a divorce and feel their spouse will sign the documents, or feel there spouse should sign the documents. Nonetheless, bringing up the topic is rarely easy. How can you tell whether your spouse is ready or willing to file a Joint Petition for a Divorce?

We have found the number one way to take a spouse’s temperature is to discuss our Joint Petition Worksheet.   The worksheet was initially created to gather information from clients about the terms they had agreed upon.   We quickly realized it became a useful document to discuss divorce with your spouse.   By talking about the document, you could tell if they were comfortable with a divorce, what specific issues they were uncomfortable with, or whether they wouldn’t agree to sign anything.  It became a document to quickly take your spouse’s temperature.

Have you and your spouse talked about what will happen if things do not work out? Have you already discussed divorce? Knowing where your spouse stands from an emotional standpoint will make the actual conversation much easier.

Picking an appropriate time to have the conversation will be extremely important to encourage a rational, adult discussion. If possible, try to choose a time when you have some time to yourselves to discuss. Ask a friend or family member to take the children for the evening. Avoid situations when the spouse is ill or when some other terrible event occurred, such as a job termination or loss of a loved one. Timing is critical.

During the actual conversation, it is important to be calm and collected. Screaming at your spouse is rarely productive, and blame only makes the conversation worse. Be prepared for their reaction. Even though you have spent a lot of time planning for this conversation, he or she likely has not.  All them a allow a little bit of time for the idea to sink in.

The first conversation may not be the best time to discuss the details of the divorce. Speaking in broad terms will likely be easier for both spouses at this point. You can hammer out the details after you have both had some time to consider the ramifications. However, you can get a feel for your spouse.  Does he or she seem completely unwilling to divorce? Or does it seem like the idea has some appeal for your spouse?

Because all of these decisions can be extremely difficult to discuss with a level head, having an experienced divorce attorney to run ideas by is crucial. A rational, knowledgeable third-party may have insight that you had not considered.   Contact our team of divorce lawyers if you need to discuss your options and the best way to approach your spouse.

Download Joint Petition Worksheet.