The Nevada Legislature either chose or neglected, depending on your viewpoint, to provide any mathematical formula for alimony calculations. Instead, family court judges are to weigh various factors, from the length of the marriage to the age of the parties, use their discretion and determine an alimony amount and duration of payment. In general this makes some sense, although every family law litigant, the person in the divorce, wants to know how much they will be paying or receiving. The bottom line answer: It depends upon the judge assigned to your case.
While everyone can agree that in a marriage lasting forty (40) years where the husband obtained a Nobel Laureate for science and seven Ph.D.s while Mom with a GED stayed home to take care of eleven (11) children, two of whom had special needs, is an alimony case, no one can really agree as to the proper amount of support. Dad often wants a minimum amount arguing that Mom can now run a daycare, or laundry service, or remarry. Conversely, Mom wants all of Dad’s future hopes and dreams, and income awarded to her. In a forty (40) year marriage the issue is relatively simple. Alimony will last a long time, and will keep to the extent possible, Mom in a lifestyle close to the the lifestyle she led for the last forty (40) years.
The more troublesome question is a marriage that only lasted four (4) years with no children. Assume an enormous disparity in income, but also consider that Wife is relatively young and educated. Consider this same Wife who did move across the country and left a tremendous job behind believing the marriage would last forever and to support her Husband’s career. What alimony award, if any, should this Wife receive? Is the dismal economy in Nevada a factor in any potential award? Is Wife simply in a tough luck situation? Does any of the issues Wife may raise bring fault, however, subtly, into an equation of a “no fault” state. Just food for thought? Depending on the judge assigned to your case, the answer varies greatly.
As a side note, a common strategy in the short marriage with a great disparity in income is to dilate, delay, postpone, and obfuscate the issues and the case. During the interim, ask the court to award spousal support and other financial benefits while the case proceeds through discovery. But assuming such a strategy succeeds, is it fair and ethical? Would Nevada simply benefit from a complicated but certain formula for alimony?