Filing for a divorce can be very difficult. That’s why we put this free divorce guide together to help you.
Aside from its emotional toll, there can be many challenges that one will face when going through the filing process. Because this procedure can be quite complicated, you must know what to expect to best prepare for what is to come.
Some common challenges that individuals encounter when filing for divorce include filing fees, knowing what county to file in, or even merely determining if they are eligible to file in Nevada. The situation becomes even more complicated when factors such as deciding which spouse will receive child custody or having limited financial resources come into play.
Thankfully, throughout this detailed divorce guide, we will explain every part of the process, so you know what to anticipate. We will also address common problems and how to fix them, so you know what to do should any issues arise when filing.
Ready to know all there is to know about filing for divorce in Nevada? Let’s dive into our divorce guide.
It costs money to file a divorce case in Nevada. It also costs money to defend a Nevada divorce.
In Las Vegas, the filing fee usually depends on the type of divorce case filed and also on whether you started the case or whether you are defending the case. The amount of the filing fee also depends on whether the case is contested or uncontested.
If you cannot afford the filing fees for your family law case, you may ask the court to waive the fees. This process is known as proceeding in forma pauperis.
To proceed in forma pauperis, you have to ask the judge to review your case and explain your financial situation. You need to provide proof to the judge by way of a financial affidavit, stating that you cannot pay the fees.
Your divorce judge will review your request to waive the fees. If the judge agrees to waive the filing, they will sign an order you must file with the court. You must also serve a copy of the order setting aside the filing fees on your spouse.
Where Should I File My Nevada Divorce Case?
You may file for a divorce:
- in the county where your spouse lives,
- in the county where either spouse lives,
- where the spouses last lived together,
- where the cause of the divorce happened,
- or where the plaintiff lived six weeks before the filing of the complaint for divorce.
When you consider the county to file your divorce, you should keep in mind that you may need to return to court to enforce court orders or change the terms of your divorce, especially if you have minor children.
As a result, filing a divorce in a county where you may obtain a divorce quickly, might prove inconvenient years later when you need to return to court to change the terms of your decree.
For example, parties who live in Las Vegas wish to file a joint petition with children and decide to file in Nye County, because that is where the cause of the divorce happened. They believe that if they file in Nye County, they will obtain their divorce decree in two days instead of waiting two weeks if they file in Clark County. Five years later, one party wants to change the visitation provisions in their divorce. The parties would then need to return to Nye County to litigate these matters even though neither party may be living there.
Therefore, it is essential to consider where you are living and where you may be living in the future when deciding to file a Nevada divorce action.
While many divorces resolve with the decree of divorce, sometimes the parties are required to return to court for various reasons after the divorce is final. It is vital to select a filing location while meeting the filing requirements, which is not only convenient now but also in the future.
Who Can Get Divorced in Nevada?
Either spouse may file for Divorce in Nevada as long as that spouse has statutory grounds for the divorce and meets the residency requirement for filing.
The three statutory grounds for Divorce in Nevada are:
- insanity, and
- spouses were living separate and apart for more than one year.
If a spouse is filing for divorce on the grounds of insanity, the spouse must demonstrate the insanity existed two years before the filing of the divorce.
As for the residency requirement, to divorce in Nevada, the spouse must have been permanently present within the borders of the state for six weeks before filing the divorce action.
To establish residency, the filing spouse must obtain an affidavit signed by a neutral third-party who will tell the court that they have seen the filing spouse in Nevada at least three to four times per week for the six weeks before filing the complaint.
If you have children, your children, the child or children of the parties must be residents of the State of Nevada for at least six months before the filing for divorce. If your children have not lived here for at least six months before filing your case, the court may grant the divorce, but may not issue decisions regarding child support, custody or visitation.
Nevada is a No-Fault Divorce State
As a family law attorney in Las Vegas, I have heard more than once from a prospective client, “my spouse had an affair, and I want the judge to know all about it.” In most Nevada divorces, the fact that a spouse had an affair, or was abusive, or gambled, is frequently overlooked because Nevada is a no-fault jurisdiction.
While no-fault divorce is the standard in Nevada, fault can often play a role in divorce cases.
In Nevada, there are three reasons a court will consider in granting a divorce. These include (1) insanity that existed at least two years before anyone filed divorce; (2) the fact that the parties did not live together for at least one year before the filing for divorce and (3) incompatibility. In other words, to get a divorce in Nevada, you do not have to demonstrate misconduct on the part of your spouse. You simply have to tell the judge, you don’t want to continue to be husband and wife anymore and that you will not reconcile. It is not necessary to demonstrate that your spouse was unfaithful, abusive, a drug addict or alcoholic, or one of the hundred other reasons people get divorced, to obtain a divorce in Nevada.
If your divorce is not one where alimony, child custody, or a significant division of assets and debts will be at issue, then the fact that your spouse had an affair, will likely not even be considered by the judge. The good news is that you can usually divorce quickly and relatively inexpensively. You simply need to tell the judge you want a divorce for one of the three reasons stated above (likely incompatibility), and your case usually will get resolved relatively quickly. However, if your divorce involves dividing assets and debts, alimony, and child custody, fault may still be relevant.
However, fault may affect the division of assets and debts in your divorce case. The division of assets and liabilities in Nevada begins with the premise that everything acquired during a marriage is community property and, therefore, should be divided equally between the parties. Even though Nevada is a no-fault divorce state, and also though Nevada law says that assets and debts get divided equally, fault may be relevant during a divorce.
For example, if your spouse had a gambling problem and piled up tons of credit card debts to support the gambling habit, there is a good chance that your spouse will be 100% liable for that debt. Likewise, if your spouse spent the entire savings account on an affair, chances are a judge will find another asset to award you to make up for the waste of the savings account. All in all, while fault is not relevant as grounds for divorce, it may be relevant when it comes to splitting up assets and debts.
