Is any particular
form of ceremony required?
No. The parties must declare in the presence of the person performing the ceremony
and the attending witness that they take each other as husband and wife. (NRS
Is there a record of my marriage?
Yes. After the ceremony has been performed, the person who performs the ceremony
must deliver the marriage certificate required by NRS 122.120 to the county recorder’s
office. (NRS 122.130(1)). The marriage is recorded by the county recorder. (NRS
How can I get a certified copy of
my marriage certificate?
If you were married in Reno you can obtain a certified copy
of your marriage certificate from the Washoe County Recorder’s
Office. This office is located in the Washoe County Administration
Complex, 1001 E. 9th Street, Building A, Room 150. Each copy
costs $10 and takes 10-15 working days to process. If you
wish to request a copy by mail, the mailing address is Washoe
County Recorder, P.O. Box 11130, Reno, NV 89520-0027. Their
hours of operation are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Does Nevada recognize common-law
No. Common-law marriages are not valid in Nevada. (NRS 122.010).
Does Nevada recognize same-sex marriages?
No. In 2002, the Nevada Constitution was amended to limit recognition of marriage to marriages between a man and a woman. (Nevada Constitution, Art. I sec. 21). Nevada does, however, allow same sex couples to register as a Domestic Partnership. To do so, they must register their union with the Nevada Secretary of State, and meet the same general requirements as parties desiring to enter into a marriage. Domestic partners have the same rights, duties and responsibilities to one another as do married partners, and can be required to pay support to one another, and child support for children adopted into their union. Further, Domestic Partners can accrue community property together, which must then be divided if their union comes to an end.
What is community property? Does
Nevada recognize community property?
Yes. Community property is recognized in Nevada. Community
property is presumed to include all property other than separate
property that is acquired during the marriage by either or
both of the parties. (NRS 123.220).
There are some exceptions to the general rule of community
property. The parties can agree in writing that property
should not be held as community property. (NRS 123.220(1)).
A court can order that one of the parties be provided with
separate maintenance or award community property to one of
the parties (NRS 123.220(2), (4); NRS 123.259). When either
party authorizes the other party in writing to use their
own earnings, the earnings and any profits that occur from
those earnings, become separate property. (NRS 123.220(3);
NRS 123.190). Each party has an equal interest in community
property and community property is controlled by both parties.
(NRS 123.225(1); NRS 123.230).
What is separate property?
Separate property is property that each party owned before
the marriage and all property that is acquired after the
marriage by gift, devise, or descent. Devise or descent
means property that is acquired when someone dies and leaves
it to you in a will or you are legally entitled to the
property even if the person did not leave it to you in
a will. An award for personal injury damages to one of
the parties is also considered that party’s separate
property. (NRS 123.130). Each party controls their own
separate property. (NRS 123.170).
Husbands and wives are not liable for debts that the other
party had before the marriage occurred. (NRS 123.050).
What is a prenuptial agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a signed, written agreement that
the parties enter into with each other or with a third
party before marriage and in consideration of marriage
that defines how the property is to be distributed, the
rights and obligations of the parties to property, the
parties’ obligation to pay alimony or spousal support
or any other matter that does not violate public policy
if the marriage should end. The right of a child to child
support cannot be eliminated in a prenuptial agreement.
(NRS 123A.030(1); NRS 123A.050). If the agreement is not
entered into voluntarily, if it is unconscionable, or if
one party does not fully disclose his or her property or
financial obligations to the other party and the other
party did not waive the disclosure in writing and could
not reasonably have known about the property and financial
obligations, the agreement may not be enforced. (NRS 123A.080).
Does my new spouse have to support
Yes. A husband must provide his wife with necessities and
a wife must support her husband out of her separate property
if he has no separate property, they have no community property
and he is unable to support himself. (NRS 123.090; NRS 123.110).
Additionally, parents must provide necessary maintenance,
health care, education and support to their minor children.
What is the residency requirement
to get a divorce?
