Some States recognize "common law" marriages. Common law marriages occur when two people of the opposite sex have lived together as husband and wife, but have never officiated their relationship through license and ceremony. Nevada does not.
Recently, the Nevada Supreme Court was asked to review a property dispute that was brought by one member of a couple in family court. The family court exercised jurisdiction over the dispute, however family court did this in error because family court does not have jurisdiction over non-family matters. The Supreme Court stated,
"None of the proceedings set forth in NRS 3.223 concern actions between unmarried, childless parties who used to live together and who dispute the division of property allegedly acquired during their relationship. Thus, because the Legislature has not designated real and personal property disputes between unmarried, childless parties as matters within the family court’s jurisdiction, we conclude that the family court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to consider the merits of Malik’s complaint, and therefore, the default judgment granted by the family court is void."
To read the entire opinion, you may find it here: http://www.nevadajudiciary.us/index.php/advancedopinions/610-landreth-v-malik
Copyright January 14, 2010
By: Anthony M. Wright, JD