Fault can also affect alimony in a Nevada divorce. For divorcing spouses in Nevada, it is not unusual that a cheating spouse leaves the marital residence and moves in with their lover. In this circumstance, a judge may consider the bills and costs associated with maintaining the marital residence and award maintenance to the non-cheating spouse who is now responsible for the residence and debts throughout the divorce process.
Another scenario where the fault may affect alimony is when a spouse leaves the marriage to move in with a significant other and starts getting support from that person. In that situation, the abandoning spouse may have difficulty claiming alimony since the court can consider all sources of support, as well as need, as a basis for making alimony awards.
Finally, fault can affect custody in your Nevada divorce. Harmful behaviors such as recreational drug use, excessive drinking, going out all night and leaving children alone, and a whole host of other actions may be grounds to award custody to the not-at-fault parent. Also, a spouse that has an affair with a child abuser or child molester will likely lose custody of their children. In these circumstances, “fault” is relevant to determining the best interests of children.
Options for Filing a Nevada Divorce Without Litigation
A joint petition is also referred to as a two-signature divorce in uncontested divorce cases.
A joint petition is only appropriate when you and your ex have agreed to all aspects of the divorce, including, not limited to:
- child custody,
- child support,
- child health insurance,
- the child tax deduction,
- extra-curricular expenses,
- divisions of assets and debts and spousal support.
A court cannot have 99% of your divorce issues agreed to in a joint petition. The parties must have 100% of the problems in the divorce decided to qualify for a joint petition divorce.
A joint petition divorce is usually the fastest way to divorce. Our office can generally process the joint petition paperwork and have the divorce completed within 14 days from the date the joint petition gets filed. Sometimes, it takes longer, and sometimes it is faster. The time it takes to process the joint petition is primarily up to each judge. Some judges are faster than others, but a useful guideline is about two weeks.
In addition to the joint petition, you will also need at least three other documents to be submitted to the judge to get your divorce finalized. These documents include an affidavit of resident witness, a request for summary disposition, and your decree of divorce. If you have children, you will need to complete the COPE class and submit your certificates to the court before you can divorce. If you are dividing pensions and retirement plans, you will need to provide your QDROs after the divorce gets finalized.
One of the benefits of a joint petition is that it rarely requires a court appearance. If the paperwork gets completed entirely and correctly, a joint petition is usually approved by the judge without the parties appearing in court. If a party changes their mind about the joint petition or if the paperwork is not complete, a Court appearance may be necessary.
Collaborative divorce is one alternative to divorce litigation. A collaborative divorce is a method of dissolving a marriage where the parties and their attorneys agree to resolve conflicts by employing cooperative techniques rather than adversarial strategies and litigation. Everyone involved is committed to resolving the case through negotiation rather than in court. As a result, the parties and their attorneys agree to have no litigation during the negotiation period.
Before the negotiation period begins, the parties agree that they cannot settle, the lawyers will withdraw from the process and not participate in the ensuing litigation. It is understood by all involved that their attorney’s role is limited to settlement negotiations only. Besides, the agreement usually specifies the terms for ending the collaborative process.
A collaborative divorce is for individuals with families and significant assets. If you have a family, a collaborative divorce is an effective way to allow each side in the divorce to reach a fair solution and resolve differences. The collaborative process allows divorcing parties to focus on the emotional issues involved in the divorce. In court, the judge is not particularly concerned about the parties’ emotional wellbeing so much as making a decision that is in the children’s best interests. The collaborative process allows the parties to focus on working together.
Also, the collaborative process requires complete disclosure of all facts and assets. In cases with substantial assets, background checks, skip traces, bank subpoenas, and business evaluation experts can become very costly very quickly. The collaborative process requires both parties to report their assets and debts fully. It requires the parties to obtain neutral experts and permits the parties to share the cost of those experts, which will save the parties money as compared with each party retaining their expert as is required in litigation.
Be advised that a collaborative divorce is not for every divorcing couple. It requires a strong commitment by both parties to achieve results, manage their emotions, act in the best interests of their children, and avoid litigation. Also, a collaborative divorce may be expensive if the process fails. This setback could add additional time and expense and will require both sides to hire a new attorney if the process breaks down. As a result, a party unwilling to compromise or work with the opposing team toward achieving a divorce is not a candidate for collaborative divorce.
The Case Management Conference in Nevada Divorces
You need a Case Management Conference (CMC) in almost every divorce and custody case in Nevada. A CMC is a hearing that is usually scheduled by the court within 90 days of a filed complaint. If you are a party to the divorce proceeding, your attendance at the CMC is required.
A Case Management Conference is a time when the judge tries to find out what needs to be done in your case to finalize your divorce or custody matter. If you have been able to reach agreements about specific items like support, visitation, and holiday schedules, the CMC is the time to tell the judge your arrangements.
It is also the time to tell the judge the items upon which you and the other party cannot agree. Sometimes the court will guide you on the disputed issues to see if you can reach agreements at the CMC.
The CMC is not the time to argue the merits of your case. You do not need to bring your witnesses to the CMC. Also, the judge will not accept or review documents at the CMC, so you should leave these documents at home.
The hearing typically lasts ten to thirty minutes. Once you have informed the court of the issues remaining in the case, the court will tell you deadlines for completing discovery, identifying witnesses, and give you a date for trial. The judge may also order the parties to mediation or a settlement conference to attempt to resolve the case before trial.
Having an attorney present at the CMC is recommended but not required. It is an attorney’s job to appear in court and inform the court of your position. A well-qualified family law attorney will ensure that trial is scheduled with enough time to complete discovery for your contested issues.
