Welcome to our overview of alimony in Nevada. In this article, we will guide you through the absolute basics of what to expect if you are either the recipient or payor of alimony in the state of Nevada.
The definition of alimony is “a husband or wife’s court-ordered provision for a spouse after separation or divorce.” You may also hear it referred to as “maintenance” or “spousal support” in some cases.
Types of Alimony in Nevada
There are five different types of alimony in the state of Nevada.
- Temporary Spousal Support – This is awarded to a party during divorce proceedings.
- Lump Sum – This is one lump sum that is given to a spouse upon the finalization of divorce
- Periodic Alimony – These are alimony payments made at certain time periods, generally by the month, and they end after a specified period of time
- Rehabilitative Support – Payments are made to a spouse so they can obtain an education or training to get themselves in a better financial position.
- Permanent Alimony – These are alimony payments that are paid with no termination date. They usually occur until one spouse dies, or the recipient spouse is remarried.
There are several factors that play into which particular type of alimony your situation will entail, if any is awarded at all.
The decision to award alimony is based upon evidence and very specific facts presented to the court in every individual divorce case. The amount of alimony awarded is also based upon such facts and evidence of the following:
- The financial state of each spouse
- Each spouse’s value of their respective property
- The contribution of each spouse to any property held by either party
- How long the marriage lasted
- Age, health, earning power, and income of each spouse
- The recipient spouse’s career before marriage
- The education or vocational training achieved by each spouse during the marriage
- The contribution of each spouse as homemaker
- The award of property that is granted by the court in the divorce
- The physical and mental state of each party and their ability to work
How Long Does Alimony Last?
Before we answer that question right away, let’s discuss a few factors that contribute to how long alimony can last, if it is granted at all.
Due to more women being in the workforce, alimony is not granted as often as it once was in divorces in the past. Years ago, many more women were homemakers or stay at home moms.
However, under certain conditions, a judge will still consider awarding alimony.
These can include:
- A disparity of income between the parties
- A long domestic partnership or marriage
- The necessity of financial support thanks to a health issue
- The need for a spouse to get retraining or education in order to re-enter the workforce
Other considerations can include:
- The standard of living that the couple enjoyed
- The career of each spouse before marriage took place
- If one spouse helped the other’s career advance
- The education level and age of the parties
- The payor’s ability to pay the requested alimony
Take note that Nevada is a “no-fault” state, which means actions that do not cause economic harm, like cheating on a spouse or adultery, are not grounds for temporary support or alimony.
If spousal support is needed immediately when you file for divorce, you must file a motion for temporary alimony. This will get you a hearing in front of a judge faster. In the state of Nevada, a judge has a lot of discretion in making the decision whether to grant alimony or not, as well as how much and for how long that alimony shall last.
- If the marriage was less than three years, alimony is unlikely, but not impossible.
- If the marriage lasted from 3 to 20 years, it could be granted for as many years as half the marriage’s length; for instance, if you were married for 8 years, alimony is paid for 4 years.
- If the marriage lasted more than 20 years, permanent alimony is highly possible and likely.
Alimony will cease when one spouse dies, or the other spouse who is receiving the alimony remarries. Alimony may be modified if there is an increase or decrease of 20% or more in the payor party’s income, as this is a change in circumstance.
It should be noted that the court will take a look to see if the payor is purposely underemployed or un-employing themselves to make sure the modification motion is made with integrity and good faith. Parties also have the option of including a stipulation for non-modifiable alimony, which would negate a modification request.
In much older couples, a court will often consider lump-sum alimony instead of periodic payments so the payee does not become suddenly destitute as a result of the payor’s untimely death.
Can Alimony Be Changed?
The short answer is yes, but only if certain qualifications are met.
The qualifications may vary depending on the modification you wish to make. When one person seeks to modify what they provide or what they give in alimony, most of the factors are financial. Per Nevada law, a drastic change in circumstances could justify a court-ordered modification of support payments.
Spousal support may be modified in any of these circumstances:
- Either spouse liquidates their assets
- Real estate is sold
- Mental or physical health of either spouse changes
- Financial condition of either spouse changes
- A change in income of either spouse, such as job loss
- Remarriage of the recipient spouse
- Death of the payor spouse
Modification must be handled accordingly. It is important that you meet with your legal team and discuss the situation with them. An experienced attorney will analyze the situation and report to you if you have the grounds to pursue modification.
After that, your attorney can file a petition to the court and then work to get the modification you need. The same process stands true whether you get alimony payments or make them to your ex.
