This is the next post in a series discussing alimony, or spousal support, claims in Las Vegas, Nevada. The prior article addressed the circumstances under which a person may ask a court to modify an alimony award. In most cases, a party may seek a modification of a support award if there has been a significant change in either side’s financial circumstances. An experienced divorce attorney can explain if a modification may be appropriate for you. This article will focus on the process of litigating a spousal support claim a trial. If you need assistance, contact my office to speak with a lawyer.
When spouses are unable to reach a settlement agreement on various issues in their divorce, including alimony, the case will proceed to litigation. During the trial, the parties and their respective attorneys must present objective evidence in support of their positions. The judge will require strict adherence to the rules of evidence and rules of procedure and may refuse to admit evidence presented in contravention of these rules. An experienced family law attorney will understand how to comply with the requirements. Further, a trial lawyer will effectively present evidence to the court in a clear and concise manner regarding spousal support and other litigated issues. After each party presents its case to the judge, including witness testimony, the other side will have a chance to cross-examine witnesses. Following this process, the parties may make closing statements. The judge will then deliberate and return a verdict.
The parties will use the discovery process to obtain information from the opposing party to be used during the divorce process and at trial. This information may include subpoenas for records or documentary evidence, written questions, or witness deposition testimony. Through discovery, the attorneys will request information to be used as evidence supporting the various factors relevant to a spousal support determination. In the context of alimony, one may be interested in gathering information about wages, personnel records, tax returns, etc. Records such as bank statements, bonus or commission payments or termination data may become important. In some cases, expert witnesses may be required to provide depositions about a party’s earning potential or complicated joint financial accounts.
For example, in the course of a couple’s divorce proceeding, the husband’s working hours have been reduced from full-time to part-time at his casino job. The wife believes that the husband has intentionally reduced his hours at work in order to avoid paying her spousal support. Using the discovery process, her attorney requests copies of his personnel file, pay stubs, and bank statements. Notes contained in his personnel file indicate that the husband volunteered for reduced shifts with the ongoing option to increase his hours to full-time. During the trial, the wife’s attorney presents the evidence to the judge in compliance with the rules of evidence. The judge would likely determine that the husband was purposely underemployed and award alimony based upon his earning potential versus current deflated earnings. Each case will, of course, be dependent upon the facts of the given situation.
It is important to retain an attorney with discovery and trial experience to best represent your interests at trial. My firm focuses on family law matters, including spousal support negotiations and litigation. If you need assistance, contact my office today to speak to a Las Vegas divorce lawyer.