An experienced attorney will also be able to preserve your rights and make sure that the problems you most want to be addressed at trial get added in the Court record.
Nevada Divorce Motion Hearings
A motion hearing is one of the proceedings that might occur if you are going through a Nevada divorce.
Some litigants proceed to court under the mistaken belief that the motion hearing is an episode of Springer where they will get to tell the judge all of the horrible, awful things their ex has ever done. Others bring an entourage of people with the expectation that they will be allowed to have friends and family tell the judge what a wonderful parent they happen to be.
But here’s what you need to know about motion hearings during your Nevada divorce:
A motion is a written request to the family law judge to decide on specific legal matters. In newly filed cases, it could be asking for temporary orders like establishing a temporary custody or visitation schedule, establishing an initial child support award or alimony, or having your ex pay for your preliminary attorney fees.
If your family law motion gets filed after your divorce is final, the motion usually deals with requests to modify a prior order like changing custody or visitation, altering spousal support, or lowering child support.
Usually, one side files a motion, along with notice of the action to the other side, and the other side has an opportunity to file a written response, which gets referred to as an Opposition.
The hearing on the motion is the time set for the family law judge to hear from each of the parties about the information contained in the written papers (motion and opposition).
At the hearing, each party can argue their position, and the judge can ask specific questions about the fact or law. At the end of the hearing, the judge will make orders based upon the arguments presented. These orders may be temporary if the judge wants to have a trial on the issues showed, or they may be final orders if the judge feels that further hearings are not necessary to decide the issues.
A motion hearing is not a trial. A motion hearing is not the time to bring all of your witnesses to a court or bring every single document you have ever accumulated against the other side. The judges will usually not take evidence or hear from witnesses at the motion hearing.
A motion hearing is not the time to argue to the judge that your spouse is a piece of garbage. If you plan to go into your motion hearing and air your dirty laundry, think again. Usually, the judge will not let you speak for an extended period, and the judge is only interested in hearing the matters raised in the motion.
Most motion hearings are set on a stacked calendar, meaning that the judge will be hearing 10-12 motions that day. The judge will not have all day to listen to the parties drone on and on. The judge will likely keep the pace of the motion moving and will expect you to present your argument professionally, quickly, and concisely. The other side will have an opportunity to respond to anything you say, and there is a possibility the judge will ask questions.
There are things you can do before the hearing to put your best foot forward with the judge, including:
- dressing in neat and clean clothes
- being respectful to those in the courthouse including the marshals, clerks, and judges;
- showing up to your hearing on time
- bringing a copy of your motion and the other side’s opposition with you along with anything else that got filed in the case in an organized manner
- DO NOT BRING YOUR CHILDREN TO COURT; and
- having your argument prepared before the hearing
Divorce Guide Tips: Top 5 Myths in Nevada Divorce
It never fails, we get a frantic phone call from a client telling us that their soon to be ex is threatening to take inappropriate and sometimes illegal action.
Just know that 99.9% of the time, these threats are not reasonable, and if your spouse follows through, the action will be viewed very negatively by the judge in your case.
In our opinion, the best thing to do is to ignore these statements and move forward with resolving your divorce case.
Myth #1: “If My Spouse Quits Their Job I Won’t Get Anything For Alimony Or Child Support.”
The idea that a spouse or an ex can just quit their job and avoid paying alimony or child support is ridiculous! Our recommendations?
Try to get this comment in writing or try to get the opposing party to say it in front of other people.
If you don’t have a witness or a written admission, it will be difficult to prove the other side’s intent to avoid paying support.
Even if you can’t get proof of the other side making this statement, you should know that your spouse cannot merely avoid their child support and alimony obligations.
So they cannot simply quit their job, voluntarily take a demotion or cut back their hours.
If your spouse does take such actions to avoid making payments, the court may require your spouse to find a new way to make the payments of support—this is known as imputing income.
Myth #2: “My spouse is going to tell the judge ‘a, b and c’ and I will lose my children.”
We hear this in almost every divorce case we have that involves children. “A, b and c” could be anything, whether it is true or not.
These threats could be anything from a wild night out with friends to a prior affair.
Just know, this intimidation has no teeth!
Judges determine custody and visitation based on the best interests of your children.
And, it is the infrequent circumstance that a parent “never gets to see the children.”
Remember, though, to document the threats and identify any witnesses who may have heard the statements.
Myth #3: “Attorneys Just Want Money and My Spouse and I Can Just Use The Same Lawyer”
Divide and conquer is the source of this myth.
Any ethical attorney knows he cannot represent both parties in a divorce case – this could be a conflict of interest.
Experienced family law attorneys will look for ways to save you money, and a knowledgeable divorce attorney should be able to resolve your case quickly without unnecessary expense and prolonged litigation.
Plus, most clients become aware early on if their lawyer is incompetent or does not have their client’s interests prioritized.
A statement like this is best documented and then ignored.
Myth #4: “If I Don’t Divide Things The Way My Spouse Wants The Judge Will Order Us To Sell Everything.”
Again, this is another myth.
It is sporadic that a Court orders a sale of all of the assets unless there is a good reason for it.
The court will need to make a finding that selling everything benefits both parties more than just awarding assets to one party or another.
Sometimes the court will award an asset to one spouse and order the receiving spouse to reimburse the non-receiving spouse one half of the value of the asset.
Myth #5: “My Spouse Says I Will Never See The Kids Again”
It never fails that each week, we get a call from a client saying their ex is threatening to keep the kids, FOREVER.
This threat has no merit.
Document it, identify witnesses, and then ignore it.
You should know that kidnapping in Nevada is a Category D Felony and carries jail time as well as fines. Also, understand that a spouse that kidnaps the children is likely to be the spouse that only sees the children through supervised visitation.
