Financial circumstances impact every divorce. In a divorce, alimony can have a significant impact on a spouse's financial well-being. In Nevada, a court may award alimony to a spouse as appears “just and equitable."
Whether you are a spouse who needs alimony or one who is being asked to pay, an experienced divorce lawyer is essential to advocate your position and protect your legal rights. Anthem Divorce Lawyers have over 25 years of experience. Contact us today for a consultation.
Court ordered support for a spouse is called alimony. While a divorce is pending, a court may award a spouse temporary maintenance. Under Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 125.040, in any suit for divorce the court may require either party to pay money necessary for a spouse to “provide temporary maintenance for the other party."
A Nevada court may award alimony as long as it is not contrary to:
- An enforceable premarital agreement.
- Other statutory provisions.
The court may award alimony as one sum or periodic payments. The court awards alimony “as appears just and equitable."
Under NRS 125.150(1)(a), in granting a divorce, the court may award such alimony to either spouse, in a specified principal sum or as specified periodic payments, as appears just and equitable.
Pursuant to NRS 125.150(9), the court may determine whether to award alimony and the amount of such an award. In determining whether to award alimony, the court shall consider the following factors:
- Financial condition of each spouse.
- Nature and value of the respective property of each spouse.
- Contribution of each spouse to any property held by the spouses pursuant to NRS 123.030.
- Duration of the marriage.
- Income, earning capacity, age, and health of each spouse.
- Standard of living during the marriage.
- The career before the marriage of the spouse who would receive the alimony.
- Existence of specialized education or training or the level of marketable skills attained by each spouse during the marriage.
- Contribution of either spouse as homemaker.
- Award of property granted by the court in the divorce, other than child support and alimony, to the spouse who would receive the alimony.
- The physical and mental condition of each party as it relates to the financial condition, health, and ability to work of that spouse.
The court may also consider any other relevant factor.
However, in making an alimony decision, the court cannot take into account marital misconduct. In Kogod v. Cioffi-Kogod, 135 Nev. Adv. Op. 9 (Apr. 25, 2019), the Nevada Supreme Court stated that the district court “must not consider the marital fault or misconduct, or lack thereof, of the spouses."
NRS 125.150(10) provides that in granting a divorce, the court shall consider the need to grant alimony to a spouse for the purpose of obtaining training or education relating to a:
Under NRS 125.150(10), a court considers relevant factors in determining whether to award alimony for training or education. The court shall consider the following factors:
- Whether the spouse who would pay such alimony has obtained greater job skills or education during the marriage.
- Whether the spouse who would receive such alimony provided financial support while the other spouse obtained job skills or education.
Under NRS 125.150(11), if the court awards alimony for training or education, the court may award the spouse money to provide for:
- Testing of the recipient’s skills relating to a job, career, or profession.
- Evaluation of the recipient’s abilities and goals relating to a job, career, or profession.
- Guidance for the recipient in establishing a specific plan for training or education relating to a job, career, or profession.
- Subsidization of an employer’s costs incurred in training the recipient.
- Assisting the recipient to search for a job.
Money may also provide for payment of the costs of tuition, books, and fees for:
- The equivalent of a high school diploma.
- College courses which are directly applicable to the recipient’s goals for his or her career.
- Courses of training in skills desirable for employment.
The court can modify periodic alimony payments upon a showing of changed circumstances.
Per NRS 125.150(8), if a decree or agreement provides for specified period payments of alimony, the court may not modify the decree or agreement as to accrued payments.
Upon a showing of changed circumstances, a spouse may file a motion for modification of non-accrued payments.
The court considers relevant factors in determining whether to modify an order for alimony. Pursuant to NRS 125.150(8), the court shall also consider:
- Whether the income of the spouse who is ordered to pay alimony, has been reduced to such a level that the spouse is financially unable to pay the amount of alimony the spouse has been ordered to pay.
Under NRS 125.150(12), “a change of 20 percent or more in the gross monthly income of a spouse who is ordered to pay alimony shall be deemed to constitute changed circumstances requiring a review for modification of the payments of alimony.”
Per NRS 125B.070, “gross monthly income” means either:
- The total amount of income received each month from any source of a person who is not self-employed
- The gross income from any source of a self-employed person, after deduction of all legitimate business expenses.
A self-employed person’s gross income does not include deductions for:
- Personal income taxes.
- Contributions for retirement benefits.
- Contributions to a pension or for any other personal expenses.
In the order for alimony, the court may specify the duration for periodic payments. Pursuant to NRS 125.150, unless otherwise ordered by the court, periodic payments cease upon either:
- The event of the death of either party.
- The subsequent remarriage of the spouse to whom specified periodic payments were to be made.
Failure to pay alimony can result in civil and criminal consequences.
The court may enter a judgment against a person for their default in paying alimony. Under NRS 125.180, a court may order a judgment in the amount of the:
- Reasonable attorney’s fee
A person may enforce the judgement by:
- Any other manner provided by law for the collection of money judgments
Failure to pay court ordered spousal support can be a misdemeanor or felony.
Except as provided in subsection 2, subsection 1(a) of NRS 201.020 provides, in part, that:
- A person who knowingly fails to provide for the support of his or her spouse or former spouse, as ordered by a court, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Subsection 2 of NRS 201.020 provides that a person who violates subsection 1 is guilty of a category C felony if:
- The person’s arrearages for nonpayment of the…spousal support ordered by a court total $10,000 or more and have accrued over any period since the date that a court first ordered the defendant to provide for such support; or
- It is a second or subsequent violation of subsection 1 or an offense committed in another jurisdiction that, if committed in this State, would be a violation of subsection 1, and the person’s arrearages for nonpayment of the…spousal support ordered by a court total $5,000 or more and have accrued over any period since the date that a court first ordered the defendant to provide for such support.
Under NRS 201.070(3):
- Proof of the failure of the defendant to provide for the support of the spouse…is prima facie evidence that such failure was knowing.
Under NRS 201.051(1), a person who failed to pay spousal support may claim the affirmative defense that he/she “was unable to provide the…spousal support ordered by a court."
NRS 201.051(8) specifies that a person is not “unable to provide the …spousal support ordered by a court” if, during the period the person failed to provide spousal support, the person was:
- Voluntarily unemployed or underemployed without good cause or to avoid payment of spousal support.
- Unable to pay court ordered spousal support because of excessive spending, indebtedness, or other legal obligation.
Alimony is a complex legal process with long term consequences. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you understand your rights and advocate your position. Anthem Divorce Lawyers have over 25 years of experience. Our office is in Henderson, Nevada and we serve clients all over the Las Vegas area. Contact us today for a consultation.