How Is Alimony Determined During A Tennessee Divorce?

One question many people have when going through divorce is, "Will alimony be ordered in my divorce?" Well, the short answer is that it depends.

For instance, in most cases, alimony payments ― also known as spousal support or maintenance ― are largely determined based upon 1) the need of the recipient spouse and 2) whether the other spouse has the ability to pay. While these are certainly the two most important considerations, it is important to be aware that a court may review several other factors as well when determining the appropriate amount, duration and type of alimony to award, if it awards alimony at all. These factors include:

  • The number of years the marriage lasted
  • The standard of living the spouses enjoyed during the marriage
  • The age as well as the mental and physical conditions of each spouse, including any physical disabilities
  • The earning capacity and financial resources of each spouse, including any current or future income from retirement accounts and pensions
  • The separate assets or property of each spouse, which are not subject to property division during divorce
  • The education and skill of each spouse, and whether further education is necessary to achieve a reasonable earning capacity
  • The contributions of each spouse to the marriage, both in terms of income/money and as a homemaker
  • The degree to which it would not be feasible for a spouse to seek employment because he or she is the custodian of the couple's children
  • The fault of either spouse for the divorce, but only if the court considers it appropriate
  • Any relevant provisions of a prenuptial agreement, if one was executed

If you have questions about alimony and need to speak to an experienced family law attorney, contact the Thomas Family Law Firm, PLC. We offer personalized, dedicated legal guidance during your time of need. While we are located in Germantown, just outside of Memphis, we have lawyers licensed in both Tennessee and Mississippi. Call us at 901-443-4599 for help today, or email us online.

Different Types Of Alimony

There are many types of alimony that a court may award during divorce proceedings, each with their own distinct features, durations and end dates.

  • Rehabilitative alimony: Payments intended to help a disadvantaged spouse enjoy a similar standard of living while he or she increases his or her earning capacity, which is often done by seeking additional education. These payments often last for a set duration of time, and will typically end when the court considers the recipient spouse "rehabilitated" or when either spouse dies.
  • Transitional alimony: Payments that last for a predetermined amount of time and are intended to help a disadvantaged spouse adjust to his or her new economic circumstances.
  • Periodic alimony (alimony in futuro): Long-term payments intended to help a disadvantaged spouse who is unable to achieve an earning capacity that will allow him or her to maintain a similar standard of living. While these payments continue for a long time, they will terminate if the recipient spouse dies or gets remarried.
  • Lump-sum alimony (alimony in solido): A total lump-sum amount calculated at the time of divorce and paid in installments over a long period of time. This type of alimony cannot be modified and even the death or remarriage of the recipient spouse does not terminate the payments.

Keep in mind, however, the information contained above pertains only to alimony laws in Tennessee. If you have questions about alimony in Mississippi, contact us today.