Family Law Services
Step Parent Adoption
Stepparent adoption provides a legal way to blend a family, giving the adopted child a new last name and birth certificate if desired and giving the stepparent legal rights and protection. A stepparent can file for adoption of a spouse’s child, as long as the second biological parent is deceased or consents to the adoption by signing away all parental rights. If the other biological parent is unwilling, parental rights can sometimes be terminated due to abandonment or other circumstances. Both the stepparent and his or her spouse petition together for the adoption; if the child being adopted is over 12, he or she will also have to sign his or her consent.
Pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are signed legal contracts discussing the division of assets in the event of a divorce. Nevada is a community property state, meaning that marital assets must be divided equally between the parties. This can cause tension if one person was responsible for more debt or the marriage only lasted a short time, hence the popularity of prenuptial agreements. As its name implies, a postnuptial agreement is similar, except that it is entered into after the marriage has begun. One important difference is that prenuptial agreements can discuss alimony, while postnuptial ones cannot. If you are considering marriage or are already married, you may want to discuss your assets with a lawyer to ensure you are protected.
Domestic Violence & Civil Harassment Restraining Orders
When you need protection from domestic violence or civil harassment, you need a restraining order against the abuser. Nevada orders for protection for both domestic violence and civil harassment are classified as either temporary or extended. Temporary and extended orders are awarded by a judge based upon your testimony in court, and extended orders also require the abuser to testify. For Clark County, the duration of domestic violence restraining orders is impacted if there is a divorce or custody case pending as well. It is generally in your best interest to hire an attorney when filing for an order of protection, particularly if the abuser has already sought legal representation.
In certain circumstances, Nevada courts will grant an annulment, which registers a marriage as null and void. Unlike in a divorce, where there is a legal record of a relationship, an annulment voids the marriage as if it never occurred. Annulments are only granted based off of specific criteria and it is generally considered that the earlier in the marriage that you apply for an annulment, the more likely you are to receive it. It is vital to contact a lawyer before proceeding with an annulment in order to determine if you are eligible.
Mediation is a smart first step in the process of obtaining a divorce. If you can avoid going to court, your path to separation will be much faster, simpler, and cheaper. A third-party mediator facilitates an agreement between the divorcing spouses and aims to skip the litigation in favor of helping the parties resolve the matter themselves. Sometimes, mediation is court-ordered, particularly if there are child custody issues involved, but many people also turn to mediation of their own volition. Divorce lawyers can help navigate the mediation process and create a binding settlement at the end.
Collaborative divorce is a process of negotiation and mediation that the parties utilize to come to a settlement without resorting to the court system. It is quicker and less expensive than traditional litigated divorce, although will only be effective if both spouses are willing to work together. You will still want to hire a divorce attorney for a collaborative divorce, so that you can set your personal goals and have someone working with you during the discussion process. When you look for a divorce lawyer, make sure that the he or she is as capable at the negotiating table as in the courtroom, since collaborative divorces require different skills.
An uncontested divorce is a fairly straightforward process, since by definition neither party is contesting the agreement. While it is still advisable to retain a divorce attorney to ensure everything is filed properly, in an uncontested divorce, matters move quickly and take much less paperwork. Before proceeding with an uncontested divorce, however, you should be confident that it is the correct choice for your situation. A lawyer familiar with Nevada divorce law can help you determine if an uncontested divorce will best meet your needs.
Characterization and Division of Complex Assets
In Nevada, almost all assets gained during a marriage are considered community property and will have to be divided during a divorce. Generally, assets are divided evenly, but this can quickly become a complex matter when dealing with retirement accounts, business ownership, deferred compensation, or physical property. Debts acquired during the marriage are also split between the divorcing parties. To ensure that your rights are respected and you are receiving your fair share, consult with an attorney who can represent your interests during the process.
If your divorce case goes to trial, you want someone on your side whom you trust to look out for you and protect your rights. An experienced Las Vegas divorce lawyer will be able to defend you, and your property or parental rights if applicable, in court against your ex-spouse. Be sure to retain an attorney who is intimately familiar with Nevada divorce law; your lawyer should also be someone you feel comfortable discussing your personal history and assets with so that he or she can best represent you.
Child Custody and Child Visitation
Custody arrangements in Nevada pertain to two areas. Legal custody is the right to make major decisions for a child, such as education, healthcare, and religion, while physical custody involves the actual location of a child. Parents can have sole or joint legal or physical custody, which is why it is advisable to retain a lawyer when working through a custody and visitation agreement. The separating parties generally go through mediation and then, if an agreement is not resolved, they will present their case in court. A lawyer will be able to present your evidence and preserve your rights if your child custody case comes before a judge.
