Who Qualifies for Spousal Support?

Posted by Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC on June 22, 2022

Getting a divorce means adjusting to significant life changes. While a divorce might be the best option for your and your family, it may cause challenges. This is especially true in cases where one spouse is left at a financial disadvantage due to the separation. Many wonder if they’ll receive alimony in their divorce and may worry about how they’ll be able to support themselves if they don’t. While spousal support is common, it is not always awarded, and the amount and how long it will last may vary.

Who is able to receive spousal support in the event of a divorce varies from case to case. The court will assess each couple’s unique situation to determine if awarding spousal support is necessary.

When Is Alimony Awarded?

Alimony is awarded when one spouse has a financial need for it after separating from their spouse and the other spouse has the ability to pay it. Various factors can affect if someone receives alimony following their divorce and how much they’ll receive. In Tennessee, some of the factors the court will consider when determining alimony include the following: 

  • Each party’s earning capacity, obligations, needs, and financial resources.
  • Each party’s education and training and their ability to obtain education and training to improve their earning capacity. 
  • How long the marriage lasted.
  • Each party’s age, mental condition, and physical condition.
  • The standard of living during the marriage.
  • The separate assets of each party.
  • Each party’s contributions during the marriage, including homemaking contributions.

Types of Alimony Awarded in Tennessee

When determining if one spouse should be awarded alimony, the court also must determine the type of alimony they’ll receive. The types of alimony awarded in Tennessee include rehabilitative alimony, alimony in futuro, transitional alimony, and alimony in solido.

Rehabilitative Alimony – Rehabilitative alimony is intended to help the disadvantaged spouse increase their earning capacity following the divorce. This can help the disadvantaged spouse maintain a comparable standard of living they enjoyed during the marriage.

Alimony in Futuro – Also referred to as periodic alimony, alimony in futuro is long-term or permanent spousal support. This can be awarded in addition to rehabilitative alimony when only partial rehabilitation is possible or instead of rehabilitative alimony when rehabilitation is not possible. 

Transitional Alimony – Transitional alimony may be awarded when the disadvantaged spouse does not need rehabilitation but needs assistance adjusting to the divorce.

Alimony in Solido – Also called lump sum alimony, alimony in solido can provide long-term support to the disadvantaged spouse. The total amount that will be awarded is announced at the time of the decree and can be in installments over a definite period of time.

Can Alimony Be Changed or Stopped?

It is possible for the court to order that spousal support be modified or stopped in the event of a substantial and material change of circumstances. However, this also depends on the type of alimony awarded, the terms of the court’s decree, or the terms of the parties’ agreement. A few situations that may result in alimony being stopped or modified in some cases are if the disadvantaged party remarries, the paying party loses their job due to a health crisis, or one of the parties passes away.

Contact a Tennessee Spousal Support Attorney for Help

Understanding who will be awarded spousal support, how much, and what type can be difficult. Whether you’re concerned about not getting alimony or having to pay too much, you need a spousal support attorney who can help. At Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC, we have years of experience helping those going through divorces in Tennessee get help with spousal support.

Contact us today for help throughout your divorce.

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