Divorce is a difficult decision. Even if the marriage has gone south, the union contains countless memories and experiences. When minor children are involved, it can be even tougher.
Let’s dig into the questions about divorce in Nevada. To scale it down, the easy answer is “no”. You do not need an attorney to file for divorce in Nevada.
However, you may want one.
What is a Divorce Going to Cost Me?
The cost of a divorce varies wildly, mostly based on its level of conflict and complexity. The more contested and complicated a divorce, the higher the price, in general.
At a minimum, the filing fees for a divorce in the state of Nevada run $300-750. That’s assuming you completed all of the paperwork correctly on your own and you and your spouse are perfectly amicable.
The cost of divorce goes up from there, whether it’s filed through “self-help services” or attorneys, and whether it is contested. If so, you’ll probably want or need to hire an attorney to represent your position for you in court. And lots of things typically involved in divorces, like pension divisions, require special kinds of orders (for example, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, or “QDROs,” for pension divisions) that most people are unable to successfully accomplish without expert professional help.
Can I Get Alimony Or Will I Have to Provide Alimony?
The term “alimony” refers to what is also sometimes called “spousal support “ or “spousal maintenance” by the courts, and it generally refers to a court calling on the person in the relationship who has traditionally been the “breadwinner” to pay their spouse in order for them to properly maintain their lifestyle after the divorce.
There is no required formula for alimony like there is for child support, but we have developed an analysis that allow some predictions to be made depending on the facts of the case; the information and articles describing that analysis are posted at our alimony and spousal support page.
Family court judges in Nevada have a great deal of discretion in awarding alimony. It’s entirely up to the judge presiding over your case, and may be a good reason to contact a divorce attorney.
How to Get a Divorce in Nevada
Whether to divorce is a big decision, possibly the biggest you’ll ever make. If you and your spouse cannot reconcile, however, it may be time for a divorce.
Divorce is an extremely common use of family court in America. One divorce is granted every 13 seconds in the United States, and approximately 41% of marriages end in divorce.
You may be wondering how long you have to live in Nevada to obtain a divorce. You must be a resident of Nevada for six weeks in order to be granted a divorce by Nevada family courts. There are several technical requirements, including “corroboration” of residency, most frequently provided by having someone who knows you and knows you live in Nevada sign an Affidavit of Resident Witness on your behalf.
A DIY Divorce
In Nevada, you can get a divorce without hiring an attorney or going through mediation. You can actually file for divorce on your own.
Doing so, however, means that you and your spouse must come to an agreement on all of the major items of the divorce, from childcare and custody to spousal maintenance and marital property and debts.
It also means that you must be able to complete the paperwork involved in filing for a divorce, and accept the judge’s decision as final. This requires a considerable amount of legal comprehension, and for many, the task is daunting.
For many people filing for divorce with entirely or mostly amicable relationships with their spouse, mediation is seen as a more inexpensive method than full litigation. Even if you don’t see eye-to-eye with your spouse on some larger issues within your divorce, they can often be resolved with a mediator.
The mediator doesn’t work for either of you, in fact, this person functions as an advocate for each spouse, or both of you. Mediation is designed to help spouses work through the divorce process together, and keep the divorce from ending up in court.
Mediators are not acting as attorneys for either spouse, however, even if the mediator happens to be a lawyer, and there are some circumstances where having an attorney on your side is incredibly helpful. Mediation typically costs hundreds, or thousands of dollars per session, but that is still generally less expensive than full litigation. For further information, see our mitigation page.
Consider A Collaborative Divorce
A “collaborative divorce” is designed to allow the parties involved to work towards a settlement. Both parties must agree to a collaborative divorce, and each must hire a collaborative lawyer. If it doesn’t work out, both parties must hire new attorneys.
Collaborative divorces are supposed to incentivize attorneys and their clients to work to find a resolution so that they reach a settlement, but sometimes the process is mis-used by parties to waste time, or money, or both only to require the case to have to start over. If it is successful, the cost of a collaborative divorce isn’t usually as much as full litigation.
Litigation: Hiring A Divorce Attorney
Hiring a family law attorney to represent you when filing for a divorce is sometimes considered the most expensive option, but often a skilled attorney can prevent the waste of time and money that otherwise would occur, and a family law specialist often sees issues and opportunities that anyone not experienced and knowledgeable in the family law field would not see at all. Some of the circumstances warranting the use of an attorney include (but are not limited to):
- Irreconcilable conflicts over major issues
- Contested child custody or other child-related issues (though this may sometimes be resolved in mediation)
- One spouse in a position of power over the other
- Situations involving “dissipation” or “waste of assets” issues, such as gambling debts, gifts for an extramarital partner, travel, etc.
- When domestic violence, assault, or child abuse are involved
- Specialized or technical property issues, like pension divisions
- Contested claims to alimony
- When working with the other spouse is unproductive or dangerous
In these instances and others, it makes sense to at least consult with an attorney. You may not hire this attorney for representation, but by hiring an attorney on a consulting basis, they can review all of the documents, make recommendations, voice concerns, and more to help ensure your divorce is filed to your standards. See consultation policies, procedures, and costs page.
If you hire an attorney to represent you, that attorney is going to do everything possible to be your advocate in and out of court. You will have a highly educated person with considerable legal experience dedicated to representing your interests.
If you decide to hire an attorney to represent you, choose wisely. Check credentials and experience, and consider interviewing at least a couple different attorneys before choosing one to take your case.
What if You Can’t Afford Representation?
If you cannot afford an attorney, you may be eligible for a lower-cost lawyer through Legal Aid, or you may be able to find an attorney to take your case pro bono (free of charge). You may ask the attorney whether any lower-cost options are available, or for a referral to others who might have lower retainer requirements or hourly fees.
Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Nevada
A family law attorney who represents you will be your personal advocate in court when your case is heard. They will fight for you within the bounds of the law and leave no stone unturned, working to maximize your case. If you have troublesome legal issues, or even if you are simply concerned about having appropriate representation in court, hiring a family law specialist as your divorce attorney will almost always be your best decision.
While your desired outcome isn’t guaranteed, and no ethical attorney will ever promise a result in any contested case, divorce attorneys know family law inside and out. They know the legalese, the documents, the system, the judges, and the rulings. A divorce attorney represents your interests and, therefore, will likely achieve the best possible outcome for you.
Divorce can be painful and messy, but with an excellent divorce attorney at your side in court, many of the difficulties involved in filing for divorce can be assumed by your attorney, giving you needed time to heal and move on.
Looking for your Nevada divorce attorney? Look no further than Willick Law Group.