A marriage ending can cause a considerable amount of stress, especially if one spouse is not employed or only employed part-time. The resources may not exist for that spouse to imagine financial independence from the other.

In Tennessee, a spouse may qualify for alimony under the above scenario. The type of support, however, depends on a few factors set forth under the laws of the state.

Alimony basics

In typical divorce situations, alimony helps bridge a gap or help one spouse who does not have the economic means for self-support due to unemployment or part-time work. One spouse usually has the financial means to help the other during and after the proceedings. The award can start during the proceedings, referred to as pendente lite, and a union of shorter duration may not yield an alimony award. Spouses with a long marriage – over 20 years – may qualify for long-term payments. There is no one-size-fits-all alimony formula.

Four types of alimony

Under Tennessee law, there exist four types of alimony awards. Each one has rules and ramifications regarding termination and modification after the divorce.

  • Transitional alimony – awarded to help one spouse get over the financial ramifications of divorce
  • Rehabilitative alimony – applicable when one spouse requires training or education to increase their economic independence
  • Alimony in futuro (periodic) – allows the spouse to continue living in the manner he or she did during a long-term marriage (greater than 20 years)
  • Alimony in solido (lump-sum) – helps balance the distribution of wealth over time

During the divorce, if a spouse qualifies for alimony, he or she should not wait to ask for it. The award of these payments and their terms must occur before the divorce is final and included in the final decree. Spouses cannot go back after the divorce is final and ask for alimony.