Spouses with backs to each otherThis is the next post in a series of articles discussing legal separations, or “separate maintenance,” in Las Vegas, Nevada. My previous article provided an overview of the topics to be discussed throughout this series. It also stressed the importance of consulting with an experienced family law attorney when considering ending a marriage. Given the potential long-term consequences of obtaining a legal separation or divorce, exploring your options with a lawyer in advance may be extremely beneficial. In this article, I will discuss situations in which legally separating may be preferable to obtaining a divorce in Las Vegas. If you need assistance, contact my office today to schedule a consultation with a lawyer.

Nevada, unlike many other states, allows its residents to obtain a formal legal separation as opposed to requiring a divorce or annulment of a marriage. Known as separate maintenance under Nevada law, a legal separation has many of the same legal consequences of a divorce but does not result in the termination of the marriage. Similar to a divorce, spouses who obtain a separate maintenance order from the Clark County Family Court will legally resolve the division of marital assets and debts, child support and custody, and alimony. They will remain married, however, in the eyes of the law. While separate maintenance may not be appropriate for every couple, it is a popular alternative to divorce for many Las Vegas residents.

Unlike a divorce, separate maintenance does not legally terminate a marriage. Therefore, legal separation can be an option for couples who are considering a divorce, but who are not yet ready to make that final decision or are averse to divorce for religious or other reasons. It allows individuals to establish and formalize their legal rights and obligations regarding bills, assets, kids, and financial support without permanently ending their legal relationship as spouses. Separate maintenance orders are permanent (unless the couple goes back to court) and can stay in effect in perpetuity, which provides clarity regarding finances, child visitation, etc. After obtaining a formal legal separation, assets and debts incurred by either spouse remain separate property rather than becoming community property subject to division in a later divorce. In addition, legal separation allows the couple to retain certain benefits available to spouses. These may include the continuation of healthcare benefits, filing joint tax returns, or the accumulation of federal military or social security retirement or death benefits. Given the potentially significant financial impact of the availability of ongoing insurance or other benefits, such matters should be carefully considered by couples considering divorce. An experienced attorney can explain how such factors can impact your case.

I understand that no two families are alike. When evaluating options related to divorce, annulment, or legal separation, I take the time to discuss your specific needs and objectives and customize my advice to your situation. If you need assistance, my office is ready to assist you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with a Las Vegas lawyer.