This is the next post in a series of articles discussing spousal support awards, also known as alimony, in Las Vegas, Nevada. My previous post provided an overview of the topics to be addressed in this series. It also emphasized the importance of retaining an experienced divorce attorney to aggressively represent your interests. In this article, I will explain how Las Vegas courts determine whether and how much alimony is to be awarded to a party in a divorce. Given the significant financial impact of this determination, it is essential to engage counsel to explain your rights and obligations. If you are in need of assistance, contact my office today to speak to a lawyer.
In many states, legislatures have adopted statutes setting forth the guidelines and formulas to determine appropriate spousal support awards. Other states employ an equitable division of property standard, under which the court attempts to divide assets and debts evenly. In Nevada, on the other hand, the determination about whether alimony should be granted, the amount of support, and length of the award is purely in the court’s discretion. Many attorneys refer to “the Tonopah” guidelines, a formula for alimony decisions discussed by the court in the Tonopah case. It should be noted, however, that a judge is not bound by this formula and instead will apply their own discretion to the facts of a specific case.
There are certain factors that will impact the court’s spousal support award decisions. These include the financial position of each party when leaving the marriage. A court may consider the extent to which one party requires retraining before entering the workforce. A contribution of one party to the other’s ability to excel in a career and achieve a high level of compensation may become an important factor. Other facts such as the length of the marriage, ongoing child support obligations, and earning potential may be considered as well. Consider, for example, a wife who was a stay-at-home mom during a 15 year marriage. She and her husband chose this path so that her husband could pursue his career. During that time, her computer software skills from college became outdated. Her husband excelled and reached a high level position in his field and achieved a significant salary. The court may evaluate the specific circumstances of this case and determine that the wife is entitled to alimony for a certain period while she updates her computer skills. It may also decide that her contribution to the husband’s success and his salary level entitle her ongoing support for a period of time.
Every Las Vegas alimony determination will be based on the facts of the specific situation. An experienced family law attorney can help you identify important details that may impact your support award. If you are contemplating a divorce, contact my office today to speak to a family lawyer.