Las Vegas Divorce FAQ


Your circumstances are different than any other divorce matter so each Las Vegas divorce case is unique. This section provides general responses to frequently asked questions. Therefore, the answers to these Las Vegas Divorce FAQs are not legal advice for your case. You must always consult with a Las Vegas divorce attorney to get answers on your specific issues. The answers are in four categories. Please choose one of the options below to get answers for frequently asked divorce questions.


 

Las Vegas Divorce FAQ – Divorce Attorneys

Who Pays for a Divorce Attorney?

Everyone going through a divorce in Nevada has the right to meet their spouse in court on an “even playing field.” In other words, your spouse cannot deny you marital funds for a divorce attorney’s fees. If your spouse controls the marital assets and will not provide you funds for legal fees, your Las Vegas divorce attorney will petition the court for fees on your behalf. Nevada law does not allow divorce case legal fees on a contingency basis. At the outset of your case, you have several options which are best discussed with one of our expert divorce lawyers. But in general, we accept all major credit cards, personal and business checks, and cash. If you have friends and/or relatives that want to help you, we also accept payments from authorized third-parties.

Can I Change Divorce Attorneys After My Case Starts?

Every participant in divorce proceedings has the right to the legal counsel of their choice. Since hiring a divorce attorney is a uncommon occurrence, it’s not unheard of that the first divorce attorney hired is not the best one for you. You can change divorce attorneys in an on-going case if you feel it’s in your best interest to do so. If you have a lot at risk, hiring a second rate divorce attorney is never in your best interest. That’s because the outcome of your case will affect your life and the lives of your children for years to come.

How Do I Pick the Best Las Vegas Divorce Attorney?

First establish what level of legal representation is appropriate for your case. This is mostly based on what you have at risk to loose. If you have a short term marriage, no children, and little assets and debts to speak of, then you don’t need a high powered Las Vegas divorce attorney. However, if you have a lot at risk, then you deserve legal representation that is commensurate with the high stakes in your divorce case. In any event, you should consult with divorce attorneys and pick the one you feel most comfortable with and is best suited to represent you.

Does the State Bar of Nevada Offer Assistance?

The State Bar of Nevada has a board certification process for divorce and family law attorneys. Las Vegas divorce attorneys who are Board Certified Family Law Specialists have a rigorous set of family law experience and standards. They have also passed a thorough exam to prove that they deserve to be board certified. Less than one percent of Nevada licensed attorneys have board certification so it’s a very small exclusive group. Anyone going through contested and complex divorce proceedings should have, at minimum, a board certified divorce attorney. Our divorce attorneys Jennifer V. Abrams and Vincent Mayo are Board Certified Family Law Specialists, among other career achievements and awards.

What if Neither Spouse Has Any Money?

Here are two options for those divorcing spouses that cannot afford full service legal fees. The State Bar of Nevada provides the names of attorneys willing to work at a discount. This program is called the Lawyer Referral and Information Service or LRIS for short. The LRIS can be reached at 702.382.0504. The Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada provides low or no cost legal services. They can be reached at 702.386.1070.

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Las Vegas Divorce FAQ – The Divorce Process

What is a Contested and an Uncontested Divorce?

A contested divorce is the most common way a divorce case starts in Nevada. The term means that the two divorcing spouses cannot agree on all divorce issues on their own. Many contested divorces resolve through settlement conferences, court hearings, and the negotiations between the Las Vegas divorce attorneys representing the parties. Only a small fraction of cases go to trial. An uncontested divorce is where both spouses have come to an agreement on their own without court intervention. It’s important to know that these uncontested divorce agreements must comply with Nevada law.

What is a Joint Petition Divorce?

In a joint petition divorce, both divorcing spouses use the same attorney. This type of divorce is appropriate only when there is absolutely nothing at stake in your divorce case, including children’s issues. There are obvious pitfalls to having one attorney represent both parties. So proceed with a joint petition divorce knowing that you don’t have the benefit of independent legal counsel. Most, if not all, of the best Las Vegas divorce attorneys don’t do joint petition divorces. We’re one of them.

Can I Change the Judge Assigned to My Divorce Case?

You can change the judge assigned to your divorce case, but only at the beginning of the case before the judge has rendered any decisions. This is called a peremptory challenge and both parties only get one opportunity to change the judge. You should use caution before changing a judge. That’s because you can disqualify one judge but you can’t pick the one you’d prefer. Instead the new judge is assigned arbitrarily. The initial judge might not be the best one for your case facts, but the replacement judge could be worse. You need to discuss any decisions regarding changing judges thoroughly with your Las Vegas divorce attorney.

What Are Temporary Orders?

Temporary Orders define what the financial, living, and child related issues will be during the divorce proceedings. Decisions on who will live where, who will pay what bills, attorney’s fees, and what will happen with the children are common in temporary orders. These orders can be negotiated between the divorce attorneys representing both spouses. If negotiations fail, then a court hearing will be held. The family court judge will listen to the positions of both parties and then make a decision on all issues before the court. Once the divorce case concludes, the decree of divorce replaces temporary orders.

