After a divorce, a Tennessee court may require one former spouse to make ongoing payments to the other – these payments are referred to as “alimony”. They are separate from any child support payments you need to make based on the nature of child custody.
How Do You Qualify for Alimony?
Qualifying for alimony depends on your financial situation and your ability to improve your financial situation. A Tennessee court may ask the following questions when deciding if you qualify for alimony:
- What are is your current income and what are your current expenses?
- What do your future earning capabilities look like?
- What is the debt and income of your former spouse?
You should discuss these questions, and many more, with your Tennessee alimony lawyer during the alimony petition process.
How Much Alimony Can You Receive?
There is no statutory limitation on the amount of alimony that you may be entitled to. However, a Tennessee court will consider the following when making determinations about how much alimony a party may receive:
- The earning capacity, obligations, needs, and financial resources of each party;
- The education and training of each party (including the ability and opportunity of each party to secure such education and training);
- The length of the marriage;
- The age and mental and physical condition of each party;
- The financial and time commitments of each party towards any minor children;
- The assets of each party (and how marital property was split during the divorce); and
- The standard of living of the parties during the marriage.
A court will also consider the fault of the parties (who is to blame) for the divorce. The court may choose to consider things like infidelity or abandonment when making this determination.
How Long Does Alimony Last?
Alimony payment generally do last for a duration longer than that of the marriage. Here again the courts have the authority to make judgments on how long they believe that an alimony payment should last. A court has much discretion when making alimony determinations, so long as, the court does not abuse its discretion or require alimony payments that are unreasonably burdensome.
How Do You Petition for Alimony?
The petition process for alimony usually begins during the divorce process. Under Tennessee law a party to a divorce might be required to make alimony payments even during the divorce process. To make a proper alimony petition, you will need records of at least the following:
- Your income and expenses,
- Your former spouse’s income and expenses,
- Outstanding debts or both parties (jointly and separately), and
- Expenses related to the support of any minor children.
The alimony petition will ask the court for an amount and duration of alimony that you and your lawyer believes is fair. Your former spouse and their lawyer will then counter or deny the petition. Both parties will then be asked to discuss the matter with the court and a judgment will be rendered.
Where Can You Find the Right Lawyer?
If you are having trouble with alimony, then make sure you get the help you need. You should always discuss important divorce matters, including alimony, with an experienced and dedicated Tennessee family lawyer.