The two most important questions in any divorce proceeding where spousal support is being requested is,….how much will I get, OR, how much will I have to pay? Depending on which side of that question you are on, the answer is not so simple. The Courts look at several factors in determining whether or not the award of alimony or spousal support is appropriate. These factors include:
- The relative earning capacity, obligations, needs, and financial resources of each party, including income from pension, profit sharing or retirement plans and all other sources;
- The relative education and training of each party, the ability and opportunity of each party to secure such education and training, and the necessity of a party to secure further education and training to improve such party’s earning capacity to a reasonable level;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The age and mental condition of each party;
- The physical condition of each party, including, but not limited to, physical disability or incapacity due to a chronic debilitating disease;
- The extent to which it would be undesirable for a party to seek employment outside the home, because such party will be custodian of a minor child of the marriage;
- The separate assets of each party, both real and personal, tangible and intangible;
- The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage;
- The extent to which each party has made such tangible and intangible contributions to the marriage as monetary and homemaker contributions, and tangible and intangible contributions by a party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party;
- The relative fault of the parties in the failing of the marriage;
- Such other factors, including the tax consequences to each party, as are necessary to consider the equities between the parties.
Depending on which side of the question you are on, it is important to know your rights. There are four (4) types of alimony in Tennessee, alimony future (periodic), transitional alimony, alimony in solido and transitional alimony. There are different reasons that alimony may be awarded given different scenarios. First, alimony may be awarded to a spouse to enable them to maintain a lifestyle close to the one enjoyed during the marriage. This is call alimony in future (periodic), and it is most commonly awarded in long-term marriages. Second, alimony might be awarded to “rehabilitate” a spouse, maybe to return to school so that he or she can increase their earning capacity so that they can become financially independent. This type of alimony is called rehabilitative alimony. Another type of alimony is called transitional alimony, and is awarded where there is a spouse who does not need rehabilitation to become financially independent, but does need financial assistance in transitioning into a new life caused by the divorce.
There is no exact formula in determining the exact type, amount or length of time of alimony payments. However, an experienced trial attorney can guide you through the process and help you obtain the best result for your future. At the Law Office of James M. Marshall, we have over 16 years of experience and have tried hundreds of cases involving the issue of alimony. We will represent you zealously and aggressively, whichever side of the alimony question you are on.