During marriage, spouses often share a joint bank account from which household bills are paid. One spouse may be the sole or primary breadwinner, but finances are shared. When a couple separates or divorces, their finances typically become separate, too. One spouse may not be able to survive financially without some financial support from the other, at least for a period of time.

Alimony is the obligation of one spouse or ex-spouse to provide financial support for the other. Some states refer to alimony as “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance.” Whether you think you will need to receive alimony, or are worried about having to pay it, alimony can be a difficult issue to resolve in your divorce.

At Welty Law Office, we understand the financial pressures of divorce, including concerns about alimony. We advocate for an outcome that gives you the resources you need to build the future you want.

Understanding Tennessee Alimony Law

Unlike child support, which uses a guideline formula to determine the amount of support, alimony determinations in Tennessee are much more subjective. In general, Tennessee courts will award alimony if one spouse has a financial need and the other spouse has the ability to pay.

You and your spouse are free to agree on an amount for alimony payments and a duration for payments. However, if you cannot reach an agreement, a court will need to decide whether one of you will pay alimony to the other, how much, and for how long.

There are various different types of alimony awarded in a Tennessee divorce. They are:

  • Post-Separation Support: Also referred to as “temporary alimony” or “alimony pendente lite,” this is support paid from one spouse to the other while the divorce is pending.
  • Transitional Alimony: This type of alimony consists of payments for a limited time, designed to allow the dependent ex-spouse time to adjust to the financial reality of life after divorce. Unless the parties agree otherwise in their divorce settlement, it is not modifiable. Transitional alimony terminates on the death of the payor or recipient.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony: As the name suggests, this type of alimony provides a dependent ex-spouse with support while they gain the education, skills or training needed to become self supporting. Rehabilitative alimony is modifiable upon a showing of changed circumstances.
  • Periodic Alimony: Also called alimony in futuro, periodic alimony tends to be payments made over a long term, perhaps permanently. It is awarded when there is a significant difference between the spouses’ wealth and earning, and it is not possible for one spouse to become self-supporting. Periodic alimony is most common in long-term marriages or when spouses are older or disabled. Like rehabilitative alimony, periodic alimony can be modified if there is a change in circumstances.
  • Lump-sum Alimony: Also called alimony in solido, lump-sum alimony is usually used to equalize a property distribution when there is a large asset, such as the marital home, that cannot be divided. The spouse who receives the asset makes a lump sum payment or series of payments to the other spouse to “buy out” their share of the asset.

There are many factors that Tennessee courts consider when awarding alimony. These include the relative need of the spouse, the ability of the potential payor to pay alimony, the length of the marriage, the age and health of the parties, each party’s assets, the standard of living established during the marriage, the relative fault of each party in the breakdown of the marriage, and more.

Compassionate, Effective Advocates for Tennessee Alimony Matters

If you expect alimony to be an issue in your divorce, it is important to work with an attorney who understands Tennessee alimony law and how to advocate for your needs. At Welty Law Office, we are effective negotiators who have helped many clients reach divorce agreements regarding alimony in their divorce. However, we are also skilled litigators with experience advocating a client’s position at trial if an agreement cannot be reached.

Alimony determinations are highly fact-dependent, and our attorneys understand what evidence to put before the court to support our clients’ positions and achieve a favorable outcome. We are also experienced representing clients in court regarding modification or termination of Tennessee alimony. We invite you to contact Welty Law Office to schedule a consultation to discuss your needs.