Alimony is financial support made to a spouse during and after a divorce. This is separate from any child support payments that need to be made due to the child custody situation. Under state law, spouses have a duty to financially support each other, and alimony acknowledges that this duty can continue even after a divorce or legal separation.
Alimony is awarded on a case-by-case basis in Nevada, and there is not a set formula that courts must use when calculating awards. (The Nevada State Bar has created a calculation system (the “Tonopah Formula”), but its application isn’t mandatory. Instead, the courts evaluate a series of factors:
- Each spouse’s financial resources,
- The length of the marriage,
- Each spouse’s age and health,
- Each spouse’s earning capacity, occupation, and income,
- Each spouse’s work experience, education, and marketable skills,
- The time and cost of education and training you need to find work,
- Your standard of living while married,
- Your contribution to the marriage (including household responsibilities and child care), and
- How marital property is distributed during the divorce.
Unlike some states, Nevada does not consider your spouse’s misconduct when calculating alimony.
Nevada does not have a limit or cap on alimony. Instead, the courts must weigh the factors discussed above and determine how much support is appropriate. Under certain circumstances, alimony awards can be millions of dollars (but are typically more modest). Nevada alimony may be paid in a lump sum or over time.
There are four types of alimony in Nevada:
- Temporary maintenance: paid while a divorce is pending,
- Temporary alimony: paid after a divorce for a period of time,
- Rehabilitative: paid while you receive additional education or job training pursuant to a rehabilitation plan (and may include the cost of education and training), and
- Permanent: ongoing, lifetime alimony payments.
Historically, alimony was often awarded to stay-at-home spouses on a permanent basis. However, courts now favor short-term or rehabilitative alimony.
Typically, spouses request alimony in their Complaint for Divorce. However, if you plan on requesting alimony, seriously consider hiring a divorce lawyer. It can be difficult for the average person to calculate and negotiate alimony awards.
Additionally, an increasing number of couples are negotiating alimony in their settlement agreement. If you and your spouse can agree to a fair alimony amount, you can resolve this issue without the court’s involvement. Again, a lawyer can help you with these negotiations.
Petitioning or modifying an alimony award can be contentious and complicated. A Nevada family lawyer can help you file a request with the court, calculate a fair alimony award, and negotiate with your spouse.