Divorce rates falling in Nevada, possibly due to increased cohabitation

Divorce rates in Nevada have fallen over the past 20 years, as they have throughout the rest of the United States. Despite the downward trend, however, Nevada still has more divorce filings than any other state.

According to the U.S. Census, Nevada had a divorce rate of 6.7 divorces per 1,000 people as of 2009. While still relatively high in comparison to the rest of the country, this figure represents a substantial decline from just two decades earlier; in 1990, there were 11.4 divorces for every 1,000 people in Nevada.

There are a number of theories as to why U.S. divorce rates are falling. One possible explanation is the increase in cohabitation among unmarried couples. According to the Census, the number of unmarried couples living together jumped by 74 percent between 2000 and 2009. While many of today's couples are choosing to live together before marriage, others are foregoing marriage - and divorce - altogether.

Protecting the rights of unmarried partners

Unmarried couples living together in Nevada face many of the same challenges as married couples, but they do not always have the same rights and benefits enjoyed by their married counterparts. Therefore, cohabiting partners must take extra steps to protect themselves and their financial interests in case the relationship ends. One way to achieve this goal is through a domestic partnership agreement.

In Nevada, unmarried couples can choose to formalize their relationships by registering as domestic partners. Domestic partnership in Nevada is available to both homosexual and heterosexual couples. When unmarried couples register as domestic partners, they can receive many of the same benefits as married couples, including property rights and access to insurance and other employee-provided benefits.

Nevada domestic partnership agreements

A domestic partnership agreement is a contract between unmarried partners that explains their rights and responsibilities in relation to one another - much as a prenuptial agreement does for married spouses. These agreements can detail what each person's financial rights will be in the event of a breakup, and it can also be used to clarify whether specific pieces of property are to be considered jointly or individually owned.

Unmarried couples with children in Nevada may also wish to consider negotiating a co-parenting agreement, which can be used to establish each partner's rights and responsibilities for child care, custody and visitation in case the relationship ends before the children are grown. For more information about domestic partnership and co-parenting agreements in Nevada, contact an experienced family law attorney.