Fact or Fiction: The Truth About Divorce in Reno, Nevada

Misconceptions can create problems when trying to obtain a divorce in Nevada. Divorce lawyers assist couples navigate the process.

Speedy Divorces

Reno was once the divorce capital of the United States because of how quick and easy it was to get a divorce . This led to the misconception that it is possible to get a divorce in just a day in Nevada. Although that could happen in the ’50s, that is no longer possible because of factors like:

  • Budget cuts
  • Larger population in Nevada
  • Overwhelmed family courts

Occasionally, final decrees for uncontested divorces may be received from the court in two or three days. Normally, however,  the entry of the decree can take up to 60 or more days. Contested divorce decrees are usually written by one of the parties’ attorneys, if not, because there are no attorneys, the Court must draft the decree, which will most likely cause a decree to wait longer than had at least one of the parties hired an attorney.

Infidelity Matters

Nevada is a no-fault state. Therefore, the court does not consider infidelity when dividing marital assets; however, other factors of the infidelity can impact the division of assets.  Consult with an attorney at Surratt Law Practice if you are in this situation.

Physical Custody

A stay-at-home parent getting full physical custody of the children is a common misconception. Nevada strongly favors shared physical and legal custody. The state’s family courts tend to grant both parents equal time with their children, unless one spouse gives full physical custody voluntarily, or one spouse cannot exercise joint phyical custody,  or the children are unsafe with the other parent.

Spouse Not Agreeing to Divorce

In the past, people needed specific reasons and strong evidence to get a divorce. This is no longer applicable. A spouse can make the divorce process more difficult or longer, but they cannot stop it from happening.

Common Law Marriage:  There is no common law marriage in the State of Nevada, it was abolished in 1943.

Lifelong Alimony for Stay-at-Home Parents

Stay-at-home spouses who never worked during the marriage used to be awarded alimony for the rest of their lives, especially if their marriages were long-term. This is no longer common. Courts usually do not grant spouses lifelong alimony.  Alimony factors range from the earning capacity of each spouse to physcial disabilities.  Alimony is nuanced and requires legal advice.

There is plenty of misinformation about divorces in Nevada. Friends or colleagues may have gone through a divorce a few years ago, but they may not be as familiar with the local laws applicable to a person’s situation as divorce lawyers will likely be.

Kimberly Surratt served for eight years on the executive council and has been the vice chair and then chair of the State Bar of Nevada Family Law Section. In addition, she is the President-Elect of the Nevada Justice Association and the chair of the domestic lobbying committee. She has lobbied with the Nevada Justice Association since 2004.

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