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Hello, I am Nevada attorney Anthony Wright, and I want to discuss today something that I was involved with in 2015 at the last legislative session.
Every two years, the state legislature gets together and work on and revise laws and add laws.
And so I was asked by the proponents of this bill to come speak at the Nevada legislative session, and I had something to say about it.
So the bill was proposing that after divorce is final, a party could go back to court and say: "Hey, an asset, property, that was .. marital property or community property .. was not disposed of correctly in a divorce decree.
It was mistakenly omitted.
And judge, we want you to reconsider the decree so that that asset can be added and dealt with."
So the bill was proposing that because, before that, judges were not allowing what's called post judgment relief.
And people were being screwed out of retirement rights.
So imagine you were married for many, many years.
Say twenty years. And you get divorced.
The person you are married to had been contributing all those years to a retirement account.
You get divorced, then there is no mention in the divorce decree of that retirement account.
Even though, over that course of that twenty year marriage, a whole bunch of money was being put into that retirement account.
Money that belonged to both of you as a married couple.
Now imagine years go by.
You don't even think about it.
You were just glad you were divorced.
And everything is fine.
And then comes your retirement age and you realize: "Hey wait a second. I was supposed to get a portion of that retirement, and I'm not getting it, and my ex is living high on the hog in a fancy house, getting full retirement, and I'm getting nothing.
I was supposed to get some of that.
That was community property."
Well, judge had said: "There is no law in Nevada that says you can get this post judgment relief.
You can't go back to court and get the money."
And the Nevada supreme court supported that view and said: "No, you sat your rights.
You didn't go back to court immediately and say,
Hey, within six months or immediately and say,
Hey, a mistake was made.
Let's do a non pro tunc correction.
It was just a stupid mistake.
Everybody knows it was a mistake.
Let's fix it."
If you wait years, you sat on your rights.
You ignored it.
And at some point, it's too late.
Well, I didn't think that was fair.
And a lot of lawyers and other judges didn't think that was quite fair because people were, when they're getting divorced, and just after their divorce, they're in extremely emotional state.
The last thing they want is to read their divorce decree and make sure it makes sense.
They even hired lawyers to make sure their rights were being protected.
So, they don't want to sit there and go right back to court and say: "Hey, something was forgotten."
They don't want to consider.
They just want to move on with their life.
And it isn't until a few years goes by, maybe that they realize: "Hey, wait a second, something is really, really wrong there."
So, this law was passed, thanks to the proponents of the bill.
My participation was simply to go there, speak a couple of minutes of my view.
And I told them that mistakes can happen all the time in family court.
There are mechanisms to fix mistakes when it comes to child custody.
Why can't there be a law that protects something as huge as the right to retirement account that was contributed to for many years.
And so as a result, NRS 125.150.
That's Nevada Revised Statute 125.150, now says: A party may file a post judgment motion in any action for divorce, annulment or separate maintenance to obtain adjudication of any community property or liability omitted from the decree or judgment as the result of fraud or mistake.
A motion pursuant to this subsection must be filed within three years after the discovery by the aggrieved party of the facts constituting the fraud or mistake.
The court has continuing jurisdiction to hear such a motion and shall equally divide the omitted community property or liability between the parties unless the court finds that, there's exceptions, the community property or liability was included in a prior equal disposition of the community property or be the court determines a compelling reason in the interests of justice to make an unequal disposition of the community property.
If a motion pursuant to this subsection results in a judgment dividing a defined benefit pension plan, the judgment may not be enforced against an installment payment made by the plan more than six years after the installment payment.
So, if you discover there was a mistake made, and it's significant enough want to go back to court, maybe even hire lawyers, to fix the mistake.
Several thousand dollars might be significant.
You don't want to wait too long after you make that discovery because you got a three year statute of limitations there.
After three years, you sat on your rights for those three years, and it will be too late.
So I highly recommend that if you've been divorced, you review your divorce decree. You consider that whether or not everything has been disposed of in that decree.
And if you have significant reason to believe an asset was omitted, something of substantial value.
A house, a car, real estate, retirement plans.
Anything of that nature.
You probably should consult a lawyer right away and see if it can be fixed.
So, I strongly recommend reviewing your decree even if it's years after you've been divorced.
You might even be remarried at this point.
Just consider whether or not you forgot something.
I'm Nevada attorney Anthony Wright.
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