Spousal support, or alimony, and child support are treated in strikingly different ways in Nevada. In terms of spousal support, Nevada law requires its courts to award spousal support in a manner that is "just and equitable"; thus, awarding spousal support is a relatively subjective process. On the other hand, child support is usually awarded according to specific guidelines and amounts based on the number of children receiving support and gross income of the noncustodial spouse. However, these amounts are not set in stone -- they can be raised or lowered when special circumstances exist.
Types of Alimony
Spousal support is gender neutral in the 21st century -- either spouse can receive it. There are four types of spousal support that can be awarded in Nevada. You can receive temporary support, or maintenance, during a divorce proceeding. You also can receive permanent alimony, which has no termination date. However, the latter isn't necessarily "permanent" in the true sense of the word; if an ex-spouse dies or you remarry, alimony payments are terminated. Temporary alimony has either a termination date or a terminating event that kicks in to stop payments. Rehabilitative spousal support enables one party to receive money for job training or education to further a career or earning potential. But the court must consider whether the spouse receiving alimony provided financial support to further the other spouse's career during the marriage, perhaps by working to put the other spouse through school. As part of the divorce decree, the court can grant spousal support in the form of a lump sum or installment payments.
Over the years, the Nevada Supreme Court has affirmed a number of "non-exclusive" factors a district court should consider when determining the amount of spousal support payments. They include the parties' financial status, value of property owned by each after the divorce, length of the marriage and parties' age, health and ability to earn a living. Another factor that might come into play is ongoing physical or mental abuse, which might require extra expenses or impair the abused spouse's ability to work.
Parents are legally obligated to provide for their children's needs. According to the formula adopted in Nevada, if you are paying child support to the spouse who has custody of your kids, you'll pay 18 percent of your monthly gross income if you have one child; 25 percent for two children; 29 percent for three children; 31 percent for four children; and an extra 2 percent for each additional child. If you have joint custody of the kids, the higher-income parent pays child support to the lower-income parent. The goal is to maintain the children's same lifestyle after the divorce.
Special Child Support Needs
As in many states, Nevada law allows the basic child support calculation to be adjusted if a parent can demonstrate the child's needs won't be met by the standard allocation. Many factors compel a court to lower or raise child support, including the cost of health insurance, child care, transportation expenses for visitation, amount of time spent with each parent, and the age and special education needs of the child. In addition, the divorce decree is subject to modification if the parents' circumstances or child's needs change significantly, which can result in an adjustment of spousal support or child support.