When a marriage comes to an end, the practical and financial repercussions are often felt by everyone involved for years afterward. Typically, one spouse gains financially from a divorce while the other spouse struggles financially after a divorce. If you are the spouse who anticipates struggling as a result of a divorce, you may be just as concerned about the financial consequences of your divorce as you are about the emotional impact the divorce will have on you. There may be hope though, in the form of alimony. The question is, can a Murfreesboro divorce lawyer get you alimony in your divorce? Because every divorce is unique, the only way to know with any certainty if you are potentially eligible for alimony is to consult with an experienced Murfreesboro divorce lawyer; however, an introduction to the concept of alimony and the general laws regarding alimony in the State of Tennessee may be beneficial as well.
The Financial Impact of Divorce
You don’t have to have been through a divorce before to understand that divorce has a significant financial impact on the parties. The odds are very good that you know someone personally who has felt the financial impact of a divorce. It is often clear which spouse benefitted from the divorce and which spouse is now suffering as a result of the divorce. Statistics relating to the financial impact of divorce are also telling:
- Between 1992 and 1994, the median family income of divorced women who did not remarry or begin cohabiting was less than half that of their continuously-married counterparts.
- A 2001 study found that women who divorce suffer significant declines in family income, even if they do subsequently remarry or cohabit. This study found that single divorced women’s median family income dropped 45 percent, while the median income of remarried or cohabiting women was 14 percent lower than before their divorce.
- The parent with custody of the children experiences a 52 percent drop in his or her household income.
- In one study, approximately 44 percent of women fell into poverty after a divorce.
- Divorcing or separating mothers are 2.83 times more likely to be in poverty than those who remain married.
- Analysis of the 1987-1988 and 1992-1994 waves of the National Survey of Families and Households found that household income for a mother and children fell by $13,000 after divorce. Additionally, their standard of living was 20 percent lower and their odds of owning a home were 12 percentage points lower.
In the 21st century, stereotypical roles for the spouse’s in a marriage are slowly changing. More and more fathers are making the decision to be the stay at home parent while the mother takes on the role of family breadwinner. These changing roles may make it less clear which spouse is likely to suffer after a divorce; however, it does not change the likelihood that one spouse will suffer financially post-divorce.
Is Alimony an Option?
Alimony, also referred to as spousal support or spousal maintenance, is a legal obligation one spouse has to continue financially supporting the other spouse after the marriage ends. There are several different types of alimony; however, the concept behind all types of alimony remains the same. The purpose of alimony is to level the playing field for a spouse who stands to suffer financially because of a divorce. If the marriage is one of long duration (usually 20 years or longer), alimony is intended to provide ongoing support to the low income spouse. For a shorter marriage, the goal of alimony is usually to provide short-term financial assistance so the low-income spouse can get back on his/her feet, at which time the alimony will no longer be needed. Tennessee officially recognizes four types of alimony:
- Alimony in futuro – also referred to as periodic alimony, this type is awarded in long-term marriages as a way to allow the low-income spouse to continue to live the lifestyle he/she has grown accustomed to over the course of the marriage. This type of alimony may be paid indefinitely.
- Rehabilitative alimony – awarded when the low-income spouse has earning potential but needs a short-term boost. For example, rehabilitative alimony might be ordered for the time it takes the low-income spouse to complete his/her college degree.
- Transitional alimony – awarded when rehabilitative alimony is not needed but additional financial assistance is needed to help the spouse “transition” to life outside the marriage. For example, transitional alimony might be awarded to help with a down payment on a home or to purchase furniture or a vehicle.
- Alimony in solido – also referred to as lump sum alimony, this type may be ordered to correct an imbalance in the division of assets. For example, if one spouse is awarded the marital home, he/she may be ordered to pay alimony in solido to the other spouse to make up for the equity gained from the home.
Contact a Murfreesboro Divorce Lawyer
If you are contemplating divorce in the State of Tennessee and you believe you may be entitled to alimony, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Tennessee divorce lawyer. Contact the team at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.