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Legal Separation

Las Vegas Legal Separation Attorney

Family Law / Legal Separation

This common term for the legal Sperate Maintenance Decree spells out financial responsibilities between spouses, especially regarding control of property. Legal separation also can cover specifics about child custody, support, and visitation.

Legal separation exists to cover rare occasions when it suits the faith of the couple or if benefits such as insurance will cease upon a divorce. A legal separation may be entered into on the same ground as a divorce, including the no-fault under Nevada law. Remember that after 90 days desertion by a spouse comes into play. A Complaint of Divorce may be filed by either party and supersedes a Sperate Maintenance Decree.

Legal Processes

The same injunctive and temporary relief offered in a divorce applies to legal separation. Temporary orders for child support, spousal support, and custody all can be filed. Elements of property divisions, attorneys’ fees and alimony can all be sought. 

All terms within a legal separation can be modified, changed, or revoked during the separation time and in the case a Complaint of Divorce is filed. 

Jurisdictional problems are the largest issue for legal separation. When either party moves to a new state or foreign jurisdiction, full faith and credit must be applied to any divorce proceedings. This legal chasm opens when a party that has moved files for divorce. What jurisdiction has control and what jurisdiction must accept the findings is at issue. 

A legal separation works as a holding space for divorce. Because of this, all the elements agreed within a legal separation must be reagreed when a divorce is filed. A divorce filing must take into account all elements of the shared assets and responsibilities, whereas a legal separation only deals with what is written at the time of the Separate Maintenance Decree.


The purpose of a legal separation is to allow both parties to maintain their living arrangements. This may be done as a practical matter to give the parties time to get situated in new lives before executing a divorce. 

In cases where the parents want to maintain a relationship for the benefit of children but don’t want to live together, this is a suitable recourse.

Some use a legal separation as a test before a divorce filing. Subsequent divorce filings, if not specifically renegotiated, use the Separate Maintenance Decree as a precedent. In some cases, a spouse will use a separation to leverage a more beneficial divorce by executing a Complaint of Divorce at a time when engaging in that separate legal battle is less favorable for one party.

If you continue to cohabitate or resume before the 90-day desertion by spouse comes into play, the agreement if voided. 

Practice Caution

Entering a legal separation is a difficult decision. There are benefits, but a lot of potential legal pitfalls. Don’t get into trouble with an unfavorable separation that turns into a disastrous divorce. 

Consider getting strong legal advice from our experienced team at 702-706-3323 to negotiate the landscape for you. It’s always better to enter into agreements, even soft agreements with a full understanding of the stakes and consequences.