Henderson Alimony Attorneys
Achieving Financial Independence after Divorce.
Unlike Child Support, Alimony is not calculated by a formula. Instead, it is a subjective decision by the Court after a review of both parties’ financial situations. The judge will look at the relative incomes of the parties, whether financial assets are available to both sides, and whether there is significant debt to retire. First, the Court will consider the requesting party's "need," and then the other party's "ability to pay." The Court will also look at the duration of the marriage, the nature of the parties’ education, careers, and whether one stayed home to raise the children to allow the other to work. As a result, each case is unique.
In some cases, the parties were married for a short time (for example, less than 5 years), have little income, no real assets, and a whole lot of debt. In such cases, there is insufficient income or time invested into the marriage to support an award of alimony. In other cases, the parties were married a substantial period of time (for example, 20 years), one or both parties might work, and their financial assets are substantial enough that both can live comfortably without alimony. But in most cases, the parties have been married a good while, there are not a lot of assets, but one party was the primary breadwinner and the other stayed home with the children. In these cases, alimony is typically awarded.
An Alimony Award
In most cases where alimony is awarded, the parties have been married between 5 and 20 years, one party earns significantly more than the other, and there are insufficient resources after divorce upon which the party earning less (the “disadvantaged spouse”) can live. In such cases, the Court will generally make a portion of the net income of the income-earning party available to the disadvantaged spouse in alimony, for roughly half the length of the marriage. The amount and duration of the alimony will depend largely upon the immediate needs of the disadvantaged spouse. But rarely is the alimony award enough to live on. Usually, it’s enough to help keep the spouse afloat while they seek better employment, and to help them get on their feet.
A special form of alimony, rehabilitative alimony, is awarded to a spouse who needs to finish their education. The idea is that if a person can earn significantly better income if they are allowed to complete their degree or trade, it is better for everyone if they are allowed to do so. The Court can then provide a brief period of rehabilitative alimony, even if ordinary alimony is not awarded.
But as alimony is such a fact specific issue, having the advice of an experienced family law attorney is crucial. The attorneys at Nevada Family Law Group are well prepared to review their client’s financial conditions and to work to get them the alimony they deserve.
(For the Nevada Supreme Court's take on the concept of "need and ability to pay alimony," see Engebretsen v. Engebretsen.)
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If you have questions about a family law matter, contact an attorney at Nevada Family Law Group today for a consultation. (702) 910-4300