This is the next post in a series of articles discussing divorces in which one or both spouses is a member of the armed forces in Las Vegas, Nevada. My previous article provided an overview of the topics to be discussed throughout this series. Divorce can be a distressing and emotional process. For those serving our country, unique issues may apply to their divorce cases that civilians do not need to consider. An experienced family lawyer can help you understand these issues and navigate the process. In this post, I will discuss Nevada’s requirements for residing within the state that will determine whether a couple may file for divorce in Las Vegas. If you need assistance, contact my office today to speak with an attorney.
Residents must reside in Nevada for six weeks before filing for divorce in Las Vegas
Non-military couples are generally required to file for divorce in the state in which one or both of the individuals has legal residency. For military personnel, however, additional options may be available. Generally speaking, couples in which one person is a member of the military have three options of where to file for divorce. These include the state in which the filing spouse resides, the state where the service member is stationed, or the state of the member’s legal residence. It is important to understand that where one files for divorce will dictate many of the outcomes of the case, such as the required grounds for divorce, ongoing support, and division of military benefits, such as a military pension.
Military members are faced with these choices at Nellis Air Force Base regularly. In some instances, their home state may require a “waiting period” of six months or even a year before one may file for divorce. Others require specific grounds for divorce, such a one spouse being “at fault” in some way. Nevada is a “no-fault divorce” state with a residency requirement of only six weeks. This means that you may file for divorce as long as you or your spouse has resided in Nevada for the last six weeks. Also, because Nevada does not require fault, you may simply file for divorce on grounds of incompatibility. Nevada’s divorce laws are extremely lenient. For that reason, many service members stationed at Nellis decide to file in Las Vegas.
How to proceed with a military divorce if one spouse cannot be located
For most couples, each spouse will know where the other is living, even if they are separated. In some cases, however, one may wish to seek a divorce and be unable to locate the other spouse. For example, an Air Force pilot returns from deployment to find that her husband has abandoned their apartment and failed to leave a forwarding address. When the location of the other spouse is unknown, Nevada law allows the filing party to serve the missing spouse with a complaint for divorce by publication rather than in-person service of process.
Nevada law requires the filing party to make reasonable efforts to locate the spouse, which must be memorialized in an Affidavit of Due Diligence. If the location of the spouse is still unknown following this process, the court will allow the notice to be published in the newspaper. The notice must appear once per week for four consecutive weeks. Also, the missing person’s nearest relative must be served with the divorce complaint. After the completion of this process with no response from the missing spouse, the court will hear the divorce case and may enter a default judgment against them granting the divorce.
If you are contemplating ending your marriage and need assistance, contact my office today to speak with a Las Vegas family lawyer. My office has significant experience handling family law cases, including divorces, custody disputes, and annulments.