Filing for a divorce, with or without child custody, can be scary. I firmly believe it is important for our clients to be educated about the process and what to expect. Information is power and can take some of the fear out of the divorce process.
When You Agree
Many people are able to settle prior to filing for Divorce. In those cases, a Joint Petition is often filed and a proposed Decree of Divorce submitted to the Court for review. The Court may take up to sixty days to review the proposed Decree of Divorce once it is submitted; however, this is not always the case. Often, when both parties are in complete agreement, it is possible for the divorce action to be finalized relatively quickly. Still, not every divorce starts with an agreement.
When You Disagree
When you and your spouse do not agree prior to filing, you can utilize a private mediator and attempt to resolve your case. You can also file a contested divorce. There are some situations where filing a contested divorce immediately may be necessary. This includes when a spouse is wasting assets and an order is needed to stop the waste. Other examples exist. Prior to attempting settlement, you should discuss any concerns you have that may require immediate filing of a contested divorce with a licensed Nevada attorney.
Nevada Contested Divorce
A contested divorce in Nevada usually starts with one party filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This is served on the other spouse, who then has twenty days from the date of service to answer. In a typical divorce, we expect clients to have the following Court appearances (these are listed in chronological order):
A Case Management Conference
This will occur with you, your spouse and your respective counsel, if any, appearing in Court. These usually last approximately an hour. They are for the purpose of addressing temporary needs such as temporary custody, visitation, child support, alimony and temporary attorney’s fees. You may also wish to address other temporary issues such as use of the marital home or vehicles. You should discuss your specific needs with your attorney to determine what issues should be brought up during this time.
If you have children and you reside in Washoe County, Nevada, the Court may refer you to Family Mediation. This is a wonderful program that will allow you and your spouse to discuss with a mediator issues related only to custody and visitation of your children. Each party is required to pay a fee to participate in Family Mediation. Fees are calculated based upon your income as reported in the Financial Declaration required by Nevada Rule of Civil Procedure 16.2. Fees currently range from zero to three hundred dollars.
Regardless of whether you attend Family Mediation, a Settlement Conference will be scheduled in your case. This is an opportunity to attempt to settle your divorce with the Judge who is assigned to your case. You, your spouse and your respective counsel, if any, will appear at the Settlement Conference. Many people are able to settle at this point.
If you are unable to settle your case, the Court will have to decide the issues that you cannot agree upon with your spouse. This occurs through the process of trial. During trial, you will have the opportunity to present your case through testimony, witnesses and evidence. Both you, your spouse and your respective counsel, if any, will attend.
We find that clients who settle are happiest with the outcome. You can settle your divorce at any stage of process if an agreement can be reached. Although if this is not possible, you may have no option but to resolve outstanding issues at trial.
This article is intended as a very brief and general overview of the divorce process. It is not intended to be an all-encompassing time line for divorce in Nevada. There may be other steps in the process that are required by state and local rules. It is important to consult with an attorney to ensure you are in compliance with such rules.
This article was written based primarily on proceedings in the Second Judicial District Court in and for Washoe County, located in Reno, Nevada. It is important to remember that every case is different. There may be other Court appearances required in your case. If you are in another area of Nevada, the procedure could vary. If you are outside the State of Nevada, you should contact an attorney in your state to discuss the divorce process in your state.
This article is not meant to be all-inclusive or a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your own jurisdiction. If you are involved in a legal matter and have questions, you should contact a competent attorney in your own jurisdiction.
K. Beth Luna, Esq. is licensed in Tennessee, Florida, and Nevada. The information in the content above is based upon Nevada law only. If you are looking for information for another jurisdiction, please contact an attorney in that area. The Luna Law Firm handles divorce cases on a regular basis in the Reno, Carson, Nevada area. We also represent individuals in Sparks, Carson City, Gardnerville, Yerington, Minden, Fernley, and Fallon, Nevada.
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