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3 Myths About Alimony

The divorce process is fraught with misunderstandings, over everything from the methods of resolving disputes to determining how property will be divided. One of the biggest sources of misunderstandings is alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance.

Here are three common alimony myths and the reality behind them:

1. Alimony Is Always Ordered

Many believe that alimony will be a part of the divorce process. The reality is that alimony is never guaranteed. In fact, alimony reform is occurring in many states to make alimony less common nationwide. In Tennessee, alimony payments will depend on a variety of factors. First and foremost among these factors are one spouse's need for financial support and the other spouse's ability to pay. 

2. Alimony Is Always Paid By The Man To The Woman

There is nothing in the current law that says the husband has to pay the wife. Traditionally, that has been the case, but it is definitely possible for the wife to end up making alimony payments. For example, if the man is the one in need of financial support and the woman has the ability to pay, spousal support payments may be ordered. There is no gender bias in the laws themselves.

3. Alimony Is Permanent

People use the term alimony as if it is just one thing. However, in Tennessee there are four types of alimony: rehabilitative, transitional, periodic and lump-sum. Each type works a different way, and the duration can vary dramatically depending on the type and circumstances. While alimony can be ordered to last for the payee's lifetime if circumstances call for it, rarely is alimony truly permanent. It may be changed or cut off if, for example, the payee remarries.

Alimony Is Not Determined In A Vacuum

Ultimately, alimony is just one piece of the puzzle that is a divorce. It is addressed alongside other issues, like property division. All must be handled with care and attention to the particulars of the situation.

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Phone: 901-443-4599
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