Both spouses want to maintain their standard of living after a divorce. However, household costs, insurance, and other expenses may make it impossible to keep that living standard, especially if one spouse didn’t work during the marriage. In some cases, a Tennessee judge may require one spouse to pay alimony, or spousal support, to the other spouse.
Types of Alimony
Tennessee courts can award different types of alimony, depending on your financial situation. Alimony options include:
- Transitional or rehabilitative alimony. Transitional and rehabilitative alimony payments continue for a set period of time, so a spouse can become self-supporting. For example, this type of alimony may continue until a spouse finishes work training or education.
- Lump sum alimony. A lump sum payment, or series of payments, may be required. This type of alimony, also known as alimony in solido, could be required if the property division couldn’t be done equitably.
- Regular alimony payments. This type of alimony, also known as alimony in futuro, usually requires one spouse to pay the other spouse regular payments. Typically, this type of alimony ends when the spouse receiving the payments dies, remarries, or begins cohabitating with someone else in a romantic relationship.
For each type of alimony, the court will decide how much money should be paid.
How Alimony Is Determined
While there is a formula to determine child support payments in Tennessee, no such formula exists for alimony payments. Accordingly, if the spouses cannot negotiate alimony on their own, the court will consider the following factors in determining the amount of alimony to be paid:
- Whether one spouse has a financial need for alimony
- Whether one spouse has the financial ability to pay alimony
- The relative earning capacity, debts, and financial resources of each spouse
- The relative education, training, and ability of each spouse
- Each spouse’s opportunity for education and training
- How long you were married
- Each spouse’s age
- Each spouse’s mental condition
- Each spouse’s physical condition
- Which spouse will have physical custody of minor children from the marriage and whether employment would be desirable
- The separate assets of each spouse
- The distribution of marital property
- The standard of living enjoyed during marriage
- The contributions, both financial and otherwise, that each spouse made to the marriage
- The relative fault of each spouse, if the court decides this is appropriate to consider
Other factors, including the tax consequences of alimony payments, may also be considered by the court.
Make Sure You Are Treated Fairly
Whether you are the spouse who may pay alimony or the spouse that should receive alimony, you need to make sure that your rights are protected. You don’t want to pay more than you have to pay, and you don’t want to receive less than you deserve.