If you have lost your spouse or domestic partner as a result of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, in Nevada, you can seek compensation for your losses as well as your loved one’s pain and suffering, through a wrongful death lawsuit. Nevada does not allow fiancés or unmarried partners to receive wrongful death compensation, but what about a common law spouse? The answer is complicated.
Common Law Marriage in Nevada
If you have valid common-law marriage, it is the same as a formal marriage, with all the same rights and responsibilities. So, yes, you can sue as the surviving spouse. The problem is that most people who think they are in a common-law marriage aren’t.
You cannot form a common-law marriage in Nevada. In fact, most states do not allow it. In the states that do, it doesn’t just magically happen after living together for a certain amount of time.
To have a legally binding common-law marriage, it must have been formed in a state that allows it and according to the laws of that state. Those laws vary but all states require these basic elements:
You live together
You both consider yourselves married
You represent yourselves as a married couple, to friends, family and the general public
Proving Common-Law Marriage
If your common-law marriage was valid, you will have to prove it in order to have a wrongful death claim. Since there is no marriage certificate, that can be difficult. Your attorney can help you determine which documents and other evidence can be used to prove your status. Examples of the type of documents that may be used as evidence of your common-law marriage include:
Joint tax returns
Lease, mortgage or other contract that lists you as spouses
Property deeds showing you as married
Inclusion on health insurance as a spouse
Bank or credit card statements for joint accounts
To learn more about wrongful death, in Nevada, please contact us today and we’ll connect you with an experienced Nevada wrongful death attorney.