In the easy come, easy go state of Nevada it follows that easy marriage ought to be accompanied by easy divorce. Since the glory days of the old West it’s been easier to get a divorce in Nevada than any other state, due to a ‘no-fault’ attitude and short residency requirements. By the 1940’s a person could go to Reno, stay six weeks in a divorce ranch, and get unhitched with few questions asked. Glitterati of the day, including Mary Pickford, Gloria Vanderbilt, and Rita Hayworth, made a Reno Divorce a stylish exit from marital woe.
The rest of the country keeps chasing Nevada’s loose moral codes. Just as casino’s spread from Nevada to Atlantic City to virtually every state, so too ‘no-fault’ laws have made divorce easier to obtain everywhere. But Nevada stays ahead of the pack by still offering the easiest route to divorce. Why? Because there’s money to be made. A Reno divorce still costs more than a Reno wedding.
Elizabeth Soto is the administrator at Nevada Divorce and Document Services, one of many divorce mills that line California Street near the Reno Courthouse. NDDS is a three-person operation with one supervising attorney and a manager, all women. Virtually all divorce professionals in Reno are women. Although the office can process a variety of legal paperwork such as wills and quit claims, NDDS mostly processes divorces and annulments.
Nevada still has only a six-week residency requirement. Tack on a short time to complete, file paperwork, and receive the decree. Uncontested divorces can be processed within two to thee months. If one partner is out of the country the process is a bit more complicated, but the person filing in Nevada gets custody.
Annulments are even easier. There’s no residency requirement so long as you were married in Nevada. “People go to Reno or Vegas, get drunk, get married, wake up on Monday morning and get an annulment. That’s not considered a real marriage, so you don’t need to get a real divorce.”
How will we live tomorrow?