This is the next post in a series of articles discussing the financial consequences of dating before one’s divorce is final in Las Vegas, Nevada. My previous post addressed Nevada’s community property laws and how being involved in a new relationship may impact the Court’s rulings on matters such as the division of marital property and debts. Until a divorce is final, spouses have equal rights to marital property, including income and other financial assets. If a person is spending large amounts of shared money on trips, presents, or entertaining a new girlfriend, a Judge may decide that their soon-to-be ex is entitled to a larger portion of their marital property. In this article, I will address the potential financial consequences one may face if they move in with their girlfriend before their divorce is final. Very often, such consequences can be avoided by consulting with an attorney about your specific situation. If you need assistance, contact my office today to schedule a consultation with a lawyer.
The Clark County Family Court will not interfere with a man’s decision to move in with their girlfriend during the pendency of a divorce. That said, it is important to understand that one’s personal decisions can impact the Court’s determination regarding the division of marital property in some cases. If the spouses have been separated for a long period and are already financially “untangled” from one another, dating may have very few consequences. If, however, the decision to split up is fairly recent, the divorce is contentious, and there are disagreements regarding dividing assets and debts or ongoing support, dating may complicate such matters. When the Court sees that a man’s new living arrangements are affecting the financial assets of the other spouse, for instance, the Judge may consider awarding a larger portion of shared assets to the ex in the divorce decree.
Consider the following example. Bob and Sally are divorcing after twenty years of marriage. The divorce is contentious and may not be final for several months. In the meantime, he decides to move in with his new girlfriend and her three children. He rents a luxury condo and pays to furnish the entire residence. His girlfriend does not work so he is paying 100% of the rent and other expenses to support her and her family. As stated previously, assets and debts acquired during a marriage are considered to be assets and debts of the marriage. This includes money saved during the marriage and income earned until a divorce is finalized. Sally’s attorney presents evidence to the Court that Bob has not only spent the majority of his earnings since he filed for divorce on the condo and supporting the new girlfriend but he has also drained one of their joint savings accounts in the process. The Court may determine that Bob’s spending of marital assets to support his new relationship entitles Sally to a larger property settlement to make up for her lost portion of their marital assets.
To avoid these potential problems, one should carefully consider the decision to move in with a new significant other during a divorce. Those who decide to do so should make every attempt to equally split the costs of new living arrangements, entertainment, etc. while the case is pending. My office is focused on family law, including divorces, and is ready to answer any questions you may have about your situation. Contact us today to speak with a Las Vegas attorney.