Top Divorce Questions
Divorce can be one of the most challenging areas of law. Couples are often dealing with years of buried emotions, financial uncertainty, the division of property and debts, and custody of children. A good divorce attorney needs to be part litigator, part therapist and part CPA. Below are questions that our Las Vegas Divorce Lawyers are most frequently asked.
Q: What needs to be decided in a divorce?
A: The divorcing parties or the court will need to decide the five major areas; 1) Child Custody, 2) Child Support, 3) Division of Debt, 4) Division of Property, and 5) Spousal support. Not all of these areas are applicable in each divorce and some divorces will have additional areas such as health insurance, custody of pets, and community property issues of a business.
Q: How does a court calculate child support?
A: Child support amounts are based on number of children, level of custody, and monthly income. The calculation percentages and amounts are established by the Nevada legislature and are updated periodically. More information can be found at our Child Support Calculation page.
A: A community property state is one where the assets and debts accumulated by a married couple during the marriage are owned equally by the couple. During a divorce in a community property state, all assets and debts labeled as community property are split 50/50.
Q: How do we handle a house that is financially upside down?
A: Upside down houses are a challenge in a divorce. First consideration is whose name is on the mortgage. Second consideration is if either couple wants to keep the home as their residence and can they afford the payment without the other individual’s financial assistance. If the party that wants the house, is on the mortgage and can afford the payment then you may be able to keep it.
Q: How is spousal support calculated?
A: Spousal support is based on years of marriage, number of years married, need or ability to pay, and the amount of income earned. This calculation is subjective and an attorney should review the possible factors in determining spousal support.
Q: How long does a divorce proceeding take?
A: The time period for finalizing a divorce varies on the type of case and the current court schedule. Cases without custody or property issues can take 30 to 45 days. Cases with complex property issues or contested custody disputes can take up to 6 or 7 months.
Q: What is a Joint Petition?
A: When both parties agree to all of the terms of a divorce, they may choose to file a Joint Petition. This document is basically telling the court that they want a divorce and agree to all the issues that need to be decided; ie, child custody, child support, etc.
Q: In Nevada, on what grounds can I ask for divorce?
A: In Nevada it is only necessary to show the court you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences. If you can show the court that the two of you have not lived together as a married couple for over a year, this may also be grounds for a divorce. Nevada is a no-fault state; this means it is not necessary to show the court that adultery or mental cruelty occurred during the marriage.
Q: How long do I need to live in Nevada prior to filing for divorce?
A: In Nevada it is required you reside in the state for no less than six weeks before you can file for divorce. It will also be necessary to have another person available who can attest to your being a resident in the state for that time period.
Q: What does the court decide throughout a divorce?
A: Division of debts, division of property, child custody and support if there are minor children, and spousal support are some of the more common issues a court decides on in a divorce.
Q: Does the court divide property and or debts 50/50 between two spouses?
A: Typically, there is a 50/50 division. Although every case presents it’s own set of circumstances and the court may use its discretion in making these decisions.
Q: How exactly is property distributed among divorcing couples?
A: In some cases, community assets may not cover community debts or perhaps certain property cannot easily be divided, such as the marital home or a motor vehicle. In this instance, property of one spouse that is not seen as community property may be utilized to pay debts, or it could be used to make the division of community property equivalent.
Q: Will a prenuptial be considered valid if it was signed before the marriage?
A: The court will determine if a prenuptial agreement is valid and whether or not to enforce it by taking many factors into account. Nevada Revised Statutes also has statutory requirements the court must consider.
Q: How is child custody determined by the court?
Q: Does the non-custodial parent always have visitation rights?
A: Most of the time, yes. There are however cases in which the non-custodial parent will be ordered to have no contact with the children. If parental rights have been terminated for some reason, visitation will not be ordered by the court.
Q: When there are minor children, is counseling a requirement?
A: In Clark County, a parenting class is required. This helps divorcing couples learn to co-parent their children.
Q: Am I required to have an attorney?
A: It is your Constitutional right if you choose to represent yourself. You will find there is plenty of self-help legal information and documents available. However, the law constantly changes and is extremely complex. Representing yourself could lead to grave mistakes that may prove difficult to rectify. Seeking the help of experienced legal counsel can assure your rights are protected.
Q: Is it necessary to appear in court?
A: Every case is different and many issues will determine your need to appear in court. Your attorney will try to curtail your appearance in court as much as possible.