Alimony is available in Tennessee in appropriate divorce and legal separation cases. A number of factors go into determining an award of alimony. The most important factor is the need of the spouse seeking alimony and the ability of the other spouse to pay the alimony.
There are four types of alimony in Tennessee. The first type is called alimony in futuro, also referred to as periodic alimony. The second type of alimony is referred to as rehabilitative alimony. The third type is transitional alimony. The final type is alimony in solido, also called lump sum alimony.
Alimony in futuro is reserved for those case where a spouse is disadvantaged in relation to the other spouse, and cannot be rehabilitated. It is generally payable in monthly installments for a specific amount. It can also be for a specific time period. Alimony in futuro will end when the spouse receiving the alimony dies or remarries. This type of alimony can be adjusted by the court if there has been a material change in circumstances. That adjustment can be an increase or a decrease.
Rehabilitative alimony is appropriate where one spouse is economically disadvantaged when compared to the other spouse, but can be rehabilitated. The statute providing for rehabilitative alimony was passed in 1984, and is intended to encourage the disadvantaged spouse to become self-sufficient. This type of alimony can be adjusted by the court if there has been a substantial and material change in circumstances. Rehabilitative alimony ends upon the death of either spouse.
Transitional alimony is often awarded in cases where neither alimony in futuro, nor rehabilitative alimony is appropriate, but the economically disadvantaged spouse needs help adjusting to the economic consequences of a divorce or legal separation. Transitional alimony is modifiable when a third person lives with the recipient and can be terminated upon the remarriage of the recipient. Otherwise, it is non-modifiable unless the parties’ agree or the court orders that it can be modified. Often, transitional alimony will be “stair stepped” down over several years. For example, the payments might be $1,000.00 for the first years, $750.00 the second year, $500.00 the third year and $250.00 for the fourth and final year.
As a general rule, alimony is deductible by the person paying the alimony and taxable to the person receiving the alimony. The only exception is alimony in solido, which is designed to pay out a property distribution.
There are a number of factors that go into an alimony decision. When facing a case involving alimony, make sure you seek the advice of an experienced Tennessee family law attorney.