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How is Alimony Determined in Tennessee?

Couple upset with each other

No one ever goes into a marriage with the intent of eventually divorcing. However, we know that many marriages fall apart as time goes on. In some divorce cases, alimony is awarded. There are several factors a judge will consider before determining if a spouse should receive alimony.

What is Alimony?

In Tennessee, alimony is defined as temporary payments made from one spouse to the other after divorce. It is sometimes referred to as spousal support. The goal of alimony is to help the lower-earning spouse maintain financial stability as they adjust from two incomes to one. This legal obligation is determined by the judge and can be changed through petitioning to the court. Alimony can be awarded temporarily during a separation but it can also be made permanent as part of a divorce decree.

What Determines Alimony?

Unlike other states, in Tennessee, there is no minimum length of time the couple needs to have been married before alimony is awarded. Additionally, the amount of money each person makes will determine if alimony is necessary. If individually the couple is making similar salaries, then most likely alimony won’t be awarded.

Types of Alimony in Tennessee

There are four different types of alimony in Tennessee.

Alimony in Futuro

This is also known as periodic alimony. This means that the alimony is long-term or even permanent. An example of this would be if a spouse had to quit their job to take care of the family and is now unable to return to work due to physical or mental restrictions.

Transitional Alimony

This is when the spouse needs financial support for a short time period while adjusting to a new lifestyle after divorce. Having this type of alimony can give the spouse time to find a new place to live and time to find a job if they weren’t working before. This type of alimony is not considered permanent.

Rehabilitative Alimony

This allows the spouse the opportunity to go back to school, get job training, or learn other skills that will help them find employment or financial independence. The goal with this alimony is to temporarily support the spouse so that they can be on their own financially in the long run.

Alimony in Solido

This is also known as lump-sum alimony and is considered long-term. The judge will determine how much alimony the spouse should receive and the paying spouse will usually make payments each month over a period of time. This is usually awarded if the receiving spouse needs help paying legal fees and other post-divorce needs.

How Long Does Alimony Last?

As listed above, the type of alimony will play a part in determining how long the financial support will last. Additionally, while it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been married to determine if alimony is awarded, the longevity of the marriage could make a difference in how long alimony will last.

For example, for a couple who may have only been married for one year, both spouses may not be entirely financially invested with one another compared to a couple married for 20 years. Spouses who have been married for a short period of time may still have independent bank accounts and be able to live separately more easily than couples who have been married for a long time and share a bank account.

In addition to the set end date given by the judge, there are other ways alimony can be dissolved:

  • If the supported spouse remarries;
  • If either spouse dies;
  • A significant event occurs (such as the supporting spouse getting a job that would provide them enough support on their own or the paying spouse retires).

Contact a Knox County Alimony Attorney Today

If you are considering divorce and want to know if you would receive alimony or need to pay alimony, contact the lawyers at Peterson White, LLP. Our lawyers will help with negotiations and advocate for the best possible outcome. Reach out to our team at (855) 919-4124.