Child and Spousal Support
Setting up or modifying child support arrangements relies on knowledge of two main Nevada statutes, one which establishes the percent of income to be paid and one which lists grounds for deviation from that percentage, such as healthcare costs. If one parent has primary physical custody, generally the other parent will pay child support. If the child is under joint physical custody, there still may be an obligation for one parent to pay if there is a large discrepancy in their incomes. A Las Vegas child support attorney can review the facts of your case and help ensure that child support is set appropriately.
Modification of Orders - Post-Judgment
Many times, the divorce or custody agreement put in place in the beginning requires amending due to a change in income, a desire to move, or a wish for a different visitation schedule. Any alteration requires that the parties try to work out a solution through mediation, and if that fails, they will need to submit a motion before a judge stating why the change is being requested. Regardless of how the change is agreed upon, it must be recorded in writing and signed by all parties to ensure that it is enforceable going forward. A lawyer will be able to guide you through the process of updating your custody agreement with your ex-spouse and can represent you in court if necessary.
Enforcement of Orders
Unfortunately, even the best family law resolutions do not always provide a solution, and it is necessary to rely on legal help to enforce custody or child support orders or even return to court to ask the judge for aid with enforcement. The judge can hold the offending party in contempt of court for failure to obey the terms of the decree. However, judges generally want proof that you attempted to solve the issue outside of the court first, and there must be a signed official document (such as a custody agreement) that has been broken. If you are being taken advantage of by an ex-spouse violating a court order, speak with a lawyer to discuss your options for assistance.
ESTATE PLANNING INSTRUMENTS
Organizing your affairs today means keeping control of your finances in the present while sparing your loved ones the burden of managing your affairs when you no longer can. At Acherman Law, we offer various comprehensive plans tailored to suit your needs, including the preparation of on or more estate planning instruments such as:
POWER OF ATTORNEY
A power of attorney allows the person of your choosing to make decisions regarding your personal assets. If you are incapacitated and are not able to express your desires about how to manage your estate, you want to make sure that someone you trust is able to make the important decisions regarding your valuable assets. However, if you have not prepared a power of attorney before being incapacitated, the decision as to who will care for your estate will be out of your hands. A comprehensive estate plan will include a power of attorney for financial matters to ensure that someone you choose and trust is able to make those important decisions in the event of incapacitation. Contact Acherman Law today for your Estate Planning needs.
HEALTH CARE PROXY
A health care proxy allows a patient to appoint a trusted person as their agent to make health care decisions in the event the patient is unable to make those decisions on their own. You want to make sure someone you trust will be able to make decisions regarding your personal health care in the event you are unable to make those decisions yourself. That is why a health care proxy is such an important part of any Estate Plan. Make sure you and your assets are protected with a complete and comprehensive Estate Plan. Contact Acherman Law to begin or review your Estate Plan today.
A living will allows you to express your wishes regarding end of life care. Living Wills are also referred to as advance directives, health care directives, or physician’s directives. This document allows a person to direct doctors regarding life prolonging medical treatments. The state of Nevada even allows a person to file their Living Will with the secretary of state so that it may be disseminated to every major hospital in the state. Make sure that your Estate Plan contains a Living Will so that you can ensure that you are always in complete control of your health care. Contact Acherman Law and set up an appointment today.
LAST WILL & TESTAMENT
If a person passes without a will, the state will decide how to distribute your assets without regard to your personal wishes. A last will and testament allows you to control how your estate will be distributed upon your death and gives you control over how and when your assets will be distributed. A will can also allow you to provide for your children in the event of your death by designating a person you know and trust to be the guardian of your child. No one likes to think about his or her own death, but the consequences of passing on without a comprehensive plan as to how your assets, possessions, and loved ones will be cared for, can cause strife and stress for your loved ones above and beyond the hardship of having to live on without you. Every Estate Plan should involve a will, whether on its own or in conjunction with a Living Trust. Call Acherman Law and we can begin working on your Comprehensive Estate Plan so you can be sure that you are in complete control of your estate.
At Acherman Law, we know that every Will should provide for a guardianship for your children. If you have children, you need to ensure that they will be cared for in the event of your incapacity or death. Every comprehensive Estate Plan needs to establish a guardianship for your child so that you know that your child will be cared for by someone both you and your child know and trust. Don’t leave it up to the courts to decide what is best for your children, contact Acherman Law today and set up a consultation so that we can begin your Comprehensive Estate Plan today.