What You Should Know About Community Property in Nevada
Nevada is one of the nine states that observes a “community property” system for asset division, but because the significant majority of states use the “equitable distribution” system, new residents of Nevada can find themselves becoming very confused if they decide to file for divorce. Community property treats the marriage as a ‘community,’ and divides everything, with some exceptions, right down the middle, 50-50. If you have questions about asset division, contacting a knowledgeable attorney may be of help.
Assets Are Divided Evenly
Community property is defined as anything acquired during the marriage that is not specifically separate property, and Nevada law holds that the spouses both hold that property in “present, equal, and existing interests.” In other words, anything that you or your spouse acquire while you are married is the property of both of you. There are exceptions, such as anything inherited by one spouse (since it was explicitly willed to only the one person, and the testator’s preferences will usually be honored).
While Nevada law does suggest that community property should be divided 50-50, there are permitted exceptions. For example, the court can deviate from the 50-50 suggestion where a couple has executed a prenuptial agreement that dictates asset division. Existing assets may also be divided “unequally” where one spouse has dissipated community assets, although the outcome is not a true “unequal distribution” of the community. Without a valid reason, however, the even split is honored.
Separate Property Can Become Community Property
Something that can be a significant shock is that while community property rarely becomes separate property, the reverse is not true. In some cases, separate property gets commingled with community property – money is a common example – and when separate and community property are mixed to a point where it is impossible to determine which is which, the entirety is transmuted to be community property. There are other means by which such a transmutation can occur as well, though comingling tangible assets is the most common.
For example, if one spouse has a separate bank account that they have maintained since before the marriage, the money in that account is generally their property. However, if they then turn that into a joint account, where their spouse has the privilege to deposit and withdraw, then all of the money in that account is presumed to be community property. If you have separate property, it is crucial that you keep it separate.
Contact An Experienced Divorce Attorney
Dividing community property and debts can be a much more complex process than one might think it would be. If you have questions or concerns about dividing community property in your divorce, an experienced Las Vegas divorce attorney should be your first call. The Kainen Law Group has years and years of experience with these matters, and we are ready to put our knowledge to work for you. Call our offices today to speak to an attorney.