Alimony: What is it? How long does it last? And other Frequently Asked Questions.
What is Alimony vs. Spousal Support?
“Spousal support” and “Alimony,” they may go by different names, but they mean the same thing. It’s basically just financial support that is given to the spouse who is either financially unstable or unemployable. Spousal support or alimony allows the lower-wage-earning spouse to maintain the same standard of living that they had while married.
Additional reasons alimony may be awarded are:
- It can help the lower-earning spouse to obtain a new degree or a specialized training to become financially independent or to raise their earning capacity.
- It can give the lower-earning spouse short-term assistance in restructuring their new life after a divorce.
Lump Sum vs. Monthly Payments
One of the questions that I get asked a lot about alimony or child support is, is it better to do a lump sum or a monthly payment? Normally, spousal support is awarded on a monthly payment basis, but in some instances, it is awarded as a lump sum payment. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. One of them being that if you opt to make a payment in a lump sum amount, once that payment has been made, you cannot modify that payment later. So, if you pay a monthly payment or receive a monthly payment, you can always modify that payment based on increased need or lack of ability to continue to make the same amount.
There are different things that you need to take into consideration when deciding whether to pay or receive a lump sum or monthly payment, and so I encourage you to sit down with an attorney and discuss what advantages or disadvantages might play into your particular situation.
How Long Does Alimony Last?
Another question that I get a lot is, how long does alimony or spousal support last? In Nevada, there is no specific rule, formula or statute that directs or mandates how spousal support is to be awarded. For this reason, the judges have to look at the overall picture of your particular situation. Because every case is uniquely different, I strongly advise that you sit down with an attorney to go over your specific case to see what your potential outcomes may be. That being said, the typical basis for how alimony is awarded usually comes down to the ability of the spouse to pay and by the other spouse’s need.
Another factor that a judge may use to determine the duration of alimony or spousal support payments is the length of the marriage. Broadly speaking, it is said that the judges award alimony if we have a marriage that has been 10 years or longer. Generally, they tend to award alimony for half the length of the marriage. However, I have seen cases where there has been a short marriage of less than a year and alimony has been awarded. And I have seen cases where the marriages have been 15 or more years and no alimony has been awarded. Therefore, like I said, it’s important for you to talk to an attorney about alimony because of the limited guides on how it is awarded.
One thing that I can tell you for certain, though, is that spousal support/alimony will end if:
- The receiving spouse gets remarried or
- Upon the death of either the awarding spouse or receiving spouse.
Those factors are about all the certainty that there is when it comes to the spousal support.
If you have additional questions, or would like clarity on how these factors may come into play in your specific situation, do not hesitate to contact our office to discuss your options with an experienced Family Law attorney. Our office can be reached at (702) 998-1188, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by scheduling a consultation online.