When you make the difficult decision to separate from your spouse or end your marriage, you will likely find yourself in a complicated new world full of difficult choices and confusing legal options. Even the most basic decision - whether to seek an annulment, a legal separation, or a divorce - can be daunting if you aren't sure what each of those options provides. Here is a brief guide on these family law procedures and what each entails.
Divorce is the most common legal procedure for ending a marriage in Las Vegas. Under Nevada family law, neither spouse has to prove fault on the part of the other party in order for their divorce to be granted. Incompatibility or a marriage simply not working is sufficient. When your divorce is final, your marriage is over.
In contrast, legal separation is often sought by spouses who do not want to end their marriage for religious, economic, or other reasons, but who want to live separately. Much like divorce, a Decree of Separate Maintenance will establish a plan for child custody and child support and divide marital property as needed. However, the marriage will not be over until the parties take the additional step of filing for divorce.
Finally, an annulment is granted when the court finds that the marriage was not valid to begin with. This occurs when the marriage was procured by fraud, or when one or both of the spouses were under the age of 18 or otherwise incapable of consenting to the marriage. In this situation, the court will nullify the marriage altogether.
If you are unsure of the best option for you and your family, it may be in your best interest to contact an experienced Las Vegas family law attorney who will discuss your situation and help you determine the best step to take.
Source: Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, "Divorce (Part 1)"