Many couples cohabitate and have children together without being legally married. Ideally, a separation agreement should be drafted and executed by both parties when these relationships change. Separations can be more complex than people may think. In many cases, couples who believe they have a simple case may find that their situation is much more complicated than anticipated.
This is because there are many factors to consider when separating, such as property division, child custody, and child support, and other equitable claims that may exist. Jennifer Abrams, a divorce lawyer in Las Vegas, NV, believes that consulting with an experienced family law attorney can help you understand your rights and obligations during such a separation.
What Is Legal Separation?
Nevada does not have a formal “legal separation” law; in Nevada, there is a law of “Separate Maintenance” which is similar, and which a lot of people use interchangeably with the words “legal separation.” A legal separation is a court-ordered arrangement in which a married couple agrees to live apart but remains legally married. In a legal separation, the couple may resolve issues such as child custody, visitation schedules, spousal support, property division, and debt division.
Jennifer Abrams states that a legal separation is not a divorce and does not end a marriage; however, it can be used as a stepping stone toward divorce if a married couple decides to file for divorce later.
Differences Between Legal Separation And Divorce
A divorce is a court-ordered termination of a marriage. In a divorce, the couple agrees to sever all legal ties and dissolve the marriage. A divorce ends a marriage, whereas a legal separation does not.
Jennifer Abrams knows that there are many things to consider when going through a separation or divorce. It is crucial to seek legal advice from an experienced divorce law attorney to protect your rights. Some of the things you may need to consider are:
- Property division: Who will get which assets? How will the joint property be divided?
- Child custody and visitation: What are the custody arrangements? What are the holiday and vacation schedules?
- Support: Who will pay support, and how much will be paid, if any? Who will carry health insurance for the children? Who will pay for the children’s out-of-pocket medical, dental, orthodontic, extracurricular, and other expenses?
- Debt division: How will debts be divided?
- Tax implications: How will the separation or divorce affect taxes?
- Insurance coverage: How will the separation or divorce affect your health insurance coverage?
- Retirement benefits: How will your retirement benefits be affected by the separation or divorce?
- Estate planning: You may need to update your will or create a new estate plan after you separate or get divorced.
What Is Unmarried Couple Separation In Nevada?
In Nevada, unmarried couples who have separated may enter into a separation agreement to resolve issues such as property division, child custody, and support payments. Jennifer Abrams is well experienced in drafting separation agreements for both married and unmarried couples. Such an agreement can modify the rule that basically says that all Separate Maintenance orders for married couples are temporary, addressing “possession” rather than ownership of property. The rules and how they interact can be very complex, and Jennifer Abrams has taught Continuing
Legal Education (“CLE”) courses to other lawyers to explain the issues. Usually, once such an agreement is signed, it can be enforced by the court if either party fails to uphold their end of the agreement.
Why Would An Unmarried Couple Need A Separation Agreement?
An unmarried couple may enter into a separation agreement for many reasons. For example, the couple may want to resolve issues related to property division, child custody, and support payments without going to court. Additionally, the couple may want to clearly understand their rights and obligations during the separation. By entering into a separation agreement, the couple can avoid potential conflicts during the breakup.
Misconceptions About Unmarried Couple Separation In Nevada
There are many misconceptions about separation agreements for unmarried couples in
Nevada. One common misconception is that separation agreements are only appropriate for married couples. While they are more common amongst married couples, there has been an increase in written agreements between unmarried couples in the form of both cohabitation agreements and separation agreements.
Nevada treats unmarried cohabitants differently than married couples regarding separation agreements, mainly dealing with legal presumptions as to who owns property, and as to entitlement to make a claim for support.
The law is always evolving, but at least for now, property acquired during marriage is presumed to be community, while that is not so for unmarried cohabitants, who have to prove intent to co-own property. There are a greatly limited number of circumstances in which unmarried cohabitants may make claims for support after separation, while any divorcing party can at least assert a claim for alimony. As noted, the rules relating to child custody and support are the same regardless of marital status.
What Rights Do Unmarried Couples Have In Nevada?
While unmarried couples do not have the same rights as married couples in Nevada, they have some legal rights. For example, unmarried couples have the right to make agreements as to ownership of property, and upon break-up to enter a separation agreement to resolve issues such as property division, child custody, and support payments. Additionally, the right of a victim to file for a domestic violence restraining order does not require marriage.
Unmarried couples in Nevada have some legal rights, including the right to obtain orders for child custody and support, to enter a separation agreement, and to file for a domestic violence restraining order. If you are part of an unmarried couple considering separation, it is important to consult with an attorney who can help you understand your rights and obligations under Nevada law.
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