Maryville Alimony Lawyers
Helping East Tennessee clients protect their futures
Alimony is the legal term for financial support that is provided by one spouse to the other spouse during and/or after a divorce. Tennessee law makes no guarantees that either spouse will automatically receive alimony. Judges view each case individually, looking at a number of factors before making an award. The Maryville family law attorneys at Shepherd & Long, P.C. have four decades of collective experience presenting information to help the courts determine the temporary or permanent financial needs that justify alimony awards for my clients. Contact us today to learn more.
Why do courts award alimony to a spouse?
The Tennessee courts generally consider alimony as a means for one spouse to obtain financial assistance for a temporary period, for the purpose of maintaining a standard of living similar to that enjoyed during the marriage. An experienced divorce attorney provides judges with detailed information they can use to make decisions in a variety of circumstances, such as the following:
- To provide temporary support until a spouse finds employment
- When the best needs of the children require a spouse to stay home
- To accommodate educational needs that will make a spouse employable
- To help equalize the incomes of both spouses when one has a greater earnings capacity than the other
- To accommodate needs based on age or health conditions
How do Tennessee courts determine alimony?
Because spousal support (unlike child support) isn’t guaranteed, there’s only two ways to determine alimony: either you and your spouse decide how much alimony one of you will pay to the other, or the judge will decide. The judge has a lot of discretion when it comes to alimony because there are no set guidelines or calculators. Instead, there are a list of factors that could come into play when it comes to an alimony award, such as:
- How old you both are
- How long you’ve been married
- What your standard of living was like
- Whether either of you have serious health conditions
- How you each contributed to your marriage
- What kinds of assets you each have
- What kinds of debts you each have
- What your potential incomes are expected to be
- What the grounds were for your divorce
Certain grounds for divorce, like adultery, can affect the alimony award. Alimony could also be affected if you signed a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
What kinds of alimony can you get in Tennessee?
Tennessee recognizes four different categories of spousal support:
- Transitional alimony. This type of alimony helps one spouse transition from married life to single life. It’s a short-term solution; the end date will be included in your divorce decree.
- Rehabilitative alimony. This type of alimony helps the spouse who is at a financial disadvantage by supporting efforts like education or training; this way, the spouse can become self-sufficient. It’s also a short-term solution.
- Alimony in solido. This is also called “lump sum” alimony because a lot of folks just pay it all at once. It’s a set amount of money, and it can be paid in cash or in property. You can also set up payments in installments, if both of you agree to that.
- Alimony in futuro. When people think of alimony, this is usually what they think of: spousal support that lasts until one spouse dies or gets remarried. It’s not supposed to be permanent, but sometimes it turns out that way.
Lots of folks come to an agreement about alimony on their own, with the help of a mediator, but sometimes the judge will intervene if he or she thinks the agreement is blatantly unfair.
What’s the “best” kind of alimony?
It depends on who you are: if you’re paying it, you’d probably prefer rehabilitative alimony. If you’re getting it, you’d probably prefer alimony in futuro.
All jokes aside, the “best” alimony is the kind of alimony that allows you to start your new life with your best foot forward.
Can I modify an alimony award after my divorce?
Sometimes, but it’s complicated. Generally, you’d need to show a significant change in circumstances to modify the order, or prove an act of fraud. Furthermore, not all alimony awards are subject to modification. Alimony in futuro may be, and sometimes you can modify rehabilitative alimony, but you can’t modify lump sum alimony; after all, you most likely already paid it. And you can only modify transitional alimony under very specific circumstances. We can explain more during a consultation.
Why should I hire a Maryville alimony attorney?
Experienced alimony attorneys can often develop effective cases for spousal support as a means of equalizing a divorce settlement for their clients. Some examples include cases where one spouse supported the education of the other during the marriage or where one spouse emerges from divorce with significantly greater assets or control of a family business. Your alimony attorneys must become familiar with the details of your prior married life to help ensure you get the settlement you need to start a new life without undue financial concerns.
Contact an experienced alimony attorney in Maryville
Not all individuals require alimony, and the Tennessee courts consider each case individually. They may award this financial support to either spouse — or to neither spouse. If you require temporary assistance to gain your financial footing, or if circumstances prevent you from obtaining the employment needed to support a reasonable standard of living, you need experienced alimony lawyers to work with you to develop an effective case. To schedule a consultation, call Shepherd & Long, P.C. at 865-982-8060 or fill out the contact form.