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In some instances, a legal separation is a valuable alternative to filing for divorce for couples who wish to formally but not legally end their relationship. Under Nevada law, such a separation can be accomplished through what is referred to as a “separate maintenance” action.

This action is much like a divorce in that the same family and financial issues must be resolved through an agreement between the two parties. However, at the end of the separate maintenance action, the two parties are still legally married and can take advantage of the legal benefits that marriage offers.

If you would like to better understand and/or begin the process of obtaining a legal separation in Carson City, Reno, or the surrounding areas, you can turn to the trusted family law firm of Berkich Lucey Law Group. Our capable legal team can ensure that you understand the pros and cons of this legal action as opposed to divorce. We can follow through by taking the time to understand the details of your family and financial situation.

Once that is thoroughly accomplished, we can then begin preparing your case by helping you work out a settlement of the issues pertinent to you and your spouse. The agreements concerning these issues will become part of the formal separate maintenance decree established through the courts.

Do you wish to legally separate? Get professional help from Berkich Lucey Law Group by contacting us online or at (775) 227-2404.

Separate Maintenance in Nevada

As stated above, legal separation does not dissolve your marriage.

However, it is similar to a divorce in that you will have to resolve the following issues related to living apart:

  • Both physical and legal child custody
  • Child visitation/timesharing plan
  • Child support calculated according to state guidelines
  • Whether spousal support (alimony) will be required and, if so, how much and for how long
  • How marital property and debts will be divided and distributed

These issues can involve such matters as deciding who will get the marital home or if it should be sold, who gets custody of a family pet or family heirlooms, and other details that must be worked out between the two parties. The only factor that can affect the financial details of your agreement will be a valid prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements are legal contracts that can contain clauses affecting spousal support, each spouse’s earnings, and property that courts will generally uphold when determining that the contract is valid.

Why Get a Legal Separation?

Various reasons may exist for a couple to opt for separate maintenance as opposed to divorce. These can include the following which show the benefits of remaining legally married:

  • The parties wish to retain insurance or health care benefits that would be lost through a divorce
  • The parties wish to retain Social Security or military benefits that would be lost through a divorce
  • One or both parties belong to a religion that bans or censors divorce
  • The parties wish to continue filing joint tax returns
  • The parties believe a reconciliation may be possible and do not want to proceed with the divorce process; separate maintenance allows them to take time apart and hopefully resolve their differences

A separate maintenance action can be very protective in terms of your parental rights and financial resources. For example, any debts incurred by your spouse after the legal separation has been established will not be your responsibility but viewed as separate property.

A separate maintenance decree can be sought at any time without needing any legal “grounds.” This is because Nevada allows no-fault divorce that is based on the incompatibility of the parties. This same rule applies to separate maintenance.

Other Facts About Separate Maintenance

Similar to a divorce, various issues established under a separate maintenance decree can be modified through the courts. The party whose life or financial circumstances have substantially changed can seek to modify child custody and visitation, child support, or spousal support.

What Happens if Spouse Breaks Terms of the Decree

Spouses who break the terms of the decree can also be taken to court by the other spouse to enforce the agreements made in the decree. For example, if a spouse refuses to pay child support arrears, he or she can be held in contempt of court or face other court sanctions such as wage garnishment.

Get Competent Legal Help from a Separation Lawyer

A separate maintenance decree has many legal benefits. If you are considering this action as a trial separation or for other reasons, our firm can help put protections in place for you and your children through this proceeding. We have extensive experience in handling all matters pertaining to family law in the Nevada courts.

Reach out to us at (775) 227-2404 to schedule a consultation about your legal needs today.

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