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


Alimony in Nevada is the monetary payments that a court orders one spouse to pay the other following a Nevada divorce.

Also called spousal support, 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 (alimony)
Nevada courts take several factors into account when deciding whether to grant spousal support.

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 the 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
Engaged couples can waive their right to receive alimony in a prenuptial agreement in Nevada.

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 for only the duration of the divorce proceeding.

Temporary alimony orders the paying spouse to:

  • Provide for the temporary maintenance of the other spouse;
  • Provide temporary Nevada child support for the couple's children; or
  • To enable the other spouse to continue the divorce proceeding10

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 (alimony)
Sometimes alimony may be awarded for purposes of job training or education.

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 judgment 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 (NRS 201.020). 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 six (6) months in jail.

Owing $10,000 or more carries in spousal support is a felony, punishable by up to five (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
Call our Las Vegas family law attorneys at 702-DEFENSE for a FREE consultation today.

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.

See our related article on joint petitions to divorce in Nevada.


Legal references:

  1. NRS 125.150(1)(a); Shydler v. Shydler, 114 Nev. 192,  954 P.2d 37 (1998)("Alimony is an equitable award serving to meet the post-divorce needs and rights of the former spouse...It follows from our decisions in this area that two of the primary purposes of alimony, at least in marriages of significant length, are to narrow any large gaps between the post-divorce earning capacities of the parties...and to allow the recipient spouse to live "as nearly as fairly possible to the station in life [] enjoyed before the divorce." Sprenger, 110 Nev. at 860, 878 P.2d at 287-88 (quoting Heim v. Heim, 104 Nev. 605, 612-13, 763 P.2d 678, 683 (1988)). The individual circumstances of each case will determine the appropriate amount and length of any alimony award.").
  2. NRS 125.150 (9); Sprenger v. Sprenger, 110 Nev. 855,  878 P.2d 284 (1994)("This court has articulated seven relevant factors in determining the appropriate alimony award in a divorce case: (1) the wife's career prior to marriage; (2) the length of the marriage; (3) the husband's education during the marriage; (4) the wife's marketability; (5) the wife's ability to support herself; (6) whether the wife stayed home with the children; and (7) the wife's award, besides child support and alimony."); Kogod v. Cioffi-Kogod, 439 P.3d 397, 135 Nev. Adv. Rep. 9 (2019)("When determining if alimony is just and equitable, a district court must consider  [*401]  the eleven factors listed in NRS 125.150(9). See DeVries v. Gallio, 128 Nev. 706, 711-13, 290 P.3d 260, 264-65 (2012). The district court may also consider any other relevant factor, but it must not consider the marital fault or misconduct, or lack thereof; of the spouses...A large gap in income, alone, does not decide alimony. The award must meet the receiving spouse's economic needs or compensate for economic losses resulting from the marriage and subsequent divorce.").
  3. NRS 125.150 (1)(a).
  4. NRS 125.150 (8); Siragusa v. Siragusa, 108 Nev. 987, 843 P.2d 807 (1992)("[A] district court may consider a spouse's discharged property settlement obligation as a "changed circumstance" in ruling upon a motion for modification of alimony. Modification of an alimony award based upon a discharged property settlement obligation does not re-create a debt discharged under federal bankruptcy laws, and therefore the district court in the instant case properly considered Vincent's discharged property settlement obligation in ruling upon the motion for modification of alimony.")
  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); Gardner v. Gardner, 110 Nev. 1053, 881 P.2d 645 (1994)("Under Nevada's current statutory scheme regarding alimony, the legislature has provided for at least two types of alimony. The first, discussed above, is a form of alimony a court may award in order to satisfy the demands of justice and equity. A second type of alimony (rehabilitative alimony)  is that provided by the legislature under NRS 125.150(8) which is designed to provide necessary training or education "relating to a job, career or profession.").
  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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