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How to File For Divorce in Nevada

Nevada acknowledges marriage as social status, but civil unions solemnized under state laws are contracts and subject to dissolution if either party files on statutory grounds (NRS 122.010; NRS 125.010).. Consequently, the judiciary presides over the litigation process that frees couples from the bonds of matrimony. At 9.6 divorces per 1000 women in 2018, the divorce rate in Nevada is markedly higher than the national divorce rate of 7.7 per 1000. Once the litigants meet state requirements, Nevada courts finalize divorces within six to eight weeks, but divorce may take several months if contested and involves complex issues to resolve. 

Do I need a Reason for Divorce in Nevada?

Not necessarily. As Nevada is a no-fault divorce state, litigants seldom need a reason for filing if both parties agree to the divorce. Most divorce filings are based on incompatibility per NRS 125.010 (3), as this ground does not require evidence and lengthy legal scrutiny. There are two other grounds recognized under Nevada laws: separation and insanity. The former requires that one of the spouses had filed for a separation order and that both parties have lived apart for no less than twelve calendar months (NRS 125.010 (2)). There is no further need for corroborating evidence or legal scrutiny. For divorce on the grounds of insanity, however, state laws require that the insanity must be diagnosed at least two (2) years before filing for divorce. This filing is also subject to legal scrutiny and corroborating evidence (NRS 125.010 (1)).

Why do I need a Divorce Lawyer?

Years of legal training give a lawyer knowledge of the law and several years of representing litigants prepare a lawyer for the nuances that accompany divorce proceedings. Many an intending divorcee, with no prior legal background or pressed for time, lack the expertise that an accomplished divorce lawyer possesses. Furthermore, divorce proceedings are notorious for being adversarial, with parties employing perfidy—skirting the law for financial or custodial advantage. A lawyer is best prepared for these uncertainties and simultaneously acts as the voice of reason. Even if one does not intend to hire a lawyer for the entire process, booking one or two consultation sessions with a lawyer is prudent. Many competent lawyers in Nevada offer free consultations with no obligations to pay a retainer. Acting on experiential advice from people who have gone through divorces is not advised, as no two divorces are the same.

How do I Get Started in a Divorce in Nevada?

The residency requirement for filing a divorce in Nevada stipulates that an intending divorcee or the other party must have resided in the state for at least six (6) weeks (NRS 125.020).. The judiciary does not have the statutory authority to issue a divorce decree if one of the spouses does not meet this requirement.

There are five steps to filing a divorce in Nevada. Intending divorce may skip one or more steps depending on the nature of the divorce, i.e., unanimous or contested. If the decision to file for divorce is unanimous, a joint petition or summary divorce applies. Here, both parties must agree on the terms and conditions of the divorce, i.e., the division of financial assets and liabilities, child custody, and support. Otherwise, the parties must go through the following steps:

  • File the paperwork: Here, the plaintiff must visit the office of the clerk of courts and request the appropriate forms—the required paperwork depends on whether there are minors involved. While the number of copies per document differs from county to county, a general rule of thumb is to keep one copy of each filing.

Meanwhile, if both parties desire a summary divorce, and there are no minors involved, only an affidavit is needed. Both parties must agree on all issues, waive their right to spousal support, and waive the right to appeal or a new trial. The parties must also waive the right to receive notice of the final decree of divorce. The clerk of courts will provide the official affidavit required by the court, and the parties must attach a copy of the settlement agreement. A summary divorce proceeds without a hearing if the affidavit and settlement agreement pass a judge’s review.

  • Serve the documents: Here, the plaintiff serves the defendant with copies of the filings (a summary divorce does not require parties to serve documents). The plaintiff must serve the papers through a third-party process server, the sheriff, via regular mail or an indifferent party (Rule 4, Supreme Court Rule of Civil Service Procedure). The server must provide the plaintiff with a proof of service. Alternatively, the defendant must publish a notice in a local newspaper if the defendant is missing or cannot be located. Still, the court requires an affidavit stating that the plaintiff did all due diligence in finding the defendant (Rule 4.4). Upon receipt of the filings, the defendant must respond within 30 days with an answer or a counterclaim. For uncontested divorces, the defendant may waive service by completing a waiver.
  • Complete discovery: Nevada mandates intending divorcees to submit a Financial Disclosure Form listing all financial assets and liabilities. The court must receive this form within 45 days after the plaintiff completes the service of process.
  • Go to mediation: This step applies to contested divorces. The couple must complete mediation with the help of a third party to reach an agreement on the disputed terms and conditions of the divorce. If the couple reaches an agreement before the case moves forward, the plaintiff files the document in court. If mediation fails, however, the judge has the statutory authority to decide all the disputed matters.
  • Meet in court: After completing the above steps, the court will review the filings and grant an absolute divorce decree. In most cases, a court hearing is unnecessary, and issuing the divorce decree takes a couple of weeks. However, for contested cases, the parties must schedule a hearing date where the judge will hear arguments from both parties and issue orders/decrees on the disputes based on the evidence presented. The process typically takes several weeks to complete.

