This is the first post in a new series discussing how Nevada’s community property laws impact the divorce of Las Vegas residents. I am beginning this series due to many couples being unaware that Nevada is a community property state. This means that our state’s laws differ from many others in this regard. This can lead to a much different outcome after divorce than what would be had in a non-community property state.
In this series I will be explaining the basic laws that dictate how community property is divided. I will also discuss specific issues regarding property distribution, stemming from divorce, which Las Vegas residents often have questions about. Topics that I will be discussing in more detail include:
- Why an uncontested divorce is often the best choice when property is the main focus of a case
- How property is distributed during a divorce if the couple owns a business
- How property distribution is handled if one member of the couple has received a sizable inheritance
- How debt in a marriage is handled during a Nevada divorce
- How a prenuptial agreement can protect individual property during a divorce
Nevada is a community property state. This means that property which a couple has acquired together during the marriage is considered to be owned equally. All property that is part of the “community” is divided equally amongst the couple in the event of a divorce. The couple will be expected to disclose a list of all assets, along with an estimated value of each asset, to the Court early in the divorce process. The Clark County Family Court Judge will divide property to each person in such a way so that each member of the couple walks away from the marriage with an equal value in assets.
For example, if one person wishes to keep the family car, and its current value is $10,000 (assuming the car is already paid for) then that person would have to give up $5,000 in other assets. If the couple owned a second car of a lesser value, for example $8,000, then one solution might be for the second partner to keep the lesser valued car, and for the first partner to compensate them $1,000 to make up the difference (each spouse would have a net value of $9,000 after the $1,000 payment). A second solution might be for the first partner to concede claims to other property, such as artwork or furniture, until the relinquished assets equal the value of the car. The way in which assets are divided will vary from couple to couple- and the distribution solutions may get creative depending on what the priorities of each person are. However, the bottom line is that each person must walk away with an equal share of the marital assets.
If you are going through a Las Vegas divorce then it is important to hire a family law attorney who understands and can explain our state’s property distribution laws. I practice exclusively in the area of family law and service the greater Las Vegas area. Contact my office today.