Alimony, also known as spousal support, is one spouse’s legal obligation to financially support their former spouse, after a divorce. And unlike the traditional division of marital property, alimony is decided on a case-by-case basis.
Understanding Alimony Payments in Tennessee
Why are Spouses Awarded Alimony?
The purpose of alimony is to ensure one spouse’s future is not unfairly affected because of a divorce. Take, for example, a person who married in their 20s and forgoed promotions or a career altogether in order to stay at home and raise their children. If that person then gets a divorce in their 40s or 50s, he or she may not have the education or experience needed to maintain their lifestyle.
The above example would be considered alimony in futuro, and is most common in long-term marriages.
But because all marriages, couples, and lives are different, there are many types of alimony in Tennessee, including:
- Rehabilitative alimony. This allows the receiving spouse to become “rehabilitated” and may include things like paying for school or vocational training. These payments tend to be short-term and may stop once the receiving spouse can earn their own living.
- Transitional alimony. This helps the receiving spouse adjust to their new life, and may cover things like moving expenses, rent, or transportation to work.
- Alimony in solido. If a couple’s assets can not be divided equally in the divorce, the spouse who receives “more” may be ordered to pay alimony to make up for the imbalance.
Who Qualifies for Spousal Support?
It’s important to know that alimony is not automatically awarded to one spouse in the event of a divorce. Determining who should receive or pay alimony, as well as how much, is incredibly complicated and depends on many factors, such as:
- How long the marriage lasted.
- The age and physical condition of a former spouse at the time of the divorce.
- How long it would take for the former spouse to become self-sufficient.
- The couple’s standard of living while they were married.
- Whether or not one spouse has the means to support their former spouse, as well as themselves.
How Long is Alimony Paid For?
In Tennessee, there is no set minimum or maximum payment period that someone is required to pay alimony. Unlike child support, which must be paid until the child turns 18, spousal support can be one lump sum, monthly payments for a set period of time, or life-long payments.
E. Evan Cope, PLLC is a dedicated, tough, and experienced litigator who has practiced law in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and throughout Middle Tennessee since 2001. Contact our law office today online or at (615) 640-4241 to request an initial consultation.