A divorce is a financially stressful time for most. You may have to move and pay court expenses. You also will no longer be splitting all your expenses with your soon-to-be ex. If you make significantly less money than your former spouse, this can be a devastating blow. You may be unsure whether you can afford to pay all your bills on your own.
In Tennessee, the spouse that earns much less money than the other partner may be eligible for alimony payments. Here is how alimony is determined and what kind of alimony payments you may qualify for.
The court considers several factors when deciding alimony. Here are the issues that determine whether alimony will be paid and for how long:
Length of the marriage
Earning ability of each partner
Financial resources, including property owned
Age and health
Education and vocational training of each partner
How assets and debts were divided during property division
Standard of living while married
Who has custody of the children
If one partner contributed to the marriage as a homemaker
Fault of each partner
After the court reviews these factors, the court may decide you should receive alimony payments from your former spouse. In Tennessee, alimony is awarded four different ways.
If the court decides you need help making the transition after a divorce, it will award you transitional alimony. Transitional alimony is paid for a short time period, and it helps you adjust to your new financial circumstances.
Rehabilitative alimony is money awarded to help you improve your earning capacity. This money goes toward school or some other kind of vocational training. This alimony is paid until you finish school or training, and have sufficiently improved your ability to earn.
Lump sum alimony is a long-term alimony payment. It is awarded to make up for imbalances in property division. Payments are made in installments over a set period of time.
Alimony in futuro or periodic alimony is awarded to people who were married for a long time. It is a long-term, periodic payment given to a spouse who cannot earn enough money to maintain his or her standard of living. It is awarded when you cannot attend school or receive training that will improve your income.
If your partner earned significantly more than you, you may fear a divorce will leave you penniless. However, you may qualify alimony which helps you transition into