Couples filing for divorce may consider spousal support or alimony. Each spouse may have specific concerns or desires regarding financial support. Working with an experienced Tennessee spousal support attorney can help you understand what amount you may be eligible for and how long you could expect an alimony plan to last. Your lawyer can also assist you in negotiating with your spouse and representing your interests before the judge.
Tennessee recognizes four types of alimony or spousal support:
- Transitional alimony (temporary)
- Rehabilitative alimony (short-term)
- Alimony in Futuro (long-term or permanent)
- Alimony in Solido (lump-sum payment)
Alimony is separate from child support and its goal is to help someone preserve the standard of living they benefited from during the marriage.
What Are the Factors that Determine Alimony in Tennessee?
To determine whether you are eligible for spousal support in Tennessee, and what type or amount is appropriate for your situation, a judge reviews several factors, including:
- The duration of your marriage
- Your finances
- Your potential to support yourself financially
There is no legal basis to determine spousal support in TN based on gender.
How Long Does Alimony Last?
While the actual duration of spousal support is determined by a family court judge based on your specific divorce circumstances, it is usually based on the duration of the marriage and other supporting factors. There is no set standard when it comes to payment amounts or the total number of payments.
Temporary or Transitional Alimony
Transitional alimony is monetary compensation that lasts during the divorce process. When working with your spouse and attorney to create this plan, you must establish an authorized contract to ensure alimony payments and for tax purposes. The court may include additional conditions to enforce transitional alimony in Tennessee.
How long does transitional alimony last?
It usually ends on the day the court finalizes your divorce, legally terminating your marriage. Temporary alimony helps a spouse adjust to the new financial situation as they transition from married to single. The supported spouse may not need rehabilitation alimony thanks to their employability or other resources, but they can use some financial support during the divorce process.
Short-Term or Rehabilitative Alimony
In most cases, a judge expects both spouses to become financially independent within a specific timeframe after a divorce. This is why courts can grant rehabilitative alimony to help one spouse while they are working towards financial independence.
Short-term alimony can help a spouse who is:
- Returning to school
- Completing training
- Applying to jobs
The supported spouse often has to show evidence that they are actively trying to find employment and reach financial self-sufficiency. There are no legal standards for how long this short-term alimony lasts and the court can adjust the timeframe at their discretion.
How long does rehabilitative alimony last?
If the supported spouse seeks to extend the rehabilitative alimony, they need to request a court review. If either spouse dies during the term set by the court, rehabilitative alimony ends.
Long-Term or Permanent Alimony
Long-term or permanent alimony, also known as Alimony in Futuro, involves periodic payments if a spouse is unable to earn sufficient income to support themselves.
A judge may grant long-term alimony due to a spouse’s:
- Health conditions
How long does permanent alimony last?
Like in the case of short-term alimony, the court determines how long alimony in Futuro lasts based on your unique situation. This type of alimony agreement ends if either spouse dies or if the supported spouse remarries.
Alimony in Solido, or lump-sum alimony, is rare in Tennessee. In this case, a judge agrees that one spouse receives a lump sum payment rather than short or long-term alimony. The judge establishes the total amount on the day the court finalizes the divorce. The paying spouse can provide the money at once or in multiple installments. If they opt for installments, the judge determines the schedule.
How long does lump-sum alimony last?
This type of alimony usually happens by spousal agreement rather than by a court order. Alimony in Solido ends after the supporting spouse makes the final payment. A court does not terminate lump-sum alimony if either spouse remarries or dies.
Whether you are considering what type of alimony to negotiate or are unsure how alimony may impact your taxes, hiring an experienced divorce attorney offers many benefits. Throughout the divorce process, they can advise you and improve negotiations or mediation to protect your rights.