Document Type

Case Summary

Publication Date


Case Synopsis

In an opinion drafted by Justice Parraguirre, the Nevada Supreme Court re-evaluated its long holding of the definition of “residence” under Nevada’s divorce statute, NRS 125.020, requiring both physical presence in Nevada (residence) and intent to remain in Nevada. This cas is an appeal of the district court’s dismissal of a divorce complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction due to absence of domicile. The Supreme Court further reviewed its long holding that residence is “synonymous with domicile” for divorce jurisdiction and found its prior rulings were unsound for several reasons. First, NRS 125.020(2) simply and separately addresses “domicile[ ]” in its first clause and “residen[ce]” in its second clause. Given such a construction, the Court could not interpret residence and domicile to be synonymous in NRS 125.020. Also, in Park v. Barr, the Ninth Circuit explained that the California Court of Appeals decision in which the lower court relied “conflated ‘residence’ with ‘domicile’ by describing them as “synonymous.” Furthermore, under NRS 10.155, residence plainly requires only “physical [ ] presen[ce],” not an extra-textual intent to remain. NRS 125.010(1)(e) was satisfied as may obtain divorce in “the district court of any county… if the plaintiff resided 6 weeks in the State before suit was brought. NRS 125.020(2), residence “for a period of not less than 6 weeks preceding the commencement of the action.”

In this case, both parties had been physically present in Nevada for at least six weeks before the divorce complaint was filed. The Court found that the district court did not lack subject-matter jurisdiction under NRS 125.020, and reversed and remanded this case.