Sometimes, couples are not ready to divorce but still need to live apart from each other, whether briefly or in the long run. An alternative to divorce that holds out hope for reconciliation is legal separation — known in Nevada as “separate maintenance.” This legal procedure raises a number of issues that also arise in divorce. At Miley Law Firm, P.C., I can advise you on what legal separation involves and what you need to do to achieve it and can represent you in court and in related matters.
Legal separation, or separate maintenance, is a court procedure by which a married couple create separate households. As with a divorce, the procedure may involve property division, alimony, child custody and child support. Unlike divorce, however, legal separation imposes significant limitations on the spouses. Often, a separate maintenance order will prohibit you from selling or otherwise disposing of your property. Nevada law also prohibits lump sum payments of alimony or child support. On the other hand, separation has some advantages over divorce. For instance, it allows a spouse to continue to benefit from a family health insurance policy. It may also give you and your spouse an opportunity to reconcile your differences without living together. I can explain the separate-maintenance process and advise you on all the relevant issues.
A married couple can file for separate maintenance in any of these circumstances:
The first three circumstances are also grounds for divorce in Nevada; the last one is only a ground for separate maintenance.
The process begins by one or both spouses filing a signed, notarized petition in state district court. If the spouses agree on all key issues, they may file a written, signed agreement with the petition and the court will likely incorporate its terms into the maintenance order. If not, the court will need to decide the unresolved issues. In contested cases, the court will hold a hearing, at which each spouse has the opportunity to be heard. Importantly, the order cannot violate the terms of a valid prenuptial agreement.
An experienced family lawyer can provide trustworthy advice on legal separation and represent you in the court proceeding. Nevada law does not provide for legal separation of domestic partnerships. However, domestic partners may informally separate if they can agree to all important issues, and I can provide assistance in this regard.
The Miley Law Firm, P.C. advises Nevada clients regarding legal separation and related issues. Please call 702-850-3600 or contact me online to make an appointment for a meeting at my Las Vegas office.