Far too often, people in Knoxville view an award of alimony in a divorce case as a form of punishment imposed on the more financially advantaged spouse. Indeed, you may even feel that way at times if you have been ordered to meet such an obligation. This may be especially true if it seems as though your ex-spouse is intentionally attempting to avoid meeting those benchmarks that serve as indicators that they no longer need such support. In most cases, alimony is only intended to be a temporary source of financial assistance, yet it will often continue to be mandated until your ex-spouse remarries or is able to secure gainful employment.
Your ex-spouse may think that they can keep you obligated to continue to pay alimony be refusing to remarry (even if they enter into another serious relationship). They might choose to cohabitate and continue to receive your alimony payments. Yet local lawmakers have considered the potential for this, and therefore enacted statutes in order to account for it.
Section 36-5-121 of Tennessee’s Domestic Relations Code states if your ex-spouse moves in with a third party, it is assumed that they are either being supported by that party or are using the money that you are paying them in alimony to support the third party. In either case, the presumption is that they no longer need any further financial assistance from you, and thus your alimony obligation will end. If your ex-spouse wants it to continue, the burden of proof typically falls to them to show that they are not in a supportive relationship with the person they are cohabitating with.