Most Asked Divorce Questions
Q: What is the difference between divorce and legal separation?
A: A divorce is a complete dissolution of the marriage. A legal separation legally divides the assets and debts of the couple, but they are still married.
>> Divorce vs. Legal Separation
Q: What is the difference between a Joint Petition and Uncontested Divorce?
A: For all practicality they are the same. A Joint Petition is a specific group of forms used for couples to file a divorce without a court hearing. A Joint Petition can be considered an “Uncontested Divorce.” You can get an uncontested divorce without filing Joint Petition forms.
Q: What needs to be decided in a divorce?
A: There are 5 general areas which need to be resolved in a divorce; 1) Child Custody, 2) Child Support, 3) Division of Debt, 4) Division of Property, and 5) Spousal support.
Q: Do I need a reason to file the divorce?
A: In Nevada, it is only necessary to show the court you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences.
Q: How long does a divorce take?
A: Uncontested divorces can take between 30 and 60 days. Contested divorces take between 6 and 12 months.
Q: Should I file first?
A: Filing first is rarely a significant advantage. Filing first may allow you to slightly control the flow of the divorce and allow you to choose court jurisdiction if your spouse lives in another state.
>> Filing for Divorce First
Q: How much does a divorce cost?
A: Uncontested divorces cost between $1,500 and $2,500. Contested divorces average $5,000 to $7,000. Seriously contested divorces can cost as much as $20,000 or $40,000. The costs depends on time invested into the case. During a consult an attorney will give you a ballpark figure of the costs for your divorce.
Q: Can I have my attorney’s fees paid by my spouse?
A: There are several laws and Nevada statutes which authorize judges to award attorney’s fees to either party. These awards can be granted during or at the completion of the trial. Whether you are eligible for fees will depend on the details of your case.
Q: Can we file paperwork ourselves?
A: Yes, you can file paperwork without an attorney. Do you want to is the question? In our opinion the only reason to handle the paperwork yourself is in case where there are no children, and no assets or debts to divide.
>> Filing for an Uncontested Divorce
Q: One of the spouses cheated, does the court care?
A: No. Nevada is a no-fault state and courts do not care about infidelity.
>> Does Cheating Matter in Divorce?
Q: My name is on the house, can I change the locks?
A: Probably not. You are not allowed to lock out your spouse from a home without a court order. The courts understand divorcing couples may find it hard to cohabitate. This issue is usually solved after a divorce has been filed at a Temporary Orders Hearing. At this hearing the court can order one spouse to vacate the house.
>> Kicking a Partner Out
Q: Do we have to sell the house?
A: You first need to first determine if it the house is separate property, or community property. If it is separate property, it will likely be awarded to one spouse. If it is community property, then one spouse must pay to the other party one-half of the equity in the house or the house will be sold and the proceeds divided equally. If the house has no equity, or is upside down, one spouse may be able to keep the home without any payment to the other, but may still have to refinance the other spouse off the loan.
Q: What is community property?
A: Community property is any asset, which have been accumulated during the marriage. Example would be a home, cars, savings accounts, 401(K), and pensions.
>> Division of Community Property
Q: Is inheritance community property?
A: No, inheritance is separate property. However, we have found couples often turn separate property into community property when they add the spouse’s name to the property.
Q: What do we do with debts?
A: Debts are treated just like assets. If they are community then they are divided equally. Just like where you can have separate property you can have separate debts.
Q: Do I need to share my 401(k)?
A: All the money you deposited into your 401(K) during the marriage is community property. This would mean your spouse is entitled to half of those deposits and any appreciation.
>> Pensions & IRAs
Q: How does a Court divide retirement accounts and pension benefits?
A: Under Nevada law, each spouse is entitled to one half of the community interest of the other spouse’s pension or retirement benefits. The court will order a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Retirement Order) which will calculate the value of the community interest of the spouse’s retirement and pension benefits.
Q: When divorced, who pays the debts like credit cards and student loans?
A: Generally, any debt that either party has accumulated before the marriage is considered “separate debt” and the court may not hold the other spouse responsible for separate debt. Debt that a married couple accumulates after the date of marriage is considered “community debt” and the court will order both parties to pay it equally.
Q: How much spousal support (or alimony) will I pay or receive?
A: The court has the discretion to award “just and equitable” alimony to either spouse. There is no exact formula under Nevada law to calculate a certain award of spousal support. The court is obligated to analyze a range of factors when setting an alimony award. Common factors weighing into this analysis are the length of the marriage, the need of the spouse requesting alimony, and the financial ability to pay the other spouse.
Q: What are the factors for determining spousal support?
A: Typical factors include the length of marriage, overall financial situation of each spouse, the present income of each spouse, the standard of living during the marriage.
>> Spousal Support