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Spousal Support

In a divorce, one spouse may request that the other pay money for support. If one spouse makes significantly more money than the other, or if one has given up career opportunities for the marriage, or fallen ill or experienced a disability, the economically disadvantaged spouse may need support to keep a reasonable standard of living.

Whether the court will order alimony/spousal support depends upon a variety of factors, including length of the relationship, contributions to the relationship (i.e. raising children, maintaining the household, economic contributions), relative fault (i.e. infidelity) and agreements you made with your spouse. The court also considers age, education, skills, and other issues that affect your and your spouse’s chances of finding or maintaining employment. The most important factor the court will take into consideration is the economically advantaged spouse’s ability to pay and the requesting party’s financial need.

In Tennessee, there are four different types of alimony that may be awarded by the court at the resolution of your case. Depending on the circumstances of your family and your divorce, the court may award one or a combination of more than one type of alimony.

Transitional alimony is short term alimony that is given to allow a spouse to make the economic transition from married to single life. This may involve funds that will allow the economically disadvantaged spouse to pay for housing and expenses for a period of time.

Rehabilitative alimony is short term alimony that is given to allow a spouse to improve his or her employment opportunities and/or earning potential, i.e., to let the spouse go back to school or get additional job training.

Alimony in solido, or lump sum alimony, is granted when it is appropriate for one spouse to pay out a lump sum amount to the other spouse or when the family’s finances allow for such an arrangement.

Alimony in futuro, or permanent alimony (until death of the payor or remarriage of the recipient) is sometimes granted in cases involving long term marriages or special cases involving significant disability.

If the economically disadvantaged spouse needs financial assistance during the pendency of the divorce proceeding, under limited circumstances the court will award alimony pendente lite, in which the payor may be ordered to contribute to the payment of monthly expenses of the disadvantaged spouse during the divorce proceeding. The court will again look primarily to the ability to pay of one party and the financial need of the requesting party.

We invite you to work with our Knoxville divorce lawyers to determine which type(s) of alimony may be appropriate in your case.

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