This is the next post is a series of articles discussing the process by which Las Vegas residents may file for divorce when their spouse is not living in the country. My previous article discussed the various ways in which an individual can be served with a Complaint for divorce when they are outside of the U.S. Arranging for service of process for expatriates can be complicated, particularly when their whereabouts are uncertain. It is important to consult with your attorney to determine how best to handle this situation. In this article, I will discuss the process of divorcing an out-of-country spouse when the matter can be resolved through a joint settlement. This process may not be right for everyone. It is important to review your options with an experienced family lawyer to ensure that your interests are protected. If you need assistance, contact my office to schedule a consultation with an attorney.
When two spouses are in agreement on the terms of their divorce, including the division of property, alimony, child custody, and child support, they may file for an uncontested divorce in the state of Nevada. This is true even if one spouse is living out of the country. Like any other divorce proceeding, the filing party must meet Nevada’s residency requirements. Assuming such requirements have been met, the process begins with the filing of a Joint Petition For an Uncontested Divorce, which will include the parties’ agreement on all of the elements mentioned above. The Joint Petition must be served on the other party, either personally or through the US consulate. If the Court orders a hearing to discuss the Petition, which is generally a formality in uncontested proceedings, the party who is outside of the country will likely be permitted to participate by telephone or teleconference. It is important to note that both spouses will be required to provide original signatures and meet notary public requirements on court documents and, therefore, gathering the information may take more time depending upon the whereabouts of the individual.
The decision of whether to settle a divorce through an uncontested proceeding is an important one and may not be right for all couples. Settlement is generally faster and less expensive than an uncontested divorce. If the parties disagree about any element of the settlement agreement, however, the Court will require them to proceed with a contested divorce proceeding. In addition, once a settlement agreement is finalized, the parties are not normally able to modify its terms in the future. If a person is facing uncertainty about future finances, for instance, it may be unwise to agree to a spousal support amount or property division just to save time and money from an uncontested divorce. If a contested divorce is required and a spouse is living outside of the country, the process is similar to an in-state contested divorce. As stated above, the defendant must be served with the Complaint as well as other filings throughout the case either personally, through the consulate, or via publication if they cannot be located. They may participate in hearings remotely and must also provide original signatures on documents when required. Your attorney can help you understand which process best protects your interests and how to navigate the system when your spouse is abroad.
My office has experience handling divorces under these circumstances and is ready to assist you. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with a Las Vegas family lawyer.