September 21, 2019

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Wrongful Death and Common-Law Marriage in Nevada

Lost Loved One

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.

About Sandra Dalton

With a background as a paralegal, focusing on criminal defense and civil rights, Sandra Dalton launched her freelance writing career in 2000 with a weekly column on Freedom for Suite 101 and pro bono projects for individuals and organizations supporting causes close to her heart. One of her first projects was for the Police Compliant Center writing about police misconduct. Sandra’s legal writing quickly expanded to include personal injury, animal welfare, criminal defense, disability discrimination, family law and much more.

Sandra’s other writing around the web includes a broad range of topics such as food, pet health, feral cats, music and film. Sandra is also a fine art photographer, helps with animal rescue and TNR in her community, and volunteers as a DJ at her local radio station.