Legal Separation vs. Divorce in Nevada

Not every struggling marriage winds up in divorce. When a married couple wants to separate but feels as though the marriage can still be saved; or wants to remain married for religious, financial, or health reasons they can petition the court to be granted a legal separation, rather than a divorce.

A legal separation is a court order stating that the current state of affairs of your marital relationship causes it to be impossible for you and your spouse to co-habitate, hence, you will live separately but leave your marriage intact.

Overall, a legal separation and a divorce in are essentially the same thing but with a few very significant differences. What follows is an overview of the main differences between a legal separation and a divorce in Nevada.

The Differences Between Legal Separation and Divorce in Nevada

The most important difference between a legal separation and a divorce in Nevada is the fact that with a legal separation, your marriage is not dissolved. This means that you will continue to be lawfully married and will be unable to re-marry until such time as you actually divorce.

Another significant difference is the fact that, contrary to a divorce, a legal separation is not a final order and if at any time while legally separated you decide that you want to resume married life, you can file a motion to have the separation dismissed. Likewise, if at any time during the separation either of you feels that your differences are irreconcilable, you may file for divorce.

The Similarities Between Separation and Divorce in Nevada

Legal separation and divorce in Nevada are much the same considering that they share similar filing requirements and both entail dividing assets between the spouses, as well as, determining how child custody will be allocated and the amount of child support and/or alimony to be paid.

In addition, the grounds upon which a legal separation may be granted in Nevada are identical to grounds upon which a divorce may be granted, namely:

  1. Incompatibility
  2. Lack of cohabitation for at least one year
  3. Insanity for a period of two years

One final difference between a legal separation and a divorce in Nevada is the fact that couples who desire a legal separation are not required to satisfy any residency requirement or waiting period and may be granted a legal separation in only a few weeks from the day that the petition was filed.


To summarize the primary difference between a legal separation and a divorce in Nevada is that a legal separation will allow you to live separately but remain lawfully married. You will receive all of the advantages (and disadvantages) of a being divorced, without your marriage being dissolved. This may afford you and your spouse the time and space to address your differences and to determine whether or not a divorce is in your family’s best interest.

An attorney who is well-acquainted with Nevada family law will be able to further advise you on the legal requirements for obtaining a legal separation and the benefits thereof.