Divorce Help Obligations: Understanding Help

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Daniel S. Judd / Allison MacKenzie law firm

By Daniel Judd

Facing the possibility of divorce can be daunting. There are so many uncertainties and questions to answer: What will happen to the house? What is the custody of the children like? How do I pay the bills without my spouse’s income? Fortunately, in Nevada, it is at the discretion of the courts to provide spousal support, also known as alimony. NRS 125.150 (1) (a) authorizes the court to grant “just and just” maintenance after divorce proceedings are concluded.

Maintenance can be provided either as a lump sum or through regular payments over time, usually monthly payments. With regular payment, maintenance is usually fixed for a certain period. If the court does not order a specific period of maintenance, the maintenance payment automatically ends with the death of one party or the subsequent remarriage of the party receiving the regular maintenance payments. However, alimony can also end if the recipient lives with someone significant.

In establishing spousal support, the court will take into account certain factors set out in NRS 125.150 (8). These include the following:

  • The financial situation of each spouse;
  • Type and value of respective property of each spouse;
  • The contribution of each spouse to property held jointly by the spouses;
  • The length of the marriage;
  • Income, ability to work, age and health of each spouse;
  • Standard of living during marriage;
  • The career prior to the marriage of the spouse who would receive the alimony;
  • The existence of any specific education or training or the level of marketable skills each spouse acquired during the marriage;
  • The contribution of a spouse as a housewife;
  • The property division granted by the court in the event of divorce, with the exception of child support and maintenance, to the spouse who would receive the support; and
  • The physical and mental constitution of each party with respect to that spouse’s financial condition, health and ability to work.

The court will consider each of these questions and award an award based on the details of the individual case. Two of the factors that the court must consider when granting alimony are: whether the alimony spouse received better professional skills or education during the marriage and whether the beneficiary spouse is providing financial assistance to the other spouse has received these skills if he was supported.

For example, the court might find that one spouse obtained an advanced degree during the marriage while the other spouse worked in their support so that the first spouse can make significantly more money than the second spouse. Therefore, the court could provide maintenance to the lower-income spouse to help him or her maintain the standard of living to which they had become accustomed during the marriage.

In addition to the type of spousal support described above, NRS 125.150 (10) gives the court the discretion to order rehabilitation maintenance or assistance for the express purpose of improving the recipient’s education or training.

The purpose of the rehabilitation maintenance allowance is to give the lower-income spouse the opportunity to establish themselves financially through education or training. If the lower income spouse is able to increase their earning potential, they are less dependent on their spouse’s maintenance payments.

Maintenance resulting from a divorce decree or from an arrangement ratified, adopted or approved in a decree that provides for periodic payments cannot, in general, be changed in relation to maintenance that has already accrued. However, if there is a change in circumstances, a party can apply for a change in maintenance that has not yet been incurred.

In divorce, alimony is just a small but important issue that needs to be resolved. It can be intimidating to face the prospect of divorce on your own. Partnering with a compassionate and knowledgeable lawyer can guide clients through this difficult time and achieve a fair and equitable outcome.

Learn more

Call Allison MacKenzie Law at 775-687-0202.

About the Allison MacKenzie law firm

Allison MacKenzie Law Firm’s team of talented and experienced attorneys and staff has worked diligently since 1968 to position clients for success across the state of Nevada and nationally. Allison MacKenzie is a general practitioner law firm dedicated to providing superior legal representation to individuals, businesses and public organizations. The team represents various customer interests and masters the vast and changing legal landscape. The firm has an impressive list of practice areas including real estate, construction, estate planning, business law, government affairs, litigation, family law, labor law, administrative law, water law, health law, education law, and more. Allison MacKenzie’s broad knowledge, experience and professionalism provide customers with a solid foundation that they can rely on.

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