What if I Disagree with the Judge’s Trial Decision?

You cannot appeal a negotiated settlement once it is finalized unless fraud is newly discovered. But if your case goes to trial and you don’t agree with the judge’s decision, you can appeal. You have thirty days to file an appeal after your initial divorce case concludes. But there are several caveats to the divorce appeals process. It is time consuming, expensive, and there are certain factors that you must allege in your appeal. Even if your appeal is based on a child custody issue, it’s common for the divorce appeals process to take years. Appeals are generally heard by the newly formed Nevada Court of Appeals. However, if your case has strong public policy implications, the Supreme Court of Nevada may hear it. In either event, you must base your appeal on certain factors with the most common being a mistake by the trial court judge. For all these reasons, appealing a judge’s final ruling requires careful consideration before proceeding with the appeals process.

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Las Vegas Divorce FAQ – Divorce Assets and Debts

Do I Have a Right to Alimony?

Alimony is negotiated or awarded in some, but not all, Nevada divorce cases. The factors for alimony are on a case by case basis. That’s because there is no strict formula on alimony awards in Nevada. As a general rule, alimony awards are in long term marriages where one spouse has significantly more earnings, and future earning power, than the other spouse. There are many other alimony factors including how each spouse will be financially once the divorce case is over. Only experienced divorce lawyers in Las Vegas have the know-how for this complicated and life changing divorce issue.

Do I Have Any Rights to Marital Assets Not in My Name?

That depends on numerous factors including the nature of the asset, its acquisition date, and whether or not there is an enforceable prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, among others. Many spouses with considerable assets use the titling of assets as a device for tax purposes. In other words, title is held in an entity, or by one party, to lower the amount of tax liability. Often this is with the advice from a tax attorney who is not familiar with the intricacies of complex divorce proceedings. Dividing marital assets in these high stakes situations has many complications. Experienced Las Vegas divorce attorneys well familiar with tax strategies best serve your interests.

Is My Spouse Entitled to My Inheritance?

This depends on whether the inheritance was left to one or both spouses and what was done with the inheritance. If the inheritance was left to both spouses, then it’s community property regardless of whose relative bequeathed it. If the inheritance was left to only one spouse, then it can be that spouse’s sole and separate property. That is unless the funds were commingled with other marital assets. Sometimes these inheritance funds are used as part of a home purchase, or to fund a business, or for another investment opportunity. Commingling assets is common during the years when all is well in a marriage. But it’s difficult, and at times impossible, to untangle the commingling when the marital situation later changes. As with any other marital property issue, only qualified divorce attorneys should be involved in determining whether the inheritance is sole and separate or community property.

Do I Have Any Rights to My Spouse’s Business?

Spousal businesses are almost always complicated property division issues. There are many factors to consider concerning the founding of the business, commingling of marital funds, enforceable marital agreements, buy/sell agreements, third-party investor ownership, etc. It takes years of dedicated divorce law experience to determine the spousal rights of a business. Therefore, only the top Las Vegas divorce lawyers should be representing you if you and/or your spouse have a business that needs to be valued and divided during divorce proceedings. Our Las Vegas divorce attorneys, Jennifer V. Abrams and Vincent Mayo have successfully represented hundreds of business owners or their spouses with these complicated business property issues.

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Las Vegas Divorce FAQ – Child Custody Issues

What is Primary Physical Custody?

Primary physical custody is when one parent has the children living with them the majority of the time. This parent is the children’s primary caregiver. Regardless of who was the primary caregiver during your marriage, the family courts desire that both parents be actively involved in their children’s upbringing. Divorce changes the family dynamic and the child custody laws in Nevada no longer automatically favor one parent over the other. Just because your spouse wasn’t the primary caregiver before divorce, it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have joint physical custody during and after divorce.

What if My Spouse is Not a Good Parent?

You have options if you believe your spouse is an unfit parent. But in order for one parent to get primary physical and/or legal custody they must prove that the other parent is unfit. This is a high burden and should only be sought when there are facts to support your opinion. It’s also important to understand that only the family courts can determine a parent unfit. You cannot do so by simply stating it in a court filing.

The family courts always act in what is in the best interests of the children. Therefore, your case for primary physical custody is stronger if your spouse has issues such as work related travel logistics, substance abuse problems, domestic abuse convictions, or is incarcerated, to name a few. Sole legal custody has an even higher burden of proof and is granted when the severity of the situation warrants it.

Contested child custody cases often depend on the report findings and testimony of child custody experts. Our Las Vegas child custody attorneys have a working relationship with most, if not all, of the local court certified child custody experts. Jennifer V. Abrams and Vincent Mayo have successfully represented parents of both genders in contested child custody matters. Their decades of experience are available for your advantage.

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Contact our office at 702-222-4021 if your question is not available in this Las Vegas Divorce FAQ. One of our expert Las Vegas divorce attorneys will be glad to speak with you. Our attorneys offer phone consultations as a courtesy at no charge.