Understanding Alimony in Tennessee

No matter the circumstances, all divorces are stressful. It’s common for both spouses to feel confused, emotionally distressed, and overwhelmed. Alimony is just one element of divorce that can cause anxiety and tension, especially when it isn’t properly understood.  The family lawyers at Mandy Hancock Law are here to help you navigate these difficult times, empowering you with the truth about alimony in Tennessee.

What is Alimony?

Put simply, alimony is one person’s payment to another. After a divorce, one spouse might be court-ordered to pay the other spouse, hence the term “spousal support.”  It’s important to note that alimony is not part of every divorce, and it is not automatic. 

If you plan on requesting alimony or you believe your spouse will make the request, you’ll want to educate yourself on how alimony works. Spousal support can be complex, but an experienced Tennessee alimony attorney can help you understand your rights so you aren’t caught off guard.

Common Misconceptions About Alimony

If you’re considering a divorce, it can help to get some common alimony misconceptions out of the way. First, alimony isn’t just for ex-wives. Alimony is available in same-sex marriages, and most states have updated their laws to make spousal support laws gender-neutral. This means that in some instances a wife may be ordered to pay alimony to an ex-husband. 

Secondly, alimony is not a way of equalizing things for both parties after a divorce. Spousal support exists to ensure that both spouses can meet their financial needs post-separation. Who is awarded, how much, and for how long, are all up to the discretion of a Tennessee judge.

Types of Alimony in Tennessee

Some couples come to an acceptable alimony agreement on their own. However, most couples require help from the courts. Once a judge is involved in your case, you won’t be able to request which type of alimony you want – it will be up to the courts which kind of spousal support best fits your situation. In Tennessee, there are four possible types of alimony, and your divorce attorney will help you understand each one.

Alimony in Solido

Solido loosely translates as “the whole,” referring to a one-time payment. Sometimes called “lump-sum alimony,” alimony in solido can balance out property division so things are more fair for both parties. For example, if your spouse receives a large asset like the family home, you might be awarded alimony in solido to balance the outcome.

Alimony in Futuro

Alimony in futuro is long-term alimony awarded to one spouse for the remainder of their life. Typically used in long marriages or exceptional circumstances, alimony in futuro isn’t very common. That’s because the courts would rather see each spouse empowered to financially support themselves, but sometimes this is not possible.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony is usually awarded to a spouse who is lower-earning or unemployed so they can receive training, education, or other experiences. The idea is to help spouses “rehabilitate” their earning capacity, increasing their earning potential. Again, the end goal is for both spouses to receive the support they need to eventually support themselves.

Transitional Alimony

Transitioning from married life to single life can be hard, especially for a financially dependent spouse. Transitional alimony helps one spouse in the short term as they cope with the financial transition. In this arrangement, the dependent spouse can get essential financial support to move into a new home or even change states. Transitional alimony is only available for marriages lasting less than five years.

Alimony: Deciding How Much

When deciding how much alimony will be awarded, many factors are taken into consideration. Each divorce is unique, so your judge will carefully weigh the circumstances and elements of your separation to decide if and how alimony will be dispensed.

Your judge will likely consider the following:

  • The “standard of living” upheld throughout your marriage and whether you and your spouse will be able to maintain a similar lifestyle post-separation
  • The income, assets, and debts of you and your spouse
  • Whether one spouse has a lower income capacity (this might occur because you or your spouse took time away from work to raise your family)
  • You and your spouse’s age and health 
  • The length of your marriage
  • The property division outlook
  • Any other factors the judge deems relevant

For most couples, maintaining the same lifestyle post-divorce isn’t that easy. If the couple shares children, each parent must now maintain a residence with rooms for the children. In many families, both parents work, so lifestyles will inevitably change post-divorce. Tennessee courts do their best to reach fair and favorable outcomes for everyone involved, but having a skilled divorce attorney by your side is essential.

Can Cheating Affect Alimony in Tennessee?

To make alimony even more complicated, it can be affected by behavioral factors like infidelity, also known as cheating or adultery. As you might expect, adultery must be proven for it to have any bearing on your divorce outcomes. But alimony isn’t intended to be punitive. Rather, instances of adultery become part of the long list of factors a judge considers when deciding to award alimony.

Two parents discussing alimony while their son sits between them in a law office in Tennessee

How Can a Tennessee Alimony Attorney Help?

Alimony can be complicated, especially in Tennessee. However, an experienced alimony lawyer can help you navigate complex situations with ease and confidence. The team at Mandy Hancock Law has years of experience advocating for people in the midst of stressful divorces, and we can help you feel more confident and empowered through the process.

Our alimony lawyers can support you with the following:

  • Negotiate spousal support
  • Work with prenuptial agreements
  • Help you get a fair settlement
  • Mediate between you and your partner
  • Limit unfair economic effects of a divorce
  • Offer expert advice and guidance every step of the way
  • Represent you in court

From start to finish, your Tennessee alimony lawyer will help you understand your rights, work toward positive outcomes, and help you transition out of a stressful season feeling more hopeful and supported.

Contact An Experienced Tennessee Divorce Lawyer Today

Divorce is a sensitive matter that can be incredibly trying. Luckily, a Tennessee divorce attorney can help you feel empowered, equipped, and prepared while protecting your interests and reaching a fair resolution.

Our family law attorneys can help with the following:

Contact Mandy Hancock Law today if you are considering divorce. Our family lawyers will work toward fair and favorable outcomes no matter how complex your case. Whether you need help with custody, alimony, spousal support, or mediation, our team of experts is here to advocate for you every step of the way.