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Guide to Alimony in Tennessee

Most of us think of divorce in terms of the emotional impact it has on everyone involved; however, divorce typically leaves a lasting financial impact as well. Moreover, that impact tends to be overwhelmingly negative for women with men holding 2.5 times the amount of wealth women do post-divorce, and women’s household income falling 41 percent, compared to an average 23 percent loss of income for their male counterparts. One legal tool that attempts to level the financial playing field after a divorce is alimony. To help you better understand, a Murfreesboro divorce attorney at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby offers a guide to alimony in Tennessee.

What Is Alimony?

Also referred to as spousal support or spousal maintenance, alimony is a legal obligation imposed on one spouse to continue financially supporting thedivorce attorney other spouse post-divorce. Tennessee law describes alimony by stating “where one spouse suffers economic detriment for the benefit of the marriage, the general assembly finds that the economically disadvantaged spouse’s standard of living after the divorce should be reasonably comparable to the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage or to the post-divorce standard of living expected to be available to the other spouse…” 

Alimony is not part of the division of assets and debts that occurs in every Tennessee divorce. On the contrary, alimony is intended as a tool that can be used to help balance the financial scales post-divorce when the division of assets is not sufficient to do so.

What Type of Alimony Is Available in Tennessee?

The law recognizes that each marriage is unique and that several factors must be considered when deciding how to approach the potential economic disparity that often occurs after a divorce. Ideally, alimony is only used to give one spouse temporary support that enables that party to reach a point of self-sufficiency, either through re-entering the workforce or furthering his/her education. The law also recognizes, however, that in some situations a spouse will require more financial assistance for a longer time. As such, there are four different types of alimony that could be awarded in a Tennessee divorce, including:

  • Rehabilitative alimony. This type of alimony is intended to be short-term (although it can last indefinitely) to allow the recipient to complete a course of education and/or re-enter the workforce. 
  • Transitional alimony. Also considered short-term, transitional alimony aims to help one spouse “transition” from the economic circumstances enjoyed during the marriage to those that exist post-divorce. 
  • Alimony in solido (lump sum alimony). Although alimony is not part of the division of assets during a divorce, lump sum alimony is used to balance an unavoidable inequality that occurs because of that division. For instance, if you and your spouse own a business valued at $1 million that you do not wish to sell as part of the divorce, a lump sum alimony payment of $500,000 (half the value of the business) might be ordered to compensate the spouse that gives up his/her interest in the business.
  • Alimony in futuro (periodic alimony). This type of alimony is usually only available when a marriage is one of long duration and one spouse did not work outside the home. Periodic alimony is awarded for the long term, often for life, when it is clear that there are no circumstances that will allow one spouse to earn enough to maintain the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.

How Much Alimony Will I Receive?

Unlike child support, there is no “formula” that determines whether alimony will be awarded and, if so, how much and which type is awarded. Instead, a court will consider numerous factors when making an alimony determination, such as:

  • The length of the marriage.
  • The earning capacity of each spouse.
  • The education and training of each spouse.
  • The division of assets.
  • Any physical or mental disabilities a spouse has.
  • The relative fault of each party (if applicable)

Contact a Murfreesboro Divorce Lawyer 

If you have questions or concerns about alimony in a Tennessee divorce, consult with an experienced Murfreesboro divorce lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.

Dinah Michael