For a long time, Reno, Nevada was known as the divorce capital of the United States.
At that time, divorce was only granted if one spouse committed some sort of wrongdoing. States made divorce difficult. If a couple simply wanted to split up they might have to work together to hire actors to create fake evidence of adultery.
Nevada made divorce easier and allowed people to establish residency in Nevada in just six weeks.
Soon, people wanting to get divorced were going to Reno for a “six-week cure” at a Nevada divorce ranch. To this day, filing for divorce in Nevada remains fairly easy. If your divorce is headed that way, here is what you need to know.
Grounds for divorce in Nevada
Nevada does still have “insanity” on the books as a fault ground for divorce.
That means one spouse could get a divorce by proving the other was insane, but there is rarely any reason to do that. Instead, most people will get a divorce either by showing they have lived “separate and apart” for one year or that the spouses are “incompatible.”
Those last two grounds are “no fault,” meaning that neither spouse necessarily did anything wrong the couple just wants to split up.
Incompatibility is going to be easiest and what most couples will go with.
Filing for divorce in Nevada together makes it easier
Nevada also goes out of its way to allow couples to file for divorce jointly.
This is a massive help for the court system because the couple must resolve all their disputes before filing anything in court. That means they will have already agreed on custody, child support, health care, property division, debt division, and alimony.
Coming to an agreement is not always easy.
Lawyers might hammer out an agreement in a pressure-filled negotiation, or couples may use a mediator to find common ground.
No matter how the agreement comes about, the judge just has to briefly look and make sure it is fair before granting it. You do not necessarily even have to make a court appearance, even though an appearance is commonly required in other states.
Property division and custody
Nevada is a community property state. That means that a spouse only owns everything that spouse owned before marriage, and everything they got after marriage by gift or inheritance. The rest of the property a spouse owns is community property, and it is owned jointly with the other spouse.
The law requires the judge to split that community property at divorce as equally as possible.
That means making decisions like allowing one spouse to keep the house to offset the large retirement account the other spouse is keeping.
The judge can also make an unequal distribution if the judge thinks that would be more fair. Spousal maintenance, what other states might call spousal support or alimony is also available to help.
The other major issue that must be resolved at divorce is the care of children. The couple will typically split custody, and the spouse that makes more money will often pay child support to the other.