This is the next post in a series on understanding spousal support or alimony claims in Las Vegas, Nevada. The prior article discussed how a settlement agreement may impact alimony rights and obligations. Divorce can be a stressful and contentious process. One can imagine how a divorcing couple might consider entering a less than favorable settlement agreement to expedite the process. Possibly, the parties agree to terms without even fully understanding their potential impact. Consulting with an experienced divorce attorney before agreeing to settlement terms may help avoid negative consequences in the future. This article will focus on the process of litigating a spousal support claim when a settlement agreement cannot be reached. If you need assistance, contact my office to speak with a lawyer.
The importance of discovery in Las Vegas spousal support cases
Discovery is the process by which information is gained from the opposing party in a legal matter. The process is used by the attorneys for either side to request and gather evidence to be used during the divorce process and at trial. Requests for information can include subpoenas for records or documentary evidence, written questions submitted to other parties, or depositions of witnesses under oath. As we have previously discussed in this series, there are several factual matters that may impact a court’s spousal support award. Through discovery, the attorneys will request information to be used as evidence of those relevant factors in support of their clients’ positions. Records such as bank statements, pay stubs, employment histories may be important. In some cases, vocational experts may be deposed to offer testimony about one’s earning potential or forensic accountants related to the division of investment accounts.
For example, a Las Vegas wife is seeking alimony from her husband and he argues that his hours have been reduced by half at work, thereby reducing his income by half. During the discovery process, wife’s attorney requests copies of pay stubs, personnel records and deposes the husband’s boss. In doing so, she learns that the husband formally requested a reduction in his schedule. As a result, the lawyer may present evidence to the court that the husband is voluntarily underemployed, leading to a spousal support award based on his actual earning potential if employed full-time.
What to expect when litigating alimony at a Las Vegas divorce trial
Spousal support awards are one of the issues commonly litigated in a divorce trial. As mentioned above, an attorney will use evidence gathered through the discovery process when presenting one’s case. Contrary to legal television drama depictions, there is no “surprise evidence” at trial. The court strictly enforces the rules of evidence and rules of procedure in divorce matters. Failure to follow these rules could result in the court’s refusal to admit otherwise legitimate evidence impacting and alimony decision. An experienced lawyer will understand these complex rules and how to effectively present evidence to the court in a clear and concise manner. After each party presents its case to the judge, including witness testimony, the other side will have a chance to cross-examine witnesses. Following this process, the parties may make closing statements. The judge will then deliberate and return a verdict.
A knowledgeable Las Vegas divorce lawyer will know how to navigate the discovery and trial process. My firm routinely handles spousal support litigation and is committed to helping clients reach a satisfactory result. If you need assistance, contact my office today to speak to an attorney.