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Tennessee Alimony Law

In almost every divorce, a fundamental issue is going to be support.  Whether it is child support or spousal support (also known as “alimony”), this is one of the most often contested parts of any divorce. 

Alimony, or spousal support, is allowed in Tennessee but is not always awarded.  As a general guide, courts look at whether one spouse has a need for support and whether the other spouse has an ability to pay support.  Both of these questions must be answered in the affirmative, in order for a court to award alimony.  Generally, alimony is awarded when one spouse would struggle to make ends meet and other has the ability to pay. Courts have wide latitude to determine whether it applies, how much and for how long.  As an additional guiding principle in this area, courts are going to try to permit both parties to have the same standard of living post-divorce which was enjoyed during the marriage.

The award or receipt of alimony is not automatic.  Even in cases where an award of alimony is near certain, the amount and duration of the alimony payments are important considerations.  These are also impacted by the type of alimony that is awarded.  The interrelation of these issues and the financial factors which go into the spousal support analysis all have to be weighed in determining the amount, type and duration of any support award.

Types of Alimony in Tennessee

Marital assets are usually split equitably in divorce. Equitable is not always equal.  Therefore, the purpose of alimony is to attempt to equalize the income of each party after the divorce, so that the standard of living after a longer term marriage is not lopsided. There are four types of alimony:

Alimony can be negotiated as part of the divorce agreement or determined by a court.  However, whether it is through negotiation or judicial decree, all of the facts must be gathered, analyzed and presented in order to effectively make or defend against a claim for alimony.  Ms. Becker and her team work to ensure that your best interests are protected.  If you will be receiving alimony, will the amount and duration meet your needs? If you will be paying, do you have the means to provide support?

The Becker Law Firm can also represent you in alimony modification proceedings — increasing alimony based on an ex-spouse's higher earnings, or a payer seeking to reduce or end alimony because the recipient is remarried or self-sufficient, or because there is a change in the payer’s income or retirement.

Contact our Memphis office to arrange an initial consultation.