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 joint divorce 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, or one spouse files a divorce, and afterwards both spouses sign an uncontested divorce decree.  In this article we are going to discuss the joint petition method, also known as an “uncontested divorce”, or a “joint divorce”.

Joint Divorce, or Uncontested Divorce

In Nevada, Joint Petition, Joint Divorce, and Uncontested Divorce mean the same thing.  Couples can file a form called a Joint Petition for an uncontested divorce.   If they agree on every aspect of their divorce, including property division, debts, spousal support, child support,  and child custody, a Joint Petition can be filed.  This type of divorce  is faster and less expensive than a contested divorce because you rarely have to appear in court.  The spouses simply sign the documents the divorce lawyer drafts,  the documents are signed by a judge, and then filed with the court. The entire process can be completed in as little as 10 to 15 days.  However, the average time is 30 to 60 days.

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?

Picking an appropriate time to have the conversation will be extremely important to encourage a rational, adult discussion. 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 may not have.  Allow them a little bit of time for the idea to sink in.  Here is an article we wrote about How to Talk About Divorce with your spouse.

Testing the Divorce Waters

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?

After you have broken the ice,  you need to test the waters and see what terms your spouse is looking for in the divorce. We have found the best way to see what they want is to discuss our joint petition worksheet.   The worksheet was initially created to gather information from clients about the terms they had  already agreed upon.   We quickly realized it was also a useful document to discuss divorce terms with your spouse.   By reviewing the document together, you can tell what they want, what they don’t really know, what they wouldn’t agree to.  The worksheet is a useful tool to test the waters.   Download Joint Petition Worksheet.

Joint Petition Information

The main step with the worksheet is to itemize all of your income, assets, and debts.  This includes community assets and assets which are in your name only.  We see situations where couples have been physically separated for some time, who think that they do not have to list their separate bank accounts.  Or couples who spent their whole marriage using separate bank accounts.   You need to list everything, and allow the divorce attorney to explain what is community property and what is separate property.   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:

  • House, and other real estate
  • Vehicles, recreational vehicles, and boats
  • Bank accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Pension and retirement accounts
  • Personal property (usually anything sentimental or worth of $500 or more)

After all the property, and debts have been listed you can decide who gets what or who is responsible for which debts.   Don’t worry if you can’t completely agree.   Our divorce lawyers can mediate a lot of property and debt disputes.

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.  Child support can be calculated using our child support calculator.  You must also decide on legal custody  and physical custody of the children. Visitation schedules should also be established as part of the joint petition.

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. Spousal support can have a specified duration, such as years, or until spouse finishes school.  We have a spousal support calculator.

Not every spouse will agree to settle, and file an uncontested divorce.  This is not unusual.  Sometimes it based on a lack of information, and sometimes it is purely emotional.  For some tips on getting your spouse to agree read Why Won’t My Spouse Settle.