Can an Alimony Judgment Be Modified?

Couple sitting a table with their lawyer

When couples divorce, alimony can be a source of great contention. It can feel different from the other issues that arise from divorce, in that alimony involves a continued financial obligation that is meant to purely support a former spouse (in contrast to child support, which is meant to cover the child). At Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P., our family law attorneys get a lot of questions about alimony. One of the big ones is whether alimony can be modified, or whether it is set in stone.

Nevada Courts Can Modify Alimony Orders

Nevada’s alimony statute allows courts to modify alimony orders under certain conditions. For alimony obligations that have not yet accrued, courts are granted the authority to modify alimony orders upon a “showing of changed circumstances”. If a supporting spouse’s gross monthly income has changed by 20% or more, courts must consider this a change in circumstances that merits a review of alimony payments. Specifically, courts are instructed to look at a supporting spouse’s federal tax return to determine whether that spouse’s income has decreased to the degree that they can no longer pay the court-ordered alimony payments.

When this review for modification is triggered by a showing of changed circumstances, then a court can weigh the factors it originally considered when first granting alimony, including:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • The spouses’ mental and physical conditions
  • The financial condition and property of each spouse
  • The income and earning capacity of each spouse
  • The couple’s standard of living during the marriage
  • The education and career training of the spouses during the marriage
  • The contributions of a spouse as a homemaker
  • The financial condition of each spouse
  • How marital property was divided

Significantly, when a couple has formally agreed to specific, periodic alimony payments, or a court has entered such an order, then the law generally prohibits modification of alimony payments that have already accrued. In other words, the court cannot modify alimony obligations that have already come due. Thus, lump sum alimony obligations that have already accured are essentially non-modifiable.

In addition, the parties may independently agree that alimony will not be modifiable.

Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P.

If you are interested in addressing an existing alimony agreement or order, you should speak with an attorney. Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P. is a small law firm that produces big results. Our attorneys have over one hundred years of combined legal experience, which we have used to achieve countless courtroom successes. We understand that the issues surrounding divorce have a significant and lasting impact on your life. We therefore work tirelessly toward achieving our clients’ best outcomes. Call Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 210-8178 to schedule an appointment or contact our office through our website.

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