A parent that intentionally and continuously interferes with the other parent’s custodial time may have their own custodial time reduced or eliminated.
Tips for Getting a Divorce Fast in Nevada
One of the first questions clients ask when pursuing a divorce is, “how long will it take?” The time to get a divorce depends largely on how amicable both parties are, even in complex cases. If the parties are contentious and want to argue over everything, the divorce will take longer. If the parties agree to everything, a Nevada divorce can take roughly ten (10) days from filing to decree.
In our experience handling thousands of divorce cases, no divorce had ever gone quickly or smoothly when the other side was shocked by receiving divorce papers. Doing this usually creates animosity and hurt feelings causing the other side to dig in and fight, even when there is nothing worth fighting over.
If you know divorce is imminent, talk to your spouse before you file. Explain what it is you want and try to get agreements with your spouse. If you can agree on everything, you can file a joint petition and have your divorce be official in a matter of days.
Even if you can’t agree on everything, you will have significantly narrowed the issues for a divorce trial, which will make the process go faster.
Another way to get divorced faster is to try mediation before you file or immediately after filing for divorce, especially if you have children. Custody is usually the biggest hurdle in every divorce case. A good mediator can help both parties arrive at agreements concerning visitation schedules, holidays, child support, and other matters.
Mediation is usually cheaper than hiring attorneys, and most mediators can see parties quickly as opposed to waiting weeks or months to see a judge. Also, Clark County Family Court requires mediation in all custody cases. If you attend mediation before you file for divorce, you may be able to save yourself time and money once the case gets going.
To make your Nevada divorce go faster, give up the notion of “winning” your divorce case. In family law, the only people who win in long, drawn-out divorces are the attorneys. In all of my years as a family law attorney, I still have not figured out how someone “wins” in divorce or custody. Is it getting primary care, alimony, the house?
The best advice we can give to resolve a divorce quickly is to figure out what you want from the divorce and why you want it. Do you want primary custody because that’s what you want, or because your, soon to be ex, is an abusive, alcoholic? Examining what you want and why you want it will help you determine what issues you can resolve quickly and which things you need to fight to get. Talking to an experienced attorney about what you want from the divorce will help you determine whether your goals for the divorce are realistic.
We cannot say it enough. Do you want a fast divorce? Find an experienced family law attorney that you trust. An experienced family law attorney will know how to draft solid agreements and be skilled in moving your paperwork through the court efficiently.
On the other hand, a brand new lawyer or one that doesn’t have experience in divorce cases might struggle with which documents to file or the timing of matters in a divorce case. This can delay your divorce days or even months. Likewise, it can be tempting to file the paperwork yourself. However, this can also cost time and money. Even in simple cases, there are no less than five documents that must be filed with the court to be divorced. Having a knowledgeable lawyer on your side can save you time and money.
Finally, one of the easiest ways to ensure a fast divorce is to be transparent with your attorney. If you find that the other side wants to fight the divorce no matter what, be open with your attorney and the judge. Make sure your lawyer knows what it is you want from the divorce. Disclose all of your assets and debts to the attorney and make sure your attorney is aware of any circumstances that might keep you from getting equal time with your children.
In cases where clients have told us everything, we are prepared and ready for what may come our way, and therefore, we can move the case quickly to a resolution. Alternatively, in cases where we get blindsided by something our client didn’t tell us, we usually need more time to figure out the issues to try to resolve them. The result is delays in the case, which delays the divorce.
Divorce Guide Tips for Protecting Yourself During Your Nevada Divorce:
Even if you have been planning to divorce for some time, there are steps you should take before you file and during the divorce that will better prepare you and protect you, your children, your finances, and your case once the divorce process begins.
First, do not sign anything without having a lawyer review it! People going through a divorce are usually willing to sign anything “just to get it over with” or to be done with the pressure of divorce. Others feel obligated to sign whatever their spouse wants out of some sort of moral obligation or guilt. Even worse, some people think, “I will just sign this now, and when I see the judge, the judge will undo it.”
The bottom line? If you sign something now, chances are the judge is going to enforce it, even if it’s just for a short time. It will be your responsibility to explain to the judge why what you signed shouldn’t be treated as a binding agreement.
What’s more, you will save money, having a lawyer review your documents before you sign anything. Trying to undo a signed agreement is expensive and very time-consuming.
Second, keep track of EVERYTHING as best you can. If you are paying the bills or taking care of the children, you should be keeping track of these things. Keep a journal, get a calendar, get bank statements, and canceled checks showing what you have paid for in the past. Every little bit of documentation helps to establish patterns that your divorce judge will use to make orders.
Third, violence Is Never An Excuse! If your ex becomes violent towards you or your children, you should not think twice about calling the police. If you need to, file for a restraining order and keep it with you. If your ex violates a protective order, don’t be afraid to call the police. Many organizations help victims of domestic violence, and we understand that getting law enforcement involved might be scary, but trust us, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you feel threatened, call 9-1-1.
Fourth, do not leave with your children. If you have lived in Nevada with your children for the last six months, the Nevada Court has jurisdiction over the children. Moving out of state and filing for divorce shortly after that will not change this fact, and most courts will and should not resolve custody issues if the children have not lived in that state at least six months before the filing of the divorce case.
Taking the children out of state with the intent to move could get considered as parental kidnapping, and the parent removing the children get a category D felony charge. You can take your children on vacation, but you cannot move unless your spouse approves the move in writing, or the court issues an order allowing you to move.
Fifth, unless you have to, do not move out of the marital residence. If you move out of the home and do not take the children with you, there is a good chance the court will consider this fact in a custody determination.
