How Unemployment Factors Into Alimony Orders

A folder with money handing out the side

In addition to the swift human disaster of the COVID 19 pandemic, there has also been a truly stunning economic fall. For a state that is heavily reliant on tourism, the closure of businesses and the complete halt of tourists have led to historic unemployment. As of the beginning of May 2020, 28 percent of Nevada’s workforce has filed unemployment claims.

Unfortunately, financial obligations don’t end when people’s paychecks end. Mortgages and rent are still due, bills still come in the mail, and child support and alimony payments are still owed. This requires a thoughtful and informed approach to addressing these obligations.

Existing Orders Must be Modified

The payment obligations in existing alimony orders were determined—in part—by the income and earning capacity of the paying spouse at the time of the order. Even if a paying spouse loses his or her job, or has a significant reduction in income, the existing alimony order does not change until a court modifies the order. Until then, all alimony payments continue to be due as ordered.

Failure to pay the court-ordered amount subjects the paying spouse to arrearages, enforcement, and contempt proceedings that can result in fines, fees, and possible jail time. Instead of waiting for these consequences to occur, a paying spouse should speak with an attorney as soon as possible to explore modifying their alimony order.

A court can consider the modification of an alimony order if the person asking for the change proves that there are “changed circumstances” that necessitate changing the obligation. The loss of a job or a significant reduction of income definitely qualifies as a changed circumstance, so long as a court does not believe that the spouse voluntarily or intentionally reduced their income.

Courts May Not be Immediately Available

Like many workplaces across the state, the Reno courts are currently operating in a limited capacity. For the most part, courts are only hearing emergency and “essential” types of cases. Manyhearings have been rescheduled until local governments determine it is safe to reopen. Nevertheless, we would highly recommend contacting us so that we can help you make a plan, electronically file pleadings on your behalf, and attempt to get on the court’s video hearing schedule. Taking the proper steps now will help demonstrate to the court that you are making a good faith effort to address your obligation and follow your order.

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

If you are seeking a modification or enforcement of an alimony order, an attorney can help you. Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P. is a top class law firm that offers smart, effective representation to men and women in Reno. Our attorneys are experienced and have a proven record of success. Call Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 227-2280 to schedule a case consultation or contact our office through our website.

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