Are alimony waivers in Nevada enforceable?

Alimony waivers are provisions in Nevada premarital agreements where the couple surrenders their right to receive Nevada alimony payments should they ever divorce. State law recognizes alimony waivers as valid as long as the prenuptial agreement itself is valid.

Once a couple marries, they cannot then waive their alimony rights in a post-nuptial agreement. Prenups are a couple's only opportunity to institute an alimony waiver.

In this article, our Las Vegas family law attorneys discuss the validity of alimony waivers following a Nevada divorce.

hands exchanging rings for money (alimony waivers)
Alimony waivers in prenuptial agreements are generally enforceable in Nevada.

1. Definition of alimony in Nevada

Also called spousal support, alimony are payments that one spouse pays to the other following a divorce. The general purpose of alimony is to help the lesser-earning spouse maintain the lifestyle he/she had during the marriage.

Spousal support payments can be made periodically (such as monthly) or in one lump sum payment. Similar to child support, alimony payments can be modified over time depending on the paying ex-spouse's financial situation.

Alimony payments typically cease once the ex-spouse receiving payments remarries unless they had a prenuptial agreement detailing otherwise. People who fail to make required alimony payments ultimately face criminal charges and possible prison time.1


2. Alimony waivers in Nevada prenuptial agreements

Spousal support is a standard consequence of divorce between two people with disparate finances. But Nevada family court judges will not order alimony payments if the divorcing couple waived their alimony rights in a prenuptial agreement.

These "alimony waivers" are completely enforceable as long as the prenup itself is enforceable. Prenuptial agreements may be unenforceable if:

  • the prenuptial agreement was unconscionable when the couple entered into it;
  • the party seeking the prenuptial agreement did not disclose his/her property and financial debts in a fair and reasonable manner;
  • the prenuptial agreement was not entered into voluntarily; or
  • The consequence of the alimony waiver is that one of the spouses becomes eligible for public assistance, such as welfare and food stamps

Couples who want a prenuptial agreement are advised to retain separate attorneys to walk them through the process. If one of the parties is not represented by his/her own attorney, he/she will have more grounds to contest the prenup in court.

Note that couples cannot waive Nevada child support obligations in a prenuptial agreement. Even if both parties agree to it, it would be unenforceable under Nevada law.2

3. Alimony waivers in post-nuptial agreements

Spousal support may not be waived in post-nuptial agreements. Even if both parties agree to the alimony waiver, it will always be unenforceable since it was agreed to after the parties were married.

If a post-nuptial agreement has an alimony waiver, the court will probably recognize all the other provisions made in the post-nup and just disregard the one about alimony. In most cases, courts will not void an entire post-nuptial agreement just because a specific provision is unenforceable.3

4. Calculating alimony in Nevada

There is no one set formula or schedule to calculate spousal maintenance in Nevada like there is for child support. Instead, courts take the following factors into consideration:

  • how long the marriage lasted;
  • each spouse's properties and finances;
  • each spouse's earning capacity and professions;
  • each spouse's contribution to their community property in Nevada;
  • each spouse's age and health;
  • the standard of living that the spouses were accustomed to during marriage;
  • whether each spouse contributed as a homemaker;
  • each spouse's physical and mental condition as it relates to his/her financial condition and ability to earn a living; and
  • any other relevant information4

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Legal References

  1. NRS 125.141.
  2. NRS 123A.050  Content.

          1.  Parties to a premarital agreement may contract with respect to: ...

          (d) The modification or elimination of alimony or support or maintenance of a spouse;

    Fick v. Fick, 109 Nev. 458, 851 P.2d 445 (1993)("Although Bernice voluntarily signed the agreement, had an opportunity to consult with legal counsel, was not coerced and possessed the acumen to understand the transaction, we hold that the [alimony waiver] is unenforceable because Robert did not fully disclose his assets and obligations before Bernice signed it.").

  3. Nevada Family Law & Divorce Attorneys Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements, Nevada State Bar.
  4. NRS 125.141.

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