While living with your spouse knowing you are getting a divorce is not ideal, if you leave the house and do not take your children with you, the court will likely consider this as your desire to give up custody. Talk to your spouse about a timeshare or ways to make living under the same roof less stressful.
If you have to move out or need to be away from your spouse, stay involved in your children’s lives. Participate in their schooling activities, medical appointments, and extra-curricular activities. Just because you are divorcing your spouse does not mean you are divorcing your children. If you do not stay involved before the divorce, there is a good chance the court will consider this at the time of awarding custody and day-to-day decision making for the children.
Sixth, run a credit report today. One of the biggest mistakes we see in divorce cases is people run up debt or force the other party to run up a deficit in anticipation of a divorce. Run your credit report immediately so that you can show the court your debts and the amount you owed before the divorce.
Seventh, establish a bank account in your name only. While you need to continue to contribute to the community debt and community obligations, you should immediately begin to separate your finances. Do not continue to deposit money into joint bank accounts. Tell your spouse that from now on, you pay half of the obligations but will be paying them from a separate account. Talk to your spouse about how to meet the community obligations and who will pay which bills and which bills you will pay jointly.
Eighth, stop contributing to your retirement accounts, 401Ks, pensions, etc. Everything you add to these accounts is community property, and your spouse is entitled to half. If you know you are getting divorced, stop contributing to these accounts. Otherwise, you are just giving your money away to your spouse. Use the money to pay down community debt or add to your children’s savings or college funds.
Ninth, Move valuable documents such as your passport, social security cards, birth certificates, and other identifying information outside of your home. Do not secure them in your car or office. Move them to a friend’s house or a safe deposit box.
Tenth, you should obtain copies of relevant documents such as joint tax returns, titles to vehicles, deeds to real property, bank statements, and other essential documents. Be sure your lawyer has copies of everything!
Catalog Your Marital Property. If you have personal property that could be at issue in the divorce, make a video record of the property. Make sure your recording is date and time-stamped. This way, in case a family heirloom or significant piece of furniture goes missing, you will have proof that it existed. You should video inventory every room in your home if there is a safe, video the contents.
Finally, secure personal possessions that matter to you: You are permitted to secure your family photos, clothing, and other mementos that mean something to you. Keep a list of what you removed and be prepared to return the items if needed. However, removing such items will ensure that they are kept safe during the divorce proceeding.
Divorce Guide Tips for Using Social Media While Going Through a Nevada Divorce
Just this week, I was meeting with a client about her case when she handed me a printout of her spouse’s social media page. I was shocked at the content and how freely he discussed the number of illegal and prescription drugs he was talking to “just get through the day.” He even included pictures of his pipes, other paraphernalia, and several pill bottles. Another attorney was with me at the time, and his response was, “I love that social media has made our jobs so much easier.” He was right. My client walked out of court with sole legal and sole physical custody of their child.
Sadly, when her ex posted all of those photos, he thought they were private, that he was bragging and that they would not affect his parental rights, and he was wrong. As my colleague said, social media has made my job so much easier. I would love to tell my clients to turn their social media off until their divorce is over. Still, since I know that is not possible, we are hoping clients will use this article to consider their social media postings while going through a divorce or custody case.
Your spouse is always watching you on social media.
Unless you are an internet and social media genius, your spouse will find a way to access your social media. You may think you have blocked your spouse from your social media accounts, and you may have even changed your passwords. Still, your spouse has friends, family, friends of friends, fake accounts, co-workers, and a host of other people that can and will find your social media accounts online and provide the contents of those accounts to your spouse.
If all else fails, your spouse can subpoena your social media accounts and can request that you print out the entirety of your accounts in your divorce/custody proceedings. Usually, there is nothing you can do to stop this move.
So before you make your next post, consider that everything you are posting, no matter how hard you try, can and will be accessed by your spouse.
If you have to post, don’t brag.
Many people use social media to keep friends and family apprised of life events like a great new promotion, a new car, or a nice vacation. It never fails in a divorce case; I have clients complaining that they are paying too much in child support or spousal support. Then, their spouse produces all kinds of social media posts of their soon to be ex with the new significant other on a lavish vacation.
Simply, judges don’t like it when clients complain that they can’t support their children or their spouse but can afford to buy a new car or take an expensive trip.
If you must use social media, remember Rule #1 above and try not to brag in your posts. Ultimately, the bragging could cost you in increased child support obligations or spousal support obligations.
Don’t Post Your Illegal Activities.
This one should go without saying. At least once a week, I receive social media posts about a client’s spouse, which includes their involvement in illegal activity (usually drugs). Posting this stuff online can affect your custodial time with your children as well as your freedom. Judges routinely order drug testing and have even been known to report a litigant to law enforcement after receiving social media posts with illegal activity. If you have to post on social media, don’t post your pill bottles, pipes, and drugs. Just don’t.
Don’t Use the “Check-In” Feature.
If you have to use social media, don’t use the check-in feature. Again, remember Rule #1. If you are using the check-in feature, your spouse will be able to trace your movements. If you are supposed to be having custodial time with your children and your “check-in” identifies you out at a club, your spouse will use this against you to say you aren’t spending time with the kids or even worse that you are leaving them alone to go out and party. The check-in feature can also be dangerous if you have a restraining order against your spouse because now your spouse will know where you are. Use caution and common sense and leave the check-in feature out.
Don’t Post Anything You Wouldn’t Want Your Boss or Mother to See.
Social media posts live forever online. That picture you took in high school of a crazy party trick or that Halloween picture where you dressed like a slutty nurse, can and will be used against you, to try to paint you as an evil person or lousy parent. Even though those pictures are old, they last forever online and are easily accessible by your spouse. (Rule #1).
