When a couple decides to divorce, one spouse may be entitled to financial support. Alimony is a type of financial support given to one spouse by another after the dissolution of marriage. In the state of Nevada, alimony (if any) is awarded through either a negotiated agreement between the litigant’s Alimony attorneys in Las Vegas, or by the order of a family court judge. While many believe that alimony is paid by an ex-husband to an ex-wife, alimony can be awarded to, or paid by, either divorced spouse.
Attorneys Jennifer V. Abrams and Vincent Mayo understand the complexities of alimony awards. They have decades of experience and are prepared to provide expert counsel, whether you are seeking an alimony award or refuting alimony claims.
The Difference between Alimony and Temporary Spousal Support
Alimony and temporary spousal support are two different forms of financial assistance from one spouse to another. Temporary spousal support generally occurs during the divorce proceedings, and is for the payment of normal lifestyle bills. Alimony, on the other hand, is typically a form of financial assistance that occurs after the divorce case is finalized. Alimony awards can be for a fixed time period, lump sum, or in rare cases, lifetime payments.
Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017
Federal tax rule changes have affected alimony payments. Any legal separation agreement or divorce decree executed on or after January 1, 2019 falls under the new income tax laws. This includes new modifications to existing documents in a previously resolved divorce case.
Beginning in 2019, alimony payments are no longer taxable. This means the paying spouse can no longer deduct alimony payments, nor must the recipient spouse include it as income. Prior to 2019, the paying spouse could deduct alimony as part of their income taxes, thus reducing their tax burden. The recipient was then required to include it in their income, often resulting in a higher tax burden.
Any legal separation agreement or decree of divorce executed on or before December 31, 2018 remains unaffected by the new tax laws, but to make sure of compliance, it is best to consult with Las Vegas alimony attorneys.
Alimony Attorneys in Las Vegas Know it’s a Legal Gray Area
While some judges use the Tonopah Formula as a guide, it’s a myth that there is one mathematical formula used by all Nevada family court judges for alimony awards. This is especially true in high-asset and/or “long-term” marriages. In Nevada, family courts use the idea of what is “just and equitable” as the standard when making decisions on alimony. What’s “just and equitable” to one divorcing spouse is typically not the same to the other. Equally important, there is no exact amount of time that defines “long-term” in Nevada law. Each family court judge has different tendencies toward alimony claims. Therefore, it’s important that your Las Vegas alimony attorney knows what the judge in your case has decided in past cases similar to yours.
Regardless, there are general factors typically used to decide if alimony is appropriate, such as: length of marriage, each spouse’s health, income, age, earning capacity, contributions to the other spouse’s career, and other considerations.
Types of Alimony Payments
Depending on the specifics of the situation, alimony may be paid for a period of time, or it may be paid in a lump sum. Periodic payments can be temporary or permanent.
Temporary alimony payments are a fixed amount, for a defined period of time, paid at a certain frequency. These payments cease after the payer has satisfied their financial obligation. There are many reasons for temporary alimony payments. They can be used to balance how the marital assets were divided in the divorce, allow the receiving spouse to establish themselves post-divorce, or for rehabilitative alimony, among others. Rehabilitative alimony allows a divorced spouse to obtain education or vocational training so they may increase their earning potential.
Permanent alimony, also known as lifetime alimony, is rare in Nevada. In order to have a legitimate claim for lifetime alimony, a number of factors must be considered. It is typically awarded in cases of long-term marriages, where one spouse has been the primary income earner and continues to have a substantial income. Additionally, the other spouse may have had limited employment opportunities or medical considerations that prevent them from being employed. Although these criteria may all be met, there is still no guarantee that lifetime alimony will be awarded. Experienced alimony attorneys in Las Vegas will be able to guide you through the process, and advocate for your best interest.
In either case, alimony payments typically cease if the receiving ex-spouse remarries.
Prenuptial Agreements and Alimony
Any terms declared in a prenuptial agreement, including provisions for alimony, must be valid and enforceable in the eyes of the court. If not, those provisions, and in some cases the entire prenuptial agreement, will not be upheld. There are numerous factors that make an agreement valid and enforceable or null and void.
In a general summary, among other factors, the agreement must be: in writing, disclose all assets and debts of both parties, signed by both parties, and be “reasonable and fair”. Once again, reasonable and fair is a legal gray area; what’s considered reasonable and fair by one party may not be to the other.
Additionally, both parties should have their own independent legal counsel. A strong argument for invalidity is when one party has an attorney and the other doesn’t. The prenuptial agreement should be signed well before the wedding day to ensure there is an “adequate time period” – also a legal gray area – for both parties to review the document. The agreement should also not be “unconscionable,” meaning that the agreement should not be so one-sided that it shocks the conscious of the court.
Contact Experienced Alimony Attorneys in Las Vegas
It is an unfortunate truth that divorces can often be complex and emotionally challenging. Navigating through a tangled web of legal considerations is an arduous task. Jennifer V. Abrams and Vincent Mayo are experienced Las Vegas divorce and alimony attorneys. They provide expert counsel to help you understand the different types of financial support available. They also guide you on what you may be entitled to, or what you may be required to pay, during and after a divorce. Both attorneys offer phone consultations as a courtesy at no charge. You may contact them at our office at 702-222-4021.