This is the next article in my series on how to file for divorce in Nevada. My last article provided an overview of the topics which the series will be addressing. It also stressed the need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible if you are considering ending a marriage. By retaining competent counsel, you help to ensure that your case is handled properly. This can be important for your future financial well-being as well as your relationship with your children. In this article I will be discussing another important topic – Nevada’s residency requirements to file for a divorce. This is an issue which causes confusion for some, which makes it an important point of discussion. If you or a family member are in need of legal assistance then contact my office today to speak with a Las Vegas divorce lawyer.
An individual may file for divorce in Nevada after only residing in the state for six weeks
Nevada has one of the most liberal divorce frameworks in the country. Unlike many other states, where one must be a resident for six months or even a year before filing for divorce, Nevada will allow one to begin the process after living here for only six weeks. Furthermore, Nevada does not have a “cooling-off” period, while many other states do. Residency is not a topic of dispute in most divorce cases. In fact, the only proof that the Court typically requires to show that one is a resident of our state is the completion of an “Affidavit of Residency.” This affidavit is a short form, which one must sign in front of a notary, stating that they have seen the divorcee regularly in our state for the last six weeks or more. These liberal laws and evidentiary requirements are why the issue of residency is seldom challenged in a divorce.
Our State’s liberal divorce standard does not mean that residency is never challenged. It is, unfortunately, not uncommon for an individual to attempt to gain a “quick” divorce by claiming to have moved to Nevada. Such individuals engage in this kind of conduct due to the fact that other states, again, may require a “cooling-off” period which must be met before allowing an individual to file for divorce. People who engage in this type of conduct will typically take steps such as renting an apartment in their name, turning on utilities, etc. Such individuals typically either are not in Nevada during the time at which their apartment is rented, or they are intending to immediately leave the state the moment their divorce is finalized. In such instances, it is possible for your lawyer to file a motion to dismiss the case claiming that the individual is not a resident. The Court may either hold an evidentiary hearing on the issue, or rule that the issue of residency will be decided at trial. The important point to take away from this discussion is that, while establishing residency is relatively straightforward, Las Vegas Family Court judges will also hear any challenges to a “sham” residency.
Simply establishing residency does not mean that Nevada will be able to rule on all of the issues in your divorce
Some people hope to establish a quick Nevada residency so that they may file for divorce. Residency, however, does not mean that the Court will have jurisdiction over all issues in your case. The Court, for example, will not be able to rule on issues of child custody if one’s son or daughter has not been in Nevada for at least 6 months. Moreover, if one’s soon-to-be ex-spouse has never resided in Nevada then our state will not have jurisdiction over any claims that the individual may make for alimony or spousal support. Consider the following example. Joe moves to Nevada and rents an apartment in order to avoid a one year “cooling-off” period in his own state. Joe has a son with his wife. The wife and the son, however, have never stepped foot in Nevada. It is likely that Joe’s wife would be able to file for divorce in her home state, and file to dismiss the Nevada action on the grounds that her home state is a more “convenient” forum as Nevada cannot rule on several important issues. While it is important to remember that how the Court will rule on any given issue is always going to depend on the given facts of the case, the Judge would likely grant the wife’s Motion in this instance.
If you or a loved one are considering filing for divorce then it is important to understand that one must only reside in our state for six weeks in order to commence an action. If you need assistance with a family law matter then contact me today to speak with a Las Vegas divorce lawyer. My office prides itself on providing a high level of service and I look forward to speaking with you. Contact me online or by telephone today.