Understanding the various types of alimony can be daunting when facing a divorce. At Ralls & Wooten, we aim to simplify this complex process and help ensure our clients are well informed and prepared for both receiving and paying alimony in Tennessee.

This blog post breaks down the different types of alimony available in the Volunteer State, including alimony in futuro, alimony in solido, transitional alimony, and rehabilitative alimony.

Alimony in Futuro (or Periodic Alimony)

Alimony in futuro, sometimes known as periodic alimony, is long-term support paid to a spouse after the divorce. This type of alimony is common when a significant discrepancy in earning capacities is unlikely to change in the future.

It’s often awarded when the recipient spouse cannot achieve a standard of living similar to the marriage’s, often due to age, health, or lack of employment opportunities. The payments are usually made monthly and can be modified based on changes in financial circumstances or until the receiving spouse remarries or either party passes away.

Alimony in Solido (or Lump Sum Alimony)

Alimony in solido, or lump-sum alimony, is a fixed total amount the court sets. This amount can be paid in one lump sum or through several payments. Unlike alimony in futuro, it is not subject to modification in the future.

Alimony in solido can cover various financial obligations, including attorney fees, property settlements, and other divorce-related expenses. This support benefits those seeking a clean financial break from their spouse without future modifications.

Transitional Alimony

Transitional alimony is designed to support a spouse who needs assistance adjusting to the financial realities of life post-divorce. This form of alimony is temporary and intended to ease the transition to single life.

It’s suitable for marriages where long-term support isn’t necessary, but the economically disadvantaged spouse needs time and resources to adjust to new living arrangements, employment, or education opportunities. Transitional alimony is non-modifiable unless there are exceptional circumstances, and the court typically sets its duration.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony helps a spouse become financially independent by acquiring education, training, or work experience. It’s awarded when one spouse has put their career or education on hold during the marriage but with the understanding that they can eventually become self-sufficient.

Rehabilitative alimony is often set for a fixed period. It can be modified if the recipient fails to make reasonable efforts towards rehabilitation or if circumstances change significantly.

Who Chooses What Type of Alimony a Divorced Spouse Will Receive?

In Tennessee, the type of alimony awarded to a divorced spouse is typically determined by the court. However, the parties involved can also agree upon it during the divorce negotiations.

The court considers various factors when deciding on alimony, including the following:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Age and health of both parties
  • Earning capacity and financial needs of each spouse
  • Standard of living established during the marriage

The judge’s decision on which type of alimony to award depends heavily on the specifics of each case, and they may use a great deal of discretion in their ruling. If the parties can agree outside of court, they can decide the type and terms of alimony themselves. However, the court must still approve this agreement to ensure it is fair and meets legal standards.

Can Alimony Change Over Time?

The alimony a divorced spouse receives in Tennessee can change over time under certain circumstances and only for certain types of alimony. Here are some conditions that might warrant a review and modification of alimony:

  • Change in Financial Status: Significant changes in the financial status of either party, such as a substantial increase or decrease in income, can be grounds for modifying alimony. For example, if the payer loses their job or experiences a considerable reduction in income, they might petition the court to reduce the alimony payments.
  • Remarriage or Cohabitation: Alimony, particularly alimony in futuro, may be modified or terminated if the recipient remarries or begins cohabitating with a new partner in a manner that resembles a marital relationship.
  • Health Changes: Significant changes in the health condition of either party that affects their ability to pay or their financial need may also justify a modification of the alimony terms.

To modify alimony, the party seeking the change must file a petition with the court demonstrating a substantial and material change in circumstances since the original order or the last modification. The court will then review the case, consider the evidence, and decide whether to adjust the alimony payments.

Got Questions? Contact Us for a Free Consultation.

At Ralls & Wooten, we understand that each divorce case has unique circumstances and needs.

Our team is dedicated to helping our clients navigate the complexities of alimony and get the type and terms that fit their situations. We advocate for fair and equitable solutions, whether you’re the spouse needing support or the one who will be providing it.

Alimony can significantly impact both parties’ financial situations following a divorce. Understanding Tennessee’s different types of alimony is crucial for anyone going through a divorce. If you have questions about alimony or need legal representation, please don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free consultation.