When a marriage ends, spouses have many practical issues to address. Dividing their property is often one of the biggest challenges. The longer the marriage lasted, the more people may have acquired as marital property. There may be real estate, retirement savings, furniture and vehicles that technically belong in part to both spouses. Many spouses also have debts they took on during the marriage. These financial obligations, like marital income, technically belong to both spouses regardless of the name on the account.
If people can’t reach an agreement about how they divide their assets in a Nevada divorce, then the judge hearing their case can manage the process by applying state law to the marital estate. What is the rule that governs property division in Nevada?
Nevada is a community property state
People can break most states in the country down into two categories when talking about divorce laws. There are states with equitable distribution statutes for property division and states with community property laws. Community property laws are less common, but Nevada is one of the states that use this approach.
Anything that either spouse earns or otherwise acquires during the marriage is typically part of the marital estate. Exceptions include gifts and inherited assets. Resources acquired prior to the marriage typically remain separate property for the purposes of a future divorce as well.
Usually, unless there is a prenuptial agreement stating otherwise, the income and property acquired by both spouses during the marriage belong equally to them both. Judges can use the community property statute to guide their choices about how to divide the resources and debts between the two spouses. There is no way to know exactly how a judge might handle that process. There is not a requirement to divide each asset individually but rather the marital estate as a whole. Therefore, there are countless ways for judges to handle the process and very little certainty about the outcome.
Many spouses would prefer to set their own terms by collaborating or even attending mediation. Those who set their own terms can retain control over property division matters. Learning more about the basic rules that apply during Nevada divorces may help people set realistic goals and mentally prepare for property division negotiations or litigation, depending on the nature of their circumstances.