Child Support

How long can a person get spousal support?

Most divorce attorneys would estimate spousal support (alimony) payments to be made for half the years the couple has been married.  For example, if the couple has been married for 10 years then alimony might be for 5 years.  But this is not a guarantee.   Nevada does not have a definitive formula for how long spousal support should be made.  We have seen judge’s order 3 years of spousal support on a 7-year marriage, and we have seen them order 6 years on a 7-year marriage.  Family court judges look at factors like the age of the spouse, the income of each spouse, the difference in income, the ability to afford alimony, and the economic need for alimony.   All of these factors can sway the judge’s ruling in how long support should be paid.

How long do you have to be married to get spousal support?

Nevada divorce laws do not state a minimum time to be married to receive spousal support.   Alimony will typically be awarded in marriages of 6 years or greater if there is a difference in incomes, and a spouse can justify the need for alimony.    However, the courts may provide alimony in a marriage of only 1 or 2 years if the situation calls for it.   For example, in a short-term marriage of 3 years, one spouse has never worked.   The court might not award spousal support for 2 years but might award for 1 year so the spouse can transition from not working to working.  It really depends on the economic situation of the spouses, and how the divorce will leave the spouse requesting alimony.    

How do you figure out spousal support?

The general calculation of spousal support is between 15 percent and 30 percent of the differences in gross monthly incomes.   This percent is not definitive and as we have discussed the courts will look at different factors before deciding on an amount.   Spouses can agree to an amount.   The court allows spouses to agree to just about any issue in a divorce case.  But, if they don’t agree then a judge will be presented evidence of years they have been married, ages of the spouses, type of lifestyle provided during the marriage, gross incomes of the spouses, and income earning potential.  

How do you get spousal support?

To receive spousal support, you will want to claim the need for spousal support, or alimony, in your original divorce filings.  Whether you filed the original complaint about divorce or counter-claimed for divorce you will need to request alimony.

What is the difference between spousal support and alimony?

Spousal support and alimony are the same.  They both mean receiving money from an ex-spouse.   The policy behind spousal support is to allow divorcing spouses keep similar lifestyles they had prior to the divorce.   For long-term marriages, this time period might be half the years they have been married or longer.  For short-term marriages, spousal support is viewed as a transitional period for the lower-earning spouse.

What is spousal maintenance?

Spousal maintenance also called temporal spousal support, is not really alimony.  Alimony is a monthly payment to be made after the divorce is final.   During the divorce, a court may award temporary support or spousal maintenance based on principals of the community property of income.   Nevada is a community property state and during a divorce proceeding, a judge may need to specify a spouse to continue paying the bills or provide income to the other spouse while the divorce is proceeding.   The reasoning behind this is the lower income spouse has a community property interest in the higher income spouse’s income. And the court doesn’t want the higher income spouse to be able to use this divide in income as an advantage in the legal process.