Do You Qualify for Alimony Payments in Your Divorce?

Divorce and AlimonyOne of the most contested issues in divorce cases concerns alimony payments. Typically one party thinks they deserve it and the other party doesn’t want to pay it, or at least not the full amount that’s being asked for. In this article our Las Vegas divorce attorneys set the record straight on alimony payments.

Temporary Support and Alimony

During the divorce proceedings one spouse may qualify for temporary spousal support. This form of support is sometimes confused with alimony, but the two are significantly different. In short, temporary spousal support is the payment of funds from one spouse to the other, while the divorce proceedings are ongoing. Typically temporary spousal support is for everyday living expenses and, at times, attorney’s fees. The support ceases once the divorce matter concludes. Alimony, if any, occurs as a part of the Decree of Divorce, which is the final agreement between the divorcing spouses. So the of payment of alimony is from one ex-spouse to the other.

Why is Alimony So Complicated?

Divorce matter finances and other marriage particulars affect whether alimony payments are warranted. There are many factors to consider but the most important one is that there are no Nevada statutes that specifically define what makes alimony appropriate or not. And even if it is deemed appropriate, the amount and terms are not defined anywhere. It’s the ultimate divorce crap-shoot. The lack of statutes governing alimony should not be confused with the “Tonopah Formula” which is a set of general guidelines that some, but not all, family court judges may use to consider alimony requests. Guidelines are suggestions, not laws. And even if a judge does use them, each judge may interpret the guidelines differently. This leaves a large legal gray area and is the reason why alimony is so complicated. These complications make having the best divorce attorney for your case facts all the more important.

How Are Alimony Payments Structured?

Also significant is that there is no formula or even guidelines on how much alimony payments should be and for how long. Even the loosely used Tonopah Formula does not offer a payment amount calculation method. Like any other aspect of a divorce case, the structure of alimony payments is defined on a case by case basis. In general there are several payment methods that are routinely used:

  • Lump Sum Payment – This is a one-time payment at the conclusion of a divorce matter.
  • Monthly Payments – Typically these payments are for a limited time period covering months or years.
  • Life-Time Payments – This is the rarest of all alimony awards. Very few divorce matters end up with a negotiated settlement or court ruling for life-time alimony.

Can Alimony Payments Be Terminated?

Experienced divorce attorneys always include a clause in the Decree of Divorce that terminates alimony payments if the receiving party remarries – as long as it is to the benefit of their client. Rather than termination of alimony payments, modifying the payments is more common. There are numerous factors that can validate a request for a change in alimony payments with the most common being a substantial change in financial circumstances of the ex-spouse making the payments.

Are Alimony Payments Taxable?

Since 2019 alimony is no longer income tax deductible for the ex-spouse making the payments. The ex-spouse receiving the payments also does not have to report alimony payments as taxable income. The federal government made this change to increase the total income tax amounts they can legally collect with the thinking that removing tax deductions from the higher income earning ex-spouse will increase overall tax revenues.

The Bottom Line on Alimony

The divorce attorneys for both spouses are largely responsible for whether their client receives a favorable decision regarding alimony issues. There are too many concepts and not enough actual laws for it to be any different. If you have a lot at risk in your divorce matter, alimony is more than likely just one of your concerns. It’s always best to retain legal counsel commensurate with what you have at stake whether that is alimony, property distributions, or child custody disputes.

Las Vegas Divorce Attorneys for You

Las Vegas divorce attorneys Jennifer V. Abrams and Vincent Mayo have extensive experience in complex divorce matters including those that relate to alimony claims. Call our office at 702-222-4021 to speak with them about your divorce related concerns. Both attorneys offer phone consultations as a courtesy at no charge.