How is "Alimony" (Spousal Support) Determined in Nevada?

In a Nevada divorce, a court may order one spouse to pay alimony (monetary support) to the other. Alimony is not always awarded. It is most common in longer marriages when one spouse earns much more than the other.

To help you better understand when a spouse is entitled to alimony in a Nevada divorce case, our Las Vegas family law attorneys discuss the following, below: 

judge's gavel on a pile of money

1. How does a court determine alimony in a Nevada divorce?

Under Nevada NRS 125.150 a court may award alimony to a wife or husband “as appears just and equitable.”[1]

In deciding whether to award alimony, the court may consider 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 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 their financial condition and ability to work, and
  • Any other relevant factors.[2]

2. Is alimony always awarded as a monthly payment?

In a Nevada divorce, alimony can be awarded as a one-time payment or in specified periodic payments.

Monthly payments are most common but a court has discretion to impose whatever payment schedule appears fair.[3]

3. Can alimony ever be reduced in Nevada?

Courts in Nevada can modify alimony orders. Most often this occurs when the paying spouse can no longer afford it.[4]

Modification of a spousal support award only applies to payments that have not yet accrued. The court will not reduce or cancel past due alimony payments. However, the spouse receiving the alimony may “stipulate” that prior payments have been satisfied.[5]

4. What if my spouse or I get remarried?

If the spouse receiving alimony remarries, spousal support payments normally cease.

An exception is if the original alimony award or a prenuptial agreement provides otherwise.[6]

5. What if my spouse dies?

Alimony payments in Nevada normally cease upon the death of either person.[7]

young couple smiling and signing an agreement

6. What if my spouse and I had a prenuptial agreement?

Courts in divorce proceedings will not order alimony if it goes against a valid, enforceable Nevada premarital agreement.[8] The prenuptial agreement may be amended or revoked only by a written agreement signed by the parties.[9]

7. Temporary spousal support during Nevada divorce proceedings

During a divorce proceeding, a judge may order temporary alimony payments. These typically last only for the duration of the divorce proceeding.

Temporary alimony orders the paying spouse to:

  • Provide for the temporary maintenance of the other spouse;
  • Provide temporary child support for the couple's children; or
  • To enable the other spouse to continue the divorce proceeding.[10]

When determining whether to order temporary spousal support, the court will consider the relative financial situations of the spouses.[11]

8. Alimony for job training or education

A Nevada court may award alimony to a spouse for the purpose of obtaining training or education relating to a job, career or profession. Such training may include a high school diploma, college courses or training in skills desirable for employment.

Factors the court may consider include:

  • Whether the spouse who would pay such 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.[12]  
illustration of house with for sale sign and dollar sign over it

9. 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.[13]

Once the divorce is final, the court may enforce the judgement by various means, including:

  • Appointment of a receiver, or
  • The forced sale of any personal or real property -- including a spouse's separate property.[14].

10. Can my spouse levy my veteran's benefits for alimony?

Courts cannot normally seize veterans' federal disability benefits for alimony. They can do so only if a premarital agreement provides otherwise.[15]

11. Can I get spousal support in Nevada without a divorce?

Spouses may obtain child and spousal support without a divorce when:

  • The spouse has any grounds for divorce, or 
  • The spouse has been deserted and the desertion has continued for 90 days.[16]

While such an action is pending, the court may require either spouse to pay:

  • Temporary spousal or child support, and/or
  • The costs of maintaining the action for permanent support.[17]

12. What happens if I fail to make alimony payments in Nevada?

If a spouse fails to make spousal support payments in Nevada, the other spouse can get a court order.

The court order may call for seizure and sale of the defaulting spouse's assets. Such 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 his or her ex-spouse.[18]

Defaulting on spousal support is also a crime under NRS 201.020, Nevada's law against failing to make alimony payments. However, criminal charges are usually not brought if the reason for 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 6 months in jail.

Owing $10,000 or more carries in spousal support is a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

Additionally, family court judges may take a conviction into account when determining child custody.

Getting a divorce in Las Vegas? Call us for help…

female receptionist

If you are considering a divorce in Las Vegas, we invite you to call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) to schedule a FREE consultation.

Whether you are required to pay alimony or entitled to receive alimony depends upon a complex variety of factors.

An experienced Las Vegas divorce attorney can help ensure that your alimony arrangement is fair and equitable and that your needs are adequately represented.

Legal references:

  1. NRS 125.150(1)(a).
  2. NRS 125.150 (9).
  3. NRS 125.150 (1)(a).
  4. NRS 125.150 (8).
  5. NRS 125.270.
  6. NRS 125.150 (6).
  7. Same.
  8. NRS 125.210 (5).
  9. NRS 123A.050 (1)(d).
  10. NRS 123A.070.
  11. NRS 125.040 (1).
  12. NRS 125.040 (2).
  13. NRS 125.150 (10).
  14. NRS 125.220.
  15. NRS 125.150 (5); NRS 125.240. 
  16. NRS 125.210 (3).
  17. NRS 125.190.
  18. NRS 125.200.
  19. NRS 125.180.

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