Alimony: What You Need to Know Before a Divorce

If you are seeking a divorce, there may be a chance that alimony payments will be required. This law has been in effect for more than 100 years, and while in recent days it is ordered less frequently, it is still something you will need to take into consideration in your divorce agreement or when waiting for a judge’s ruling.

Individuals who earn substantially more income than their former spouses and who are coming out of long marriages are likely to be ordered by the court to make spousal support, or alimony, payments. Conversely, if both spouses made close to the same amount of money, or if the marriage was very short, alimony is not likely to be ordered.

The judge will consider each spouse’s earning capacity when making a determination about how to award alimony. This ensures that there is both an ability for one spouse to make payments and for another spouse to be able to closely maintain the standard of living they enjoyed while married as they work towards becoming self-sufficient.

When Do Alimony Payments Stop?

Alimony payments must be made each month until:

  • The future date set by the judge when payments may cease
  • The remarriage of your former spouse
  • A judge determines that your former spouse has not, after a period of time, made reasonable efforts to self-support
  • Your children no longer need a full-time parent
  • Any other significant life event occurs, in which the judge can decide to adjust the amount
  • Either former spouse dies

If you expect to receive alimony, it must be understood that you may be required to make some changes to your life and work. Vocational evaluators can help to evaluate your earning capacity and report on job prospects to the court. A part-time job may need to be traded in for one that is full-time and higher-paying.

Types of Alimony in Tennessee

In Tennessee, there are four types of Alimony:

  • Alimony in future, also called periodic alimony, orders payments made to the other spouse to maintain the standard of living they enjoyed during the marriage (common in lengthy marriages)
  • Rehabilitative alimony supports former spouses in order to increase their earning power so that they can become self-sufficient (for example, by allowing them to return to school)
  • Transitional alimony is awarded to the economically-disadvantaged spouse who may need assistance adjusting to the financial consequences of a divorce
  • Alimony in solido, also known as lump-sum alimony, allows for one spouse to make payments in order to compensate for and imbalance in the property division of the divorce.

Alimony payments must be made regularly if they are ordered by the court. In the case of one spouse refusing to make their payments, legal action can be taken to enforce it and may result in jail time in extreme cases.

Wondering if alimony will be given in your divorce in Tennessee? Call Martin Sir & Associates today to set up a free case consultation.

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