Nevada Residency for Divorce Purposes




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Nevada Residency Before Filing a  Divorce Action in Las Vegas (or elsewhere in Nevada):

At least one of the parties in a Nevada divorce must have resided in Nevada for a minimum of six-weeks before filing a Joint Petition for Nevada Divorce, or Nevada must be the last place the parties cohabited and where the parties separated.

The Court requires proof of your residency in the form of an Affidavit of Resident Witness. The individual who signs this sworn Affidavit in front of a notary must be another Nevada resident who knows you to have lived in Nevada for a minimum of six weeks before the date your divorce gets filed.

If you are not a current resident of Nevada, and your spouse is not a current Nevada resident, and you did not last reside with your spouse in Nevada, you must first establish residency in Nevada before filing a Nevada divorce.

1. “Resident” includes, but is not limited to, a person:

  • Whose legal residence is in the State of Nevada.
  • Who engages in intrastate business and operates in such a business any motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer, or any person maintaining such vehicles in this State, as the home state of such vehicles.
  • Who physically resides in this State and engages in a trade, profession, occupation or accepts gainful employment in this State.
  • Who declares himself to be a resident of this State to obtain privileges not ordinarily extended to nonresidents of this State.

2. The term does not include a person who is an actual tourist, an out-of-state student, a foreign exchange student, a border state employee or a seasonal resident.


How you can establish Nevada residency:

Please note that we do NOT assist parties who wish to move to Nevada to file a divorce. Your divorce documents must state that you are a current Nevada resident, and that you have the intent to remain in Nevada. 

Rent lodging – generally speaking, the court does not require a rent receipt unless your residency is being questioned by the other party in the divorce, however, you might as well obtain a receipt for your lodging should the Court request proof that you actually rented (or purchased) a home in Nevada. This can be as simple as renting a room in someone’s home, as long as you can obtain a rent receipt.

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires that incoming residents trade in their out-of-state driver’s license for a Nevada driver’s license before the first 30-day period of residency has expired.

The Court generally does not ask to see your driver’s license unless you must make a court appearance in your divorce. However, it’s a good idea to corroborate your Nevada residency in the form of a Nevada driver’s license, voter registration (if you vote), rental or utility company receipt (if you rent/own a place where the utilities are in your name) and, or, car registration, if you own a vehicle.

If your divorce is uncontested, it’s unlikely you’ll have to appear in court and show as much proof as stated above, though it has occured in the past. If you do not drive, simply obtain an official Nevada Identification card from the DMV.

The court does require the sworn Affidavit (signed in front of a notary) of another Nevada resident (known as the resident witness) that states that this Nevada resident has seen you physically present in Nevada at least 3-4 times a week for a minimum period of 6 weeks.

Should you have to attend a hearing for your divorce (highly unlikely if your divorce is not contested), your Resident Witness would be required to attend the hearing with you and testify under oath as to your residency. This simply means the resident witness takes the stand, gets sworn in, and then replies “yes” to questions about whether or not you currently reside in Nevada.

You must have the intent at the time of your divorce to make Nevada your home indefinitely. This does not mean you are forced to live the rest of your life in Nevada; just that you must have the intent, at the time of the filing of your divorce, to make Nevada your permanent home and residence.


Children and residency in a Nevada divorce:

Nevada District Court only takes jurisdiction over children that have lived in Nevada with you for a minimum of six (6) months. At that point, Nevada is considered the “home state” of the children and the Court will pass rulings on physical custody, visitation, and child support.

EXCEPTION: If you can show an “emergency” under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act, a Nevada judge can make rulings over children who have not resided in Nevada for six months. Such cases can become complicated. In order to protect your children’s rights and your own rights, we highly recommend that you contact us so that Attorney James E. Smith can advise you on your best course of action.

If you find it difficult to make a decision regarding physical custody, visitation, and child support , consider addressing those issues with a professional, licensed, mediator before filing your Nevada divorce.

Many divorcing people with children (and, or, with property to divide),find that they benefit greatly from meeting with a mediator prior to filing their divorces.

Through the mediation process, you’ll come to decisions regarding your children that work for both parents and, most importantly, for the children. Leaving it up to a judge in a divorce trial, as well-intentioned as she or he might be, never makes anyone happy because the decision is made by someone who knows little of you, your children, and your life.