Your spouse will get them and will use them against you, and you will have to explain to the judge that the photo was taken years ago and isn’t who you are anymore. Try to keep the posts clean and consider before you post whether you would feel comfortable if your boss or mother saw the post.
For all of these reasons, social media certainly can cause your divorce case to be more costly. Not only will you need to explain these posts to a judge, but you could also end up spending funds on random drug tests, experts, and obtaining evidence to show the judge that the posts aren’t accurate or even correct. Hopefully, knowing both the emotional and financial impact, social media can have on a divorce case will encourage litigants to be more cautious in their actions online.
Getting Divorced If You Think Your Spouse is Hiding Assets
Let’s face it – Divorce is emotional. More often than not, there are hurt feelings, anger, and many times, the desire to “Get Even!” In our practice, we often hear people say things like “I will never give me ex one dollar” or “I’d rather go to jail than give my ex anything.”
Because of such hurtful feelings and other emotions, it is not uncommon in divorce cases for one spouse to try to take advantage of the other. Often, this can lead to a spouse trying to hide assets.
Did your spouse recently buy a new car, recreational vehicle, or a large piece of jewelry? This move can be the perfect way for someone to spend cash and then sell the item later to get the money back. Watch for any large purchases your spouse makes right before the divorce.
Have you noticed new credit card statements or bank statements in the mail? Are you unfamiliar with these accounts? Even accounts from your bank that only have your spouse’s name on them can signify that he or she is moving or hiding money.
Are you allowed to see your financial statements, or is your spouse keeping them secret?
Watch to see If your spouse is:
- unwilling to share credit card statements with you,
- changing the access to online accounts,
- shredding statements before you can review them.
These actions could be a sign that your spouse is hiding money or making purchases that your spouse doesn’t want you to know about with the intent to keep those items when the divorce is final.
Does your spouse work in a cash job? Is all of the income being report? You should have a pretty good idea of what your spouse makes, and if he or she has a W2 with reported income, it is difficult to understate income. However, if your spouse receives cash payments, tips, or gets paid under the table, it is much easier to hide income. If your spouse understates income, it can affect child support, alimony, and how much money you get during the split.
Is mail being sent to a different address? If you and your spouse are divorcing and mail is gets sent to a new address, this could be a sign your spouse is hiding something.
Has your spouse made “loans” to friends or family? One of the most common things we see in divorce cases is clients who claim they “loaned” money to friends and family. Often, this means that clients have given away money to make their savings, etc. look lower so that they don’t have to pay support. It can also be a sign that your spouse has given money away with the intent to get the money back later without having to split it in the divorce.
Is your spouse paying more on credit cards or other obligations than what you owe? They might be keeping credit card statements a secret.
If you are concerned that your spouse is hiding income or assets during a divorce, seek legal assistance right away.
Divorce Guide Tips: What Questions Should I Ask a Divorce Attorney?
Finding the right attorney for your Nevada divorce is essential and takes time. Hiring the right attorney is often the difference between a resolution you can happily live with and one that costs you for years to come
We know there are lots of resources available for finding a divorce attorney. A simple google search for Nevada divorce attorneys produces over 9 million results. And narrowing that list down seems daunting.
An excellent way to find a qualified attorney is to ask friends and family for recommendations. Now, we understand that you may not want to broadcast your divorce to others so, another way to find a lawyer might be to look at rating websites like Yelp, Avvo, or even the State Bar of Nevada. Finally, another way to find a qualified attorney is by asking other lawyers. If you have worked with an attorney in the past, for example, for a bankruptcy, traffic ticket, or business matter, you might want to ask that lawyer for recommendations.
After you have narrowed down your list, you should interview each attorney and ask what his or her strategy would be for your case. You must find an attorney that will be a good fit for your case before you agree to hire the attorney.
The following questions are an excellent starting point for finding a firm that will best assist you with your case. While this is only a divorce guide, you need to be sure to ask questions that concern you and your issues. It is vital to obtain all of the information you need before you hire a firm to represent you. An attorney-client relationship can be like a dating relationship – if you don’t like the attorney and cannot get your questions answered, chances you will need to be able to achieve the results you want.
1. Do you practice in the area of family law?
Attorneys often practice many areas of law. While it may be challenging to find an attorney that only focuses their practice on family law, it is imperative to find an attorney who is familiar with the statutes, case law, and procedural aspects of the practice. Taking this step can be the difference between a case that resolves quickly with a peaceful resolution and a case that drags on while the attorney learns on the job.
2. Who will be working on my case, and what is their experience level?
3. How do I communicate with your office? How long do you usually need to return a phone call or an email? What if I have an emergency?
4. After hearing my side of the story, how long do you think my case will take before I am divorced? What is your plan for my case?
5. Based on what you know about my case and the judge, how do you think my case will resolve?
6. What can I expect after the divorce gets finalized? Will I need to go back to court?
7. We cover attorney’s fees elsewhere in this divorce guide, but you should be sure to ask the following about fees: Based on what you know about my case, how much do you expect this will cost?
Keep in mind that it is challenging to estimate the total price for a divorce.
As a result, some attorneys may not want to answer this question. However, a reputable divorce attorney should be able to give you a price range for what a typical divorce, like yours, could cost. An attorney that gives you a surprisingly low number might be too good to be true.
8. What options do you offer for payments towards my divorce? Do I need to pay a retainer, and if so, what is your hourly rate?
9. In addition to fees, what other costs should I expect?
Additional charges could include experts such as physicians, psychologists, evaluators for drugs and alcohol, the prices of drug test and alcohol testing, forensic accounts, and even office expenses such as copies and postage.
10. How can I help keep costs down?
The questions above should not come as a surprise to a Nevada divorce lawyer, and a reasonable attorney should be able to answer them with ease.