Unless the grounds for the divorce occurred within the county
while the parties were actually domiciled there, one of the
parties must actually live Nevada for six weeks before the
divorce petition can be filed. (NRS 125.020(2)).
What are grounds for divorce?
Grounds for divorce in Nevada include:
Insanity that has lasted for two years before the divorce
is filed; The parties have lived separately for a year without
cohabitation (it is up to the court whether or not to grant
a divorce on this ground); Incompatibility. (NRS 125.010).
Does Nevada have a no-fault divorce
Yes. The parties must enter into a written agreement that
is called a stipulation. The stipulation must be signed by
both parties under oath given by the clerk of the court or
the clerk’s deputy. The stipulation must state that
the parties have met the jurisdictional requirements needed
to get a divorce. The stipulation must state that the parties
have lived separate and apart for one year or that the parties
or incompatible. The stipulation must resolve all issues
raised by the pleadings and be accompanied by an affidavit
of a person who is competent to testify and who has personal
knowledge of the parties’ situation that supports the
parties’ claim that they have met the residency requirement
to get a divorce. (Chapter 346, Nevada Legislature, Sixty-third
How do I get a divorce?
You will need to file a divorce petition. You can either
hire an attorney or handle the divorce yourself. If you
want to handle the paperwork yourself, there is a Self-Help
Center located on the first floor of the Family Courthouse
of the Second Judicial Court, 1 South Sierra Street, Reno,
NV. If you obtain the forms from the Self-Help Center,
you will be charged a $2 fee. You can obtain the same forms
online for free at www.washoecourts.com by
clicking on the forms link.
Regardless of whether you hire an attorney or handle your
divorce yourself, a judge will consider child custody, child
support, financial maintenance of either spouse and property
division. As a general rule, all community property assets
and debts are divided equally.
What if I can’t afford to support
my children after my divorce is final?
The child, the child’s other parent or a child support agency (usually the local district attorney’s office) can sue you for support. In addition, a wage assignment can be obtained that would automatically deduct the support payment from your paycheck. (NRS 31A). Also, liens can be placed on your real or personal property (NRS 125B.142) and your federal income tax refunds can be intercepted to collect past due child support payments. Further, a parent who is more than two months behind in support and owes more than $1,000 can have their driving privilege revoked. Parents who are even farther behind in child support can be jailed for contempt of court, or sent to prison if they owe more than $10,000 in support. Professional licenses such as those for lawyers, doctors, accountants and others can be jeopardized by failure to pay child support.
What could happen if I don’t
provide support because I don’t think the child is
A paternity action can be started by the child, the child’s mother, a man presumed or alleged to be the child’s father or the district attorney. (NRS 126.071). You have the right to ask for blood or DNA tests, and if a man is identified as father he is required to pay for the costs of testing. (NRS 126.121(1)). If the question is not resolved, a trial will be held to determine the child’s paternity. (NRS 126.151).
Can my parental rights be taken away?
Yes. To terminate your parental rights, the court must determine
that there is parental fault and that the termination of
your parental rights is in your child’s best interest.
Parental fault includes any of the following grounds:
Abandonment of the child; Neglect of the child; Parental
unfitness; Failure of parental adjustment; Risk of serious
physical, mental or emotional injury to the child if the
child is returned to the parents’ home; or the parent
or parents have only made token efforts to support or communicate
with the child; to prevent the neglect of the child; to avoid
being an unfit parent; or to eliminate the risk of serious
physical, mental or emotional injury to the child. (NRS 128.105)
Can I agree to give up my child for
adoption and still have contact with the child?
Yes. If a biological parent decides to give up his/her parental
rights voluntarily (i.e., without the court ordering parental
rights to be terminated), Nevada has enacted a statute that
enables the biological and adoptive parent or parents to
enter into a written agreement concerning future contact
between the biological parent(s) and the child. (NRS 127.187).
The agreement must be in writing, signed by the parties and
incorporated into the adoption decree.