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Nevada's Community Property Laws

Nevada's Community Property Laws

If you are on the brink of divorce, surely, you’ll have questions. What property do I get to keep? Which debts and property do we have to split? Who will be responsible for debts that we incurred before and during the marriage?

In the United States, we have two methods for dividing marital property: equitable distribution and community property. Nevada is a community property state; this means all income and assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage belongs to both spouses equally, regardless of whose name is on the title or who earned it.

Likewise, all debts incurred during the course of the marriage are community debts – both spouses are equally responsible for them. For example, suppose a wife agreed to take over the auto loan for her vehicle, and this was addressed in the divorce decree. If she loses her job and can’t pay the loan, the creditor can go after her ex-husband for the unpaid debt. The creditor is not concerned with what it says in the settlement agreement.

Can Spouses Split Property Differently?

While spouses are entitled to 50 percent of the community property or marital assets, that does not mean they can’t deviate from the 50/50 formula. If a divorcing couple does not want to split the marital assets and debts down the middle, they can work out a different agreement so long as it’s fair and does not leave one spouse with nothing.

Separate vs. Community Property

Before a couple decides how to divide their community property, the first task is to distinguish community property from separate property, which is not subject to division in a Nevada divorce. As a rule of thumb, separate property is property that spouses acquire before marriage. However, sometimes separate property, such as a gift, personal injury award or inheritance acquired during the marriage, but for division purposes it remains separate.

Separate property typically includes:

  • Money earned before the marriage
  • Real estate owned by one spouse before the marriage
  • An inheritance given to one spouse during the marriage
  • Property given to one of the spouses during the marriage

Many clients ask us, “Can I get more property because my spouse had an affair?” In Nevada, the courts do not increase an innocent spouse’s share of community property because of their spouse’s misconduct, including adultery. The courts may, however, distribute property unevenly based on compelling economic circumstances.

If you’re looking for a Las Vegas divorce attorney, look no further than the Leavitt Law Firm, where our legal team has more than 27 years of collective experience. Call today to get started.

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