Deciding Between a Legal Separation and Divorce in Nevada

Legal columns

Couples in Nevada who are not sure about getting a divorce might want to consider looking into a legal separation agreement instead.

Just as it may be difficult to determine when a marriage is over, it may be equally difficult to decide whether it is better to get a divorce or legally separate. Even if a Nevada couple decides that divorce is better, they still might decide to remain separated for the foreseeable future. People who find themselves in such a predicament will do well to consider the advantages and disadvantages of legally separating in the state as opposed to getting an outright divorce.

Nevada and legal separation

In Nevada, legal separation and divorce are treated the same. Legally separated couples are required to split marital property as well as their retirement accounts. Spousal support, child custody and child support are options that are all on the table, in addition to other legal arrangements common to divorce. Unlike other states, Nevada couples do not have the option of a trial separation before they decide whether to file for divorce. Instead, legal separations in the state are considered permanent until the couple either dissolves the separation or chooses to divorce.

Liability may be limited

Rather than living apart and remaining legally married, drawing up a legal separation document may go a long way in limiting each spouse's liability. For instance, a separation agreement may limit one spouse's liability for any debts incurred by the other spouse while the agreement is in place. A legal document may prove especially beneficial if the separation lasts for a significant amount of time.

May allow a spouse to retain benefits

By opting for separation rather than divorce, one spouse may be able to maintain benefits for which she or he would not have qualified if the couple had decided to divorce. There are also cases where a couple separates to make it to the 10-year mark required for Social Security divorced spouse benefits. This may be a good option in marriages where one spouse makes less than the other. The same 10-year rule applies to military retired pay.

Act as legal protection

Should a couple live in separate households without a written separation agreement in place, there is a chance that one spouse could charge the other with abandonment or desertion. Depending on whether the relationship sours after the couple separates, having an agreement in place could be instrumental in avoiding retaliatory acts.

Nevada couples unsure of divorce may find a more agreeable option in legal separation. With either situation, it is always best to sit down with a law firm that has a background in family law to discuss the best plan of action for everyone involved.

Share To: