Divorce Myth – Alimony is Forever

Alimony in Nevada gets messy because there is no formula for calculating amount or duration. Whether to award alimony, how much to award and how long it should be paid is entirely in the hands of the judge. Alimony comes down to how a judge views factors related to what is “just and equitable.”

Alimony is not guaranteed. The judge will look at several factors to determine whether alimony is warranted. The main factors are:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Financial condition of each spouse
  • Current income
  • Earning capacity
  • Age and health
  • Any specialized education or training during the marriage
  • Value and amount of community property each spouse is receiving

“Economic Need” and “Ability to Pay”

“Economic need” and “ability to pay may” are the two biggest factors. The court doesn’t want a spouse to be destitute, but it can’t force someone to pay something they can’t afford to pay.

The economic need of one spouse gets balanced by the other spouse’s ability to pay. The economic need of both spouses is not limited to the minimum basics of shelter, food, and bills. Disposable income gets taken into account as well, particularly if the standard of living pre-divorce was moderately high and provided significant discretionary spending.

The goal is to keep the spouses on as equal a level as possible post-divorce. It would be unfair for one spouse to live the high life after the divorce while another has to request government assistance.

Types of Alimony

There are three types of alimony in Nevada; temporary alimony, rehabilitative alimony, and periodic alimony

Temporary alimony is used during the pendency of the divorce. Contested divorces can take three months or twelve months. During this time a spouse may need income to pay rent, groceries, utilities, etc. Temporary alimony stops when the divorce is final.

Periodic alimony is used after the divorce is final. It is warranted in long-term marriages, usually those of at least five years or long. Periodic alimony is not always permanent. The court will award a monthly amount along with a number of months to make the payment.

Rehabilitative alimony exists to provide support for job training or other skill acquisition. This type of alimony is used to help the spouse gain skills to earn more income on their own. This type of alimony is directed towards school tuition and books.

Calculating Alimony Amount

Alimony consists of two parts. The amount of monthly payment and the number of monthly payments. The monthly amount is mostly based on each spouse’s gross monthly income (GMI). The court will also take into consideration the amount of discretionary income after reviewing necessary expenses. The number of payments is primarily based on the length of marriage.

Although there is no official formula, we developed a calculator. The calculator is based on Nevada’s attempt to create a spousal support formula. It is called the Tonopah formula and is used by some of the judges. Visit spousal support calculator to run some estimates.

How the Courts View Overtime

Overtime is not automatically calculated into spousal support payments. Fireman are known to work overtime. Your initial alimony payments will be calculated on your base pay and your overtime may or may not be used. It all depends on how consistent your overtime has been or will be.

If you have consistently earned overtime, then the court will include it. Consistent overtime can be added to your monthly gross income. Inconsistent overtime is usually not added in as income.

Alimony is Modifiable

Alimony is rarely permanent or in stone. Incomes of both spouses can change. The court will allow alimony to modify anytime either spouse’s income changes by more than 20%. When a receiving spouse remarries alimony stops.