How to File for Divorce in Nevada without a Lawyer

The steps for filing for divorce are no different for self-represented plaintiffs. Nevertheless, the judiciary maintains several helpful resources such as the self-help section, an FAQ page, and other legal resources such as the divorce informational brochure and the law library. Note that the required divorce forms depend on the nature of the divorce and vary from county to county. Consult the clerk of courts for a list of the applicable divorce forms. Court officials cannot proffer legal advice, but they can provide official guidelines. The list and links to download standardized divorce forms is provided below. These forms are usable in any court in Nevada.

  • Joint petition (no minors)
  • Joint petition (with minors)
  • Summons
  • Notice of Entry
  • Affidavit of Resident Witness
  • Family Court Cover Sheet
  • Divorce complaint (with minors)
  • Divorce complaint (without minors)
  • Acceptance of Service of Summons and Complaint
  • Affidavit of Service
  • Affidavit to serve by publication
  • Affidavit of due diligence
  • Certificate of Service
  • Waiver of service
  • Answer to divorce (no counterclaim)
  • Answer with counterclaims (minor involved)
  • Answer with counterclaims (no minors involved)
  • Request for Summary Disposition of Decree of Divorce
  • Affidavit in Support of Summary Disposition for Decree of Divorce
  • Fee waiver application
  • Order Regarding fee waiver
  • Decree of Divorce (no minor)
  • Decree of divorce (with minor)
  • Child Welfare and Identification Sheet (if applicable)
  • Financial Disclosure Form

Note that the provision of these forms do not replace legal advice and official guidelines from court administrative staff.

How Does Nevada Divorce Mediation Work?

Divorce mediation is a confidential dispute resolution process where spouses reach a voluntary agreement with the aid of a trained mediator. Mediation is flexible and allows both parties to have more control over the disputes rather than have a judge decide for them. If successful, both parties will reach a mutually benefiting settlement agreement and present it to the judge. Note that the mediation agreement is not legally binding before the judge issues a verdict; the parties can request a review at any time pending final adjudication.

How Long After Mediation is Divorce Final in Nevada?

It depends. A successful mediation takes a few sessions for parties to reach a settlement agreement, and it is over in a few days. Conversely, when there are complex disputes to resolve, couples have to attend several mediation sessions together or separately. Thus, complex mediations take several weeks. Once the parties reach an agreement and present it to the court, a judge will review the contents and issue a decree. In many cases, the parties do not have to appear in court. If mediation fails or there are still disputes to resolve, the case goes to a hearing on a scheduled date.

Are Divorce Records Public in Nevada?

Yes, divorce records are public documents under the Nevada Public Records Act (NPRA). Nevertheless, the statutory duty of the court is to restrict access to sensitive and confidential information such as information on minors, social security numbers, and financial information (NRS 125.130(3)).. Furthermore, upon request from the divorcees, the court may seal documents containing information that is potentially injurious to the divorcees or violates their privacy rights. The court performs a balancing test of the reasons for sealing against the public’s right to access the records.

Consequently, only authorized entities can access divorce records. An interested member of the public must obtain a court order that grants access to inspect specific documents in a divorce record. Even at that, the record custodian will redact sensitive, confidential, or potentially injurious information before providing access to the requester.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching for records simpler, as geographic locations do not limit their activities. Thus, the search engines on third-party sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or persons involved in the case. These include information such as the city, county, or state of residence or accusation.

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not government-sponsored. Consequently, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How do I Get Nevada Divorce Records?

The interested requester must go to the court where the divorces filed the case in person and during business hours. Use the court directory to find the address and contact information of courts in Nevada counties. At the court, the requester must locate the office of the clerk of courts and submit a written request for the divorce records under Nevada public records act. Court staff will require the name of the parties, date of filing or adjudication, and case number to enable record retrieval. The requester may also provide the name of the attorneys or the presiding judge to narrow down the search.

Mail requests and online availability of divorce records vary from county to county. For example, Clark County provides an online portal for finding court records. Where the county makes its records available online, the searcher must use a search parameter to query the database. However, some drawbacks of online portals are that the limited scope of information and the records obtained are not certified. A visit to the court is necessary to get detailed case information and certified copies of the divorce records. The record custodian will charge a fee to search and reproduce the divorce record. If the requester needs certified copies of the divorce record, additional fees apply. The requester must pay these fees via the payment method accepted by the court, i.e., check, money order, or card. 

Meanwhile, the Office of Vital Records in the Nevada Department of Public Health is in charge of issuing verification of divorces in Nevada between 1986 and 200. The interested party must complete and mail the request form along with a government-issued photo I. D. in a self-addressed stamped envelope. The required verification fee is $10.00.

Office of Vital Records
4150 Technology Way, Suite 104
Carson City, NV 89706
Phone: (775) 684–4242 

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