There is little doubt that divorce is a costly process, both in terms of your emotions and your finances. As such, the financial impact of life after divorce is something that often goes into the decision to end a marriage. If you have been the primary breadwinner throughout your marriage, you may be concerned that you will be required to pay alimony to your spouse. To shed some light on the subject, a Murfreesboro divorce attorney at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby discusses the subject of alimony in a Tennessee divorce.
Divorce Basics – Asset Division and Support
When a married couple decides to legally end that marriage, the couple’s marital assets and debts must be divided during the course of the subsequent divorce proceedings. The court is not required to divide those assets equally; however, the court will typically begin with a presumption that the assets will be split 50-50 and adjust up or down if circumstances warrant. Nevertheless, it is far from uncommon for divorce to dramatically change the financial situation for both parties. One party often ends up in a noticeably better financial position while the other spouse sees a significant decline in his/her financial position. The spouse facing a bleak financial future post-divorce may request the court to grant alimony. Also referred to as spousal support or spousal maintenance, alimony is a legal obligation one spouse has to continue financially supporting the other spouse after the marriage ends. If your spouse has already indicated that he/she wants alimony, or you foresee the possibility that alimony will be an issue in your divorce, it helps to know how Tennessee law views the subject.
Alimony in Tennessee
If you were the primary breadwinner in your marriage, you could be ordered to pay alimony during and/or after your divorce. In a nutshell, Tennessee law allows alimony to be awarded if one spouse needs it and the other spouse can afford to pay it. Beyond that, the court will take a variety of factors into consider when deciding if alimony is warranted and, if so, which type of alimony to award. If you are ordered to pay alimony in Tennessee it will one of the following types:
- Rehabilitative alimony. This type of alimony is 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. This type of alimony is only paid for a short period of time when one spouse does not need rehabilitative alimony but needs assistance to adjust to new financial circumstances following the divorce.
- Alimony in solido (lump sum alimony). This type of alimony is used when there is in imbalance in the property/asset division in the divorce. Most commonly, alimony in solido is used when there is a high value assets, such as the marital home, that is to be divided among the parties; however, neither party wants the home sold and neither party can buy the other party out. To address the issue the court could order the spouse who remains in the home to pay the other spouse alimony in solido on a monthly basis until the other spouse is paid in full for his/her share of the equity in the home.
- Alimony in future (periodic alimony). For marriages of long duration where one spouse did not work outside the home, alimony in future may be ordered. This type of alimony is intended to be 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.
Contact a Murfreesboro Divorce Attorney
If you have additional questions about alimony in Tennessee, it is important that you consult with an experienced Murfreesboro divorce lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the divorce process. Contact the team at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby as soon as possible by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.