You may stop paying your alimony in defiance over a modification you felt you deserved. However, not paying your alimony payments is a huge problem that could land you in trouble, with severe consequences.
Alimony payments are ordered by the court, and failure to obey a court order is against the law. To avoid issues surrounding alimony, be sure that you follow all procedures with the help of your attorney.
Calculating Alimony in Nevada
One of the most common questions people going through divorce in Nevada ask is, “How is alimony calculated?” The quick response to this question is that there is no specific formula you can use to figure out how much you will be paying or how much you will be getting, if an alimony amount is awarded at all.
The court must first decide whether an alimony order is appropriate, and if so, what variety of alimony will be awarded and how much the amount will be. A judge will use the following factors in deciding if to award general alimony, and the appropriate amount:
- The financial condition of each spouse, including the nature and the value of each property they own
- How long the marriage lasted
- The income of each spouse as well as their age, earning power, and health
- What the spouse did for a career before their marriage
- The marketable skills, education, and training of each spouse
- The contribution of each spouse as a homemaker
- Awards of property during the divorce
For support that is rehabilitative, or meant to help a spouse obtain education or retraining/skills that will help them re-enter the workforce, the court will examine whether the paying spouse obtained greater job skills or education during the course of the marriage and whether or not the dependent spouse was able to provide financial support while the other spouse worked toward their education or job skills.
If a court determines that rehabilitative alimony is appropriate, it will provide a timeframe for the receiving spouse to complete his or her training or educational requirements needed to get a job and become self-sufficient.
In addition to this, the recipient party may also be entitled to monies that will cover costs relating to their skills testing, materials needed to gain such education like books, tuition, and course fees, not to mention any employer training costs that may be incurred.
There are no calculators in existence that are available to provide even an estimate of what your alimony costs may be. Each case is decided on its own circumstances and factors.
The payments of such monies can be one-time, lump sum, or periodic. The court can even order one spouse’s separate property to be used for alimony payments. Of course, alimony terminates at the death of either spouse, or the remarriage of the dependent spouse.
Either of the parties may ask the court to modify the alimony order, but there must be a change in circumstances that warrant this. If the paying spouse’s income changes by 20% or more, the court would consider that a change in circumstance and would then review the order for modification of the spousal support.
Alimony and Adultery
Nevada divorce courts are not permitted to consider either spouse’s misconduct over the course of the marriage when they make the decision about whether or not to award alimony.
If the marriage concludes because one spouse was not faithful, that spouse may still be able to receive alimony if needed based upon the factors we discussed above.
When Nevada stopped requiring that fault must be shown (fault meaning misconduct) to get a divorce and changed to no fault divorces only, it stopped taking into consideration misconduct that includes adultery when deciding if alimony is to be awarded.
Take note of this: If a supported spouse enters into a relationship with a new partner and is being supported financially in that new relationship, Nevada courts may consider that relationship and the amount of support that is being received in order to determine if alimony is still necessary or appropriate.
Adultery is still not something that should be taken lightly in Nevada divorce courts. When a spouse commits infidelity, Nevada courts can take into consideration money that was spent on the affair when they decide how to divide up the property of the couple.
For instance, if an unfaithful spouse spent the married couples’ savings on his or her extramarital partner, such as buying them gifts, paying for their accommodations like hotel rooms and other amenities that make up an extramarital affair, a court may order the unfaithful spouse be awarded a smaller portion of the remaining property of the couple.
Despite Nevada having no-fault divorce, any financial misconduct, including funds spent on the extramarital affair, can be taken into consideration when it is time to divide property in the divorce.
Alimony and Taxes
In years past, alimony has been tax deductible to the payor and counted as taxable income by the party receiving it. But as of January 1, 2019, a change has occurred.
Starting on that day, divorcing people in Nevada saw changes in the tax consequences of alimony. Any divorce agreements signed on or after this day mean that alimony is no longer tax-deductible. The person receiving it will no longer pay taxes on the funds like they do with regular income.
The pre-2019 law will still apply to divorce agreements signed on or before December 31, 2018.
Alimony in Nevada can be a complicated matter, especially when we consider the fact that there is no set formula and plenty of different factors that contribute to its calculation.
Combine this with the fact that there are different types of alimony to be used when determining an award, and you likely have plenty of questions and concerns about what could come next for you and your family.
Be sure you take any specific questions to your legal team for the most accurate advice about your particular situation.