In addition to the questions above, here’s how you know you’ve found the right attorney for your case:
How Will You Know the Right Divorce Attorney?
I repeatedly tell clients that my job is to tell you what you need to know, not what you want to hear. In my opinion, divorce cases often resolve faster, and are much less expensive, when an attorney is honest with their client about possible problems in a case and potential outcomes.
While it may not be the best news for my clients, I believe that telling a client what they need to know, and not what they want to hear is always the best policy.
If you are interviewing Nevada divorce attorneys, and you get told that everything you are asking for can happen and that the divorce attorney can get it for you, you should run, not walk, out of their office.
An attorney that wants to fight and isn’t honest with their client about potential outcomes is either inexperienced in divorce law OR is just interested in your money or both.
The best divorce attorney is looking out for your best interests, including finding ways to save you money during your divorce, time in the divorce process, and keeping you from appearing unreasonable to a judge. The best divorce attorneys will have no problem delivering news clients may not want to hear.
The Right Divorce Attorney Gets Along Well With Other Lawyers
I have had clients come to my office after hiring a divorce lawyer to complain that their lawyer was “too friendly” with the other side’s attorney. This behavior is not necessarily a bad thing. Divorce Attorneys that can get along with other divorce attorneys mean they are respected and probably seen as a reasonable individual.
Divorce Attorneys that don’t get along with other divorce attorneys get viewed as confusing, aggravating, and probably illegal. To a client, an attorney that has a hard time getting along with other attorneys can end up costing you a great deal of money because usually, the non-cooperation between lawyers means fees increase, and bitter feelings get exaggerated.
A win at all costs lawyer is often known to judges to be unreasonable and sometimes unethical. Hiring such a divorce attorney can reflect on the clients as well.
The Right Divorce Attorney Will Make You Feel Better About Your Case
You should talk to several different lawyers. Finding the best attorney for you means finding the divorce attorney that you feel comfortable with, it’s that simple.
Leaving the consultation, you should feel a sense of relief about the divorce attorney and the conversation you had. You should leave feeling as though you got your questions answered and that your case is in good hands.
Your divorce is too essential to leave having any other feeling than a positive one about the divorce attorney.
After you’ve made your decision to hire a divorce attorney, follow up often, and continue to ask about the strategy he or she initially discussed with you. Make sure your lawyer sticks to the plan, or if the plan changes, make sure your divorce attorney discusses it with you. Communication is key to any successful relationship.
Divorce Guide Tip: How Much is My Nevada Divorce Going to Cost?
If you are asking, “What will my Nevada Divorce Cost?” you are in the wrong place. To be honest, this is the wrong question to ask if you are thinking about divorcing in Nevada.
Trust me; we get it. Cost is important. But getting divorced right and most efficiently will save you vast amounts of money in the long run.
So, the right question is, “what do I need to do to ensure that my Nevada divorce goes smoothly, is handled efficiently, that I get sound legal advice and that my children and my future are protected?”
Too many people hire their divorce lawyer based on what it’s going to cost. While we agree that sometimes, it is best to hire a lawyer based on price, most of the time, hiring a divorce attorney based only on what it will cost is a mistake.
The biggest problem with hiring a divorce lawyer is that you don’t know what you don’t know. Finding forms online, using a paralegal, or utilizing the cheapest firm may result in disaster. When that happens, you may be left suffering the consequences for years to come.
What seems like a simple form, or a simple case for the cheapest lawyer in town to handle, may result in:
- multiple hearings,
- your divorce getting delayed,
- you having to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars in additional support,
- and might also result in you paying your spouse’s attorney’s fees.
By finding the right divorce attorney, within your budget, you will ensure your interests, your children’s interests, your property, and your money gets protected to the fullest extent of the law.
Think of it this way, when you hire a divorce attorney, you aren’t paying for documents or even for a quick fix. You are hiring a divorce attorney to guide you through one of the most challenging times in your life. Hiring the right attorney will ensure you are protected, your assets are protected, and your children are protected. You are utilizing an ally, a fighter, and a protector.
In most cases, you need to meet with your divorce lawyer to go over your options. An initial consultation with a divorce attorney should include a discussion of dividing your assets and debts, alimony, custody of your children, and child support.
Now, most people reading this section want to know what an average divorce costs. While no attorney can predict with 100% accuracy what your divorce will cost, what I can tell you is you should expect your divorce to cost between $2,500 and $10,000 or more depending on the complexity of your case.
By this point, you should be asking if I don’t choose my lawyer based on price, how should I choose? Probably the best way to find a divorce lawyer is to get referrals. Ask family and friends who they would recommend. Do research online, with other professionals and in your locale to determine who stands out.
Simply asking, “What do you charge for a divorce?” does not get you what you need to know to make a smart decision for your future. The better question and the most critical question for you is, “what do I need to do to ensure that my divorce goes smoothly, is handled efficiently, that I get sound legal advice and that my children, my rights and my future are protected?”
What If I Can’t Afford An Attorney For My Nevada Divorce?
In this divorce guide, learn the options for getting divorced in Nevada, even if you can’t afford to hire an attorney. The first option might be to consider hiring a paralegal to assist with your divorce paperwork. However, if you decide to hire a paralegal keep a few things in mind:
Paralegals in Nevada do not necessarily have any specialized training or certification to advertise as a “paralegal.” Often, people who call themselves paralegals have never even worked for a law firm. Although there are some excellent paralegals, it can be challenging to find out who has the experience and training necessary to assist you.
Paralegals cannot provide legal advice though many often do. When consulting a paralegal, the caveat “buyer beware” or “you get what you pay for” applies. Many people who consult paralegals often receive inaccurate, inconsistent, or just downright incorrect information. Make sure to verify any “advice” the paralegal gives you.
