Alimony is a term that people often throw around, but it’s little understood. Many people have questions about when alimony can be ordered and who should get it after a divorce.
If alimony is granted, how much should it be? For how long should it be paid? Does alimony affect child support?
These are all very good questions. If you are thinking about getting a divorce and want to understand more about Tennessee alimony laws, you need to immediately contact a knowledgeable and skilled Tennessee divorce attorney.
This article will discuss who is entitled to get Tennessee alimony and how it is calculated by the courts.
What Is Alimony?
Alimony is monetary support paid to an ex-spouse after a divorce. You may have heard it called spousal support or spousal maintenance. Tennessee refers to it as alimony.
Divorcing spouses can voluntarily agree to alimony payments. They can enter an agreement approved by a judge that outlines the amount of alimony and how long it will be paid. But if there is no agreement between the parties, then a judge will have to make the factual finding of whether alimony is warranted.
How much alimony is paid will usually depend on the length of the marriage. For example, imagine a couple that has been married for 25 years. The wife was a stay-at-home parent and didn’t work throughout the marriage. The court will need to determine an amount of alimony for the long-term support of the wife.
As another example, imagine a similar marriage that lasted about ten years or less. The court may determine that alimony will be paid in this case for only a limited period of time. The idea is that the spouse receiving the alimony should be able to get on their feet and support themselves by the time the alimony period ends.
When Can Alimony Be Paid?
Because it is designed for the support of a spouse, alimony can be temporarily ordered to be paid during the divorce proceedings. In most of these cases, the couple now lives separately and one spouse needs support. Alimony paid during the pending divorce is called “alimony pendente lite.”
The alimony can then be continued after the divorce is final. The amount of alimony paid per month can be changed, and the court may establish a time frame for payments.
Before alimony is ordered to be paid, either during the divorce proceedings or after, the court has to determine whether the receiving spouse needs alimony. The courts also have to determine whether the other spouse can afford to pay alimony. This is why the court will examine all of the information and make a factual finding on the issue.
How Many Years Can Someone Receive Alimony?
How long someone can get alimony depends on the facts of the marriage and the economic status of each spouse. The court will consider the following factors when addressing the issue of alimony:
- Each party’s current earnings and potential future earning capacity
- Each party’s financial obligations and needs
- The education and training of each party
- Whether either spouse has special health needs or any disabilities
- The length of the marriage
- Whether either party’s ability to work will be affected by caring for minor children
- Whether either party can rely on any separate assets
- How much marital property each party will receive after the divorce
- The tangible and intangible contributions each party made to the marriage
With fault-based divorces, the court may also take into consideration whether one party is at fault for the end of the marriage.
The bottom line is that the judge will likely consider everything about the couple and make a determination on how each will fare on their own.
How Does Child Support Affect Alimony?
The question is often raised as to whether child support can affect the amount of alimony a spouse receives. The answer is that yes, it can.
Child support, alimony, and other financial considerations all affect the final outcome of a divorce. Since child support is considered income, it is one of the many factors a judge will consider before awarding alimony.
Tennessee Divorce Attorney Will Fight for Your Rights
You need a Tennessee attorney who knows the state’s alimony laws and will fight hard for their client’s rights. Not just any lawyer can win alimony. But a lawyer who is knowledgeable and skilled in Tennessee divorce law will be able to answer your questions honestly and develop a plan to get the best result in your divorce. Contact Kirk Catron, Attorney at Law today to schedule an initial consultation.