Going through a divorce doesn’t only impact you emotionally, it can also impact you financially. In fact, it is rare for a divorce to not have a significant financial impact on the parties. If your spouse makes considerably more money than you do, one of your biggest concerns about getting divorced may be your financial status post-divorce. Will you be able to support yourself? If you have children, how will you support them? Will you receive a fair settlement in the divorce and what can you do about if you don’t? One legal tool that can help resolve the financial inequality that so often follows a divorce is alimony. A divorce lawyer from Bennett, Michael & Hornsby discusses when and why you might be entitled to alimony in Tennessee.
The Financial Impact of Divorce
The reality is that divorce often has a dramatic impact on the finances of everyone involved and frequently results in noticeable financial inequality post-divorce. Consider the following facts and figures regarding the disparate impact divorce has:
- Families with children that were not poor before the divorce see their income drop as much as 50 percent.
- Almost 50 percent of the parents with children that are going through a divorce move into poverty after the divorce.
- 27% of recently divorced women had less than $25,000 in annual household income compared with 17% of recently divorced men.
- 60% of people under poverty guidelines are divorced women and children.
What Is Alimony?
Most people are familiar with the concept of child support which is a parent’s legal obligation to continue financially supporting a minor child after a divorce. Alimony, also referred to as spousal support or spousal maintenance, is a spouse’s legal obligation to support the other spouse either while a divorce is pending or after the divorce is complete. Unlike child support, however, which every child is entitled to, not all spouses are entitled to alimony. You must convince a court that you are entitled to alimony, unless your spouse agrees to provide alimony as part of a marital settlement agreement. Alimony can be ordered for a short period of time or for a longer period. As a general rule, the longer the duration of the marriage, the more likely a court is to order alimony and for a longer period of time. The State of Tennessee recognizes four types of alimony, including:
- Rehabilitative alimony – intended to help a spouse re-enter the workforce or return to school to receive more education that will ultimately result in the spouse increasing his/her earning potential/capacity to allow the spouse to enjoy a similar standard of living to that enjoyed during the course of the marriage.
- Transitional alimony – paid for a short period of time when one spouse doesn’t need rehabilitative alimony but needs assistance to adjust to new financial circumstances following the divorce.
- Alimony in solido (lump sum alimony) – used when there is in imbalance in the property/asset division in the divorce. For example, if the marital residence has $200,000 worth of equity, but neither spouse has the ability to “buy out” the other spouse’s $100,000 share of that equity during the divorce, the court might order the spouse who remains in the home to pay the other spouse alimony in solido on a monthly basis until the $100,000 is paid off.
- Alimony in future (periodic alimony) – alimony paid over a long period of time to a spouse who, even with additional education or training, will be unable to earn enough to maintain the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. This usually applies when the marriage was one of long duration where one spouse sta¬¬yed home and supported the other spouse’s career.
Contact a Tennessee Divorce Lawyer
If you are contemplating divorce in the State of Tennessee and you believe you might be entitled to alimony, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Tennessee divorce lawyer at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.