In Tennessee, divorcing spouses must make a full disclosure of their assets and income. The court considers these disclosures when it determines if alimony payments should be ordered. In or near Kingston, let a guide you through the divorce process.
For how long are alimony payments made after a divorce in Tennessee? Can you avoid making alimony payments? What if you need to change the monthly alimony amount that you pay or receive? What are your options if you cannot make the alimony payments the court has ordered?
If you will keep reading this brief discussion of alimony, the law in Tennessee, and your rights, you will learn the answers to these questions, but if you are personally involved in an alimony dispute, you must also be advised and represented by a .
Are There Different Types of Alimony in Tennessee?
Generally speaking, the law in Tennessee requires alimony payments when one spouse has the ability to make alimony payments and the other spouse needs financial support. If a spouse needs no support or if the other spouse cannot pay alimony, then alimony may not be ordered.
The type of alimony payments that are ordered by a court determine whether the payment amount may be modified in the future and under what circumstances the obligation to pay alimony terminates. Tennessee lawmakers have established these different types of alimony:
- temporary alimony
- alimony in futuro (or “permanent” alimony)
- rehabilitative alimony
- transitional alimony
- alimony in solido (or “lump-sum” alimony)
What is Temporary Alimony? What is Permanent Alimony?
Temporary alimony payments may be ordered during a divorce proceeding and end when the terms of the divorce are agreed to by the spouses or imposed by a court. Temporary alimony may include payment for legal costs and daily expenses until the court orders another type of alimony.
In futuro or permanent alimony may be ordered at the end of the divorce process and is paid regularly when a marriage was lengthy, the spouses are advanced in age, or if the spouse who is receiving the alimony payments has a chronic illness, a disability, or other medical issues.
The phrase “permanent alimony” does not necessarily indicate that a spouse will pay or receive alimony for life. Permanent alimony may be terminated if the spouse receiving the payments remarries or moves into a cohabitation arrangement. Alimony payments “for life” are in fact rare.
What is Rehabilitative Alimony, Transitional Alimony, and Alimony in Solido?
When a spouse enrolls in an educational or vocational program to obtain employment skills, that spouse may be temporarily entitled to rehabilitative alimony until he or she completes or graduates from the educational or vocational program or finds employment.
Transitional alimony may be awarded to spouses who are financially disadvantaged by the divorce process. Transitional alimony helps a divorcing spouse bridge the gap until the divorce process concludes and the spouse can find new employment.
Alimony in solido (or “lump-sum” alimony) is an arrangement for a spouse to pay a complete alimony amount at one time. If a spouse does not want any of the property from the marriage, a judge may order a one-time, lump-sum alimony payment to that spouse in lieu of property.
What Does a Judge Consider Before Issuing an Alimony Order?
A Tennessee judge must have the answers to a number of questions when determining whether to order alimony payments. These questions may include but are not necessarily limited to the following:
- For how long did the marriage endure?
- What are the spouses’ incomes and assets?
- What are their ages and health conditions?
- What is the current and projected future income of each spouse?
- Does either spouse expect to receive retirement benefits in the future?
- Can the spouse seeking the alimony payments become self-supportive?
- Did one spouse give up a career for the marriage?
- Are minor children still residing with either spouse?
- Are there adult or disabled children who need special care?
- Did either spouse lose health insurance coverage as a result of the divorce?
- Are there any other factors the court needs to consider?
For How Long Will You Pay or Receive Alimony?
Tennessee law does not establish maximum or minimum alimony payment periods. Judges make alimony decisions on a case-by-case basis. But even after a short marriage, if a spouse is disabled or impaired by a long-term medical condition, alimony could conceivably be paid for life.
Spouses who can earn income that allows a lifestyle similar to the lifestyle enjoyed during the marriage may not be deemed “dependent” for purposes of alimony.
If the divorcing spouses disagree about whether a spouse should be deemed dependent, either spouse may ask a vocational expert to testify or to provide a statement regarding the spouse’s earning capacity after that spouse returns to work.
When May an Alimony Order Be Modified?
Alimony orders are common after divorces in Tennessee. Alimony arrangements usually work fine immediately after a divorce, but as the months and years pass, circumstances often change.
A change in either ex-spouse’s financial circumstances or employment may mean that alimony payments may need adjustment or modification. Such modifications must be approved by the court. A Kingston alimony attorney will handle an alimony modification request on your behalf.
To modify an alimony order, an ex-spouse’s attorney must file a petition with the court that explains why the amount of the alimony payments should be modified. Alimony modifications are made only when a significant change takes place in a spouse’s life, such as:
- an employment change, unemployment, or a relocation
- a long-term and/or serious incapacity, disability, injury, or illness
- a new marriage or new child with a different partner or spouse
- a prison or jail sentence after a criminal conviction
What Else Should Divorcing Spouses Know About Alimony?
If you have any questions or concerns about alimony or any other aspect of your divorce, or if you need to have an alimony order modified after your divorce, schedule a consultation at once with a Kingston alimony lawyer.
The decisions that a Tennessee court makes regarding alimony payments – along with that court’s decisions about the division of marital property and assets – will have a considerable impact on your future.
If alimony becomes a disputed issue in your own divorce, you must be advised and represented by a Kingston divorce attorney. If you are considering divorce, or if you are anticipating that your spouse will divorce you, make the call to a divorce attorney at once.