Because the same ethical standards do not bound paralegals as attorneys, paralegals sometimes attempt to represent both sides in a case, which is a conflict of interest. This fact can lead to inaccurate advice or an incorrect interpretation and application of the law. If you plan to hire a paralegal, make sure that they agree only to assist you and not the other side.
Paralegals can be helpful if you know precisely what documents you need or the results you want to achieve, but you do not understand the forms or do not have time to fill them out. In simple, uncontested cases, an experienced paralegal, who knows how to prepare the appropriate documents properly, can save you time and money.
Another option is to represent yourself. If you are thinking about going it alone, you may consider consulting with an attorney to determine your legal rights. A consultation with an experienced attorney may give you enough information to help you through a simple legal problem or, at least, address your questions and give you some peace of mind. Often, attorneys will provide free consultations or consultations for a small fee to discuss your legal issues and offer legal advice. Whether you choose to hire the attorney after is up to you. Still, a short consultation is better than trying to take on a legal matter without any direction or advice from a professional.
Finally, you can apply to legal aid for a free attorney. Often, you must qualify to receive a pro bono lawyer. The requirements will include completing a financial declaration and providing proof that you cannot afford an attorney. Many attorneys take pro bono cases as part of their community service requirements.
What Happens if My Spouse Refuses to Get a Lawyer?
There is no requirement that people hire attorneys when getting a Nevada divorce. Our Self Help Center makes it very easy for people to represent themselves in Family Court. Others choose to represent themselves to save money. And still, others do it because they believe “hey, it’s a divorce. How hard can it be?” Regardless of the reason, if your spouse decides not to hire an attorney for your Las Vegas Divorce, you should know what to expect.
First, your divorce will probably take longer. Just because divorce forms are readily available doesn’t mean they are easy to understand, and it certainly doesn’t mean the Nevada divorce process is easy to follow.
If your spouse does not hire an attorney, they will have to act on their own. They will need to file the right paperwork when necessary, represent themselves in court, and make sure that your lawyer gets all of the information required before Court hearings and even a trial. To be honest, this rarely happens when someone represents themselves in a divorce.
What usually happens is that a party representing themselves will either file documents late or fail to serve the appropriate documents on your attorney. Often, this can lead to significant delays in your case. Likewise, people representing themselves in their divorce case may forget to appear at court hearings, which could further delay your case. Most judges will not rule against a party representing themselves if they forget to provide a document or miss a court date. Instead, your case will be continued to allow the other party more time to do things the right way. We get – it’s very frustrating!
It could also mean more work fixing mistakes. If your spouse does not understand something, he or she will have nobody to turn to for legal counsel besides free resources. This fact can often lead to misunderstandings about the law and the procedure and might also mean more work for you and your lawyer.
For example, if your spouse wishes to make changes to an agreement, he or she may have a more difficult time communicating those alterations effectively. Doing this can cause your attorney to draft the same document multiple times, which can further delay your case or even lead to inaccurate documents getting filed with the court.
It also means your attorney and the judge cannot help your spouse through the process. Time and again, our office appears in court against parties representing themselves. Many times these parties will try to ask us, or even ask the judge, for legal advice.
It is important to remember that your lawyer is YOUR DIVORCE LAWYER. Likewise, the judge cannot offer the other side legal advice simply because they decided to do the divorce on their own.
When your spouse refuses to get a lawyer, it can make court appearances frustrating. Few people can remember the helpful tips available online when appearing in front of a judge. Your spouse, however, will not receive preparation for court as if they have an attorney, and your spouse will have to act as their spokesperson throughout the entirety of the process.
Sometimes hearing your spouse talk in court while you remain silent can be frustrating. You may feel like you have less control or that specific points are getting made that you need to speak out against in court. However, it is essential to remember that if you have hired a divorce lawyer, you have an experienced, skilled attorney specifically to defend your rights and advocate on your behalf, whereas your spouse does not. Because of this, your spouse is at a disadvantage.
General Wellness Tips When Going Through a Divorce
Going through a divorce is a significant life change and can be very stressful. This free divorce guide can help you learn ways to handle the stress of a divorce to help ease your anxiety and make the process a little easier to handle.
We offer these tips as a way to make your divorce more comfortable to handle:
Treat yourself: If you are under stress from divorce, now is the time to start minimizing the effects a divorce can have on you. Do things for yourself, including eating right, getting a good night’s sleep, and exercising. It doesn’t hurt to treat yourself to something as well – a new outfit, a spa day, or a quiet day alone. You deserve it.
Ask for help: Family and friends can play an essential role in your life when going through a divorce. Reach out to family and friends for support during this difficult time.
Try new things: A divorce might be the end of your marriage, but it is not the end of your life. You have the opportunity to try things that your spouse may have never been interested in while you were married. Find opportunities to take up a new sport, try a class, try a new restaurant, or discover a new interest. The busier you are, the less time you have to think about your divorce.
Try to keep positive: Going through a Nevada divorce is difficult and can often be emotionally draining. Finding positive things to focus on will keep you going through this challenging period.
Let the little things go: Regardless of who started the divorce or who may be “to blame,” focusing on small things will only cause you stress and anxiety. Try to see the big picture and focus on the positives that will come your way.
Get Professional Help: If you need to enlist the help of a therapist to help you through this time, do so. Trust in the professionals you have hired, including your tax preparer, financial planner, and attorneys, to help guide you through this time as well.
Don’t give up on the things you want from your Divorce: Remember that getting a divorce is opening a new chapter in your life. Getting what you want from the outset will help set you up for your future. Stand up for what you want when it comes to child custody, spousal support, visitation, property division, and other issues.