Alimony is a court-ordered payment from one spouse to the other following a divorce. In Nevada, the court calls these payments spousal support.
In this guide, we’ll cover:
- Who is entitled to alimony in Nevada
- The types of spousal support
- The factors a court considers when determining alimony
- How to modify or terminate spousal support
- Tax implications
- And more FAQs about Nevada alimony
Who is Entitled to Alimony in Nevada?
Although they are not statutory factors, economic need and ability to pay impact a court’s alimony award decisions.
The court heavily considers the standard of living during the marriage. Alimony is intended to equalize the standard of living during the marriage and afterward.
The judge applies several factors to a spouse’s ability to pay. The court can see a spouse’s discretionary income by adding income from all sources, deducting taxes, and reasonable expenses. In long-term alimony awards, the court will balance the economic need with the ability to pay to create a “just and equitable” lifestyle for both parties.
It is possible to get support in Nevada without a divorce when the spouse has grounds for divorce or has been deserted for 90 days or longer.
Per Nevada law, getting alimony is not possible if you were never married.
Types of Support in Nevada
Four basic kinds of spousal support might be awarded in a Nevada divorce case.
Temporary spousal support can be awarded from one spouse to another during divorce. Temporary spousal support helps cover legitimate short-term needs. Typically, the length of the monthly support is two to three years. This support ends when the divorce is finalized.
Temporary alimony after a divorce is finalized is similar but has a specific termination date set in the future or with a terminating event with an uncertain date.
Rehabilitative alimony allows the receiving spouse time to obtain training or education related to a job, career, or profession. In deciding whether to grant rehabilitative alimony, a court must explicitly consider whether the spouse who would pay this alimony has obtained greater job skills or education during the marriage and whether the spouse who would receive such alimony provided financial support while the other spouse obtained job skills or education.
Permanent alimony is typically awarded in long-term marriages where temporary or rehabilitative support is insufficient.
The courts look to permanent alimony in those marriages of 10 years and more and where the recipient spouse’s age or health is a relevant factor. An example of permanent alimony is the traditional situation where the husband worked, and the wife stayed at home raising the children for a 30-year marriage.
Read More: A Guide to Divorce Financial Planning
What Factors Are Used to Determine Alimony?
Each case is different, and each judge decides alimony on a case-by-case basis. Courts use no specific formula to determine alimony amounts and duration in Nevada. However, state statutes do provide a series of guiding factors courts must use to assist in creating an award.
Courts want to create a just and equitable award based on the receiving spouse’s needs and the paying spouse’s ability to pay. Once those variables have been determined, judges then use the following factors:
- The financial condition of each spouse
- The nature and value of the property owned by each spouse
- The contribution of each spouse to the marriage’s community property
- The length of the marriage
- The income, earning capacity, age, and health of both spouses
- The standard of living to which the spouses were accustomed during the marriage
- The career, before the marriage, of the spouse receiving alimony
- Any specialized education or training or marketable skills obtained by either spouse during the marriage
- The contribution of either spouse as a homemaker
- Any property granted by the court to each spouse in the divorce
- The physical and mental condition of each party as it relates to his to her financial situation and ability to work
- Any other relevant factors
The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that simple “fault” or “bad acts” not directly causing economic harm are not factors, and judges should not consider them in granting alimony.
Also, the court does not consider gender as a factor. Husbands or wives may receive or be ordered to pay alimony.
Read More: Divorce Laws in Nevada
Modifying or Terminating Spousal Support in Nevada
Either spouse can request a modification to an alimony award if circumstances change, producing a change in income of at least 20%, which is usually considered the standard required to petition the court for modification. To request a modification, either spouse can file a petition with the court and ask for a review.
In Nevada, payments continue as outlined in the award, which normally has an end date, but alimony also ends under the following conditions:
- When the paying spouse dies
- If the receiving spouse dies
- Or if the receiving spouse remarries
Rehabilitative alimony will end when the receiving spouse achieves the desired goal, such as obtaining a college degree or receiving specialized training.
Enforcing Nevada Alimony Awards
If an ex stops paying or falls behind in payments, you should first send a demand letter for payment. Document your request that you tried to resolve the case with your ex before you sought the court’s involvement.
If the demand letter does not produce results, the other spouse can get a court order for contempt, including wage garnishment or requesting the seizure and sale of the defaulting spouse’s assets. These assets can include the defaulting spouse’s house, bank deposits, or other property. The defaulting spouse will also be liable for the attorney’s fee of their ex-spouse.
Defaulting on spousal support is also a crime under NRS 201.020, but criminal charges are usually not brought if the failure to pay alimony was the inability to find work.
Otherwise, if less than $10,000 is owed, failure to pay alimony in Nevada is a misdemeanor that can be punished by up to six months in jail. Owing $10,000 or more is a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
The other impact of failing to pay alimony is that family court judges may consider a conviction when determining child custody.
Spousal Support and Taxes
Due to recent changes in Federal laws, the payer cannot deduct alimony or separate maintenance payments under a divorce or separation instrument executed after 2018. These payments are also not included as taxable income for recipients.
The same is true of alimony paid under a divorce or separation instrument executed before 2019 and modified after 2018 if the modification expressly states that the alimony isn’t deductible to the payor spouse or included in the income of the recipient spouse.
Taxpayers paying alimony under a divorce agreement executed before 2019 can deduct those payments from taxes when the following criteria are met:
- The recipient must be a spouse or former spouse
- There must be a written divorce or separation instrument
- Alimony must be made with cash payments (such as checks and money orders)
- Maintenance does not continue after the recipient dies
- The parties must live apart, residing in different households
- The parties must file separate tax returns (they cannot file a joint return and claim the alimony deduction)
- The court-ordered payment of alimony cannot state that payments are not deductible
Nevada Alimony FAQs
Is the custodial status of minor children considered when determining alimony in Nevada?
Yes, alimony calculations are affected by whether or not the receiving spouse has custody of the children. Due to increased household costs, custodial spouses may receive higher alimony payments.
What if my spouse or I get remarried?
If the spouse receiving alimony remarries, spousal support payments usually cease. An exception is if the original alimony award or a prenuptial agreement provides otherwise.
What if my spouse and I had a prenuptial agreement?
A judge will not order alimony if it goes against a valid, enforceable Nevada premarital agreement. The prenuptial agreement can be amended or revoked only by a written agreement signed by the parties.
Can I force a sale of my spouse’s property to ensure payment of alimony?
While divorce actions are proceeding, the court has the right to prevent either party from disposing of any property. That scenario flips after a divorce is final when a judge can enforce an alimony or child support award by appointing a receiver or the forced sale of any personal or real property, including a spouse’s separate property.
Can I request alimony after my divorce is final?
No. If you don’t ask for alimony before your divorce, you have no chance of getting alimony after your divorce is finalized.