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Divorce

Alimony and Domestic Violence

Nevada law specifically says that fault of a party cannot be considered for purposes of alimony. This is fault in every sense of the word, including domestic violence.  One way to look at this is just because you are a victim of domestic violence does not mean you are entitled to more alimony. Now, with that being said, you have other recourse in the divorce case, specifically pleading the marital tort of assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Marital torts are separate and apart from the division of assets and debts and alimony and have the potential for a separate monetary award – just like in a tradition tort case.

More concerning to me is the fact that I have seen cases where a victim of domestic violence is potentially in a position to have to pay their abuser alimony. This, of course, is only in cases where Nevada law supports an alimony award because the abused spouse is the breadwinner, or other factors outlined in NRS 125.150 possible support an alimony award. As an example, I was recently watching an episode of 90 Day Fiancé (I will 100% admit to this show as one of my guilty pleasures), and there was a couple getting divorced where the Wife (who had been arrested 3 times for domestic violence), wanted $1,000 per month in alimony from the Husband she was arrested for abusing. Should he have to pay that? If Nevada law supported a finding of alimony, the answer is maybe. In the end, Nevada courts are courts of equity, so one would hope this would at least be considered.

The parties were also only married for six months, so luckily this was not likely an alimony case under Nevada law.

I personally think this is wrong and should be changed and Nevada should do what California has done, which allows for the consideration of domestic violence in making an alimony determination. However, until the law is changed here in Nevada, the Nevada Supreme Court has said fault cannot be considered in making an alimony determination, and thus, parties could find themselves in a position to have to pay their abuser alimony.

By Andriea Aden
September 9, 2019

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