How Does “Separate Maintenance” Work in Nevada?

man and woman sitting cross armed on couch

Obtaining a divorce decree completely terminates a marriage and has vast implications, such as the ability to inherit, how taxes are addressed, and insurance coverage. Often times people cannot legally get divorced because of their religious beliefs or because serious medical issues require them to remain on their spouse’s insurance. For these couples, separate maintenance may be a viable option.

Separate Maintenance is what Nevada calls a court-ordered separation. It allows a person to file a request for a court order that addresses the same issues that arise with a divorce, such as possession of marital property, how debt and expenses will be handled, the marital home, spousal maintenance, child custody, and child support. These orders can be modified, and for some, can serve as a trial-run of an actual divorce.

Advantages and Disadvantages

There are several advantages to separate maintenance that don’t exist if a couple pulls a trigger on a divorce. These include the abilities to:

  • Maintain a chance at reconciliation rather than the finality of divorce.
  • Allow the still-married couple to continue on the same health insurance policy.
  • File joint tax returns.
  • Allow a spouse to remain as the beneficiary for insurance, pension, and estate planning purposes.

However, there are also limits to what a court can order regarding separate maintenance. For example, a spouse cannot use a separate maintenance action to defy the provisions of a pre-nuptial agreement. Also, a court cannot violate child support statutes and order a lump-payment of child support. In addition, either party may file an action for divorce at any time, regardless of the status of a separate maintenance action.

Who Can File For Separate Maintenance?

Any married person can file a separate maintenance action if they have the grounds for a divorce or if they have been deserted by the other spouse for 90 days.

Separate Maintenance Attorneys at Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P.

Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P. is a full-service law firm in Reno that offers custom-tailored legal advice and representation regarding family law issues. If you are considering an end to your marriage and want to discuss your legal option, contact us today. Our attorneys are smart, proven, and thoughtful. We understand that this is an incredibly difficult time and will treat you with compassion and respect. Let us assist you. Contact Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 227-2280 to schedule an initial consultation or contact our office through our website.

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