If you have made the difficult decision to end your marriage, the next step is to initiate the legal process of divorce. Divorce can leave everyone involved with emotional scars that often take years to heal. Most divorces also have a strong financial impact on the parties. Often, one spouse ends up much better off financially after the divorce while the other spouse ends up struggling financially post-divorce. If you anticipate that you will suffer financially as a result of your divorce you may wish to ask for alimony from your soon-to-be ex-spouse. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of alimony, it is in your best interest to consult one on one with an experienced Tennessee divorce attorney. In the meantime, however, a La Vergne divorce lawyer explains some alimony basics to help you better understand what you might be entitled to in your divorce.
The Divorce Process
If you have never been through a divorce before, it helps to learn some divorce basics first. If you choose to begin the divorce process by filing a “Request for Divorce (Complaint),” you will be known as the “Petitioner” and your spouse the “Respondent.” In the Complaint, you will include general information about the parties and the marriage as well as assert the grounds for your divorce. Like most states, the State of Tennessee allows you to file for divorce using the no-fault “irreconcilable differences” or you may choose a fault grounds from any of the following options:z
- willful or malicious desertion for one whole year.
- a felony conviction, with a sentence to confinement in the penitentiary.
- attempted murder of the other spouse.
- alcohol or drug abuse
- cruel and inhuman treatment
Keep in mind that if you file using one of the above fault grounds you must ultimately prove that alleged fault during the subsequent divorce proceedings.
Along with asserting the grounds for your divorce in the Complaint you may also request that the court award you support. If you have a minor child of the marriage you may ask for child support. With or without a child you may also request the court order the Respondent to pay you spousal support, also referred to as “alimony.”
Alimony in the State of Tennessee
There are no hard and fast rules for determining who will receive alimony nor the amount or duration of alimony if it is awarded. A number of factors will be considered when deciding these issues, including the type of alimony requested. 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 thee marriage was one of long duration where one spouse stayed home and supported the other spouse’s career.
These types of alimony are not mutually exclusive. A court may order more than one type of alimony in a divorce. Because of the highly individual nature of alimony, it is best to consult with an experienced Tennessee divorce lawyer if you wish to gain some idea what type of alimony you might be entitled to and an estimate of the amount and duration of your alimony award.
Contact a La Vergne Divorce Lawyer
If you believe divorce is in your future and you wish to request almony, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced La Vergne 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.
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