Navigating spousal support in Tennessee

On Behalf of | May 1, 2020 | Family Law

It’s no doubt your life will change after legally separating from your spouse. Part of that change could include breaking from the luxury of a joint bank accounts or other assets.

The legal ins and outs of divorce can be overwhelming. You might have an idea of how you and your soon-to-be ex will divide child support, but have yet to openly discussed spousal support, also known as alimony. Understanding the different types of spousal support in Tennessee can help ease the process.

Types of alimony

In the state of Tennessee there are four different kinds of alimony available, including:

  • Transitional alimony: This is temporary support that is meant to help ease the transition to a new financial reality after divorce. Maybe you and your former spouse earned nearly the same amount of income, but you used to commute to work together in one car. In this scenario, you could receive transitional alimony to help you adjust to new car payments.
  • Rehabilitative alimony: This type of support helps a spouse make up for lost time. If you took care of the home or your children while your spouse brought in income, then you will face challenges that come along with re-entering the workforce. This can include going into a changing job market that requires stricter qualifications for both entry level and senior level positions or even age discrimination. As such, you could receive rehabilitative alimony to help you continue the same lifestyle until you can fully support yourself.
  • Periodic alimony: Akin to rehabilitative alimony, periodic alimony helps make up for a difference in earning potential between ex-spouses. Sometimes one spouse can’t take steps to progress their career due to their advanced age or a disability. In these types of cases, a judge can order the other spouse make monthly payments help their ex maintain pre-divorce living standards. It’s also worth noting that a judge can award periodic alimony in addition to rehabilitative alimony.
  • Lump sum alimony: This last type is also a means of long-term support, like periodic alimony. The judge determines the total alimony amount within the settlement, and then one spouse typically pays the other in installments of the total sum.

After reviewing factors — including your marriage length, the health of each spouse and standard of living through the marriage — a judge will decide if alimony fits into your divorce. But, even if you don’t have a say on the type of alimony you could receive or pay, it doesn’t hurt to have a mediated conversation with a legal professional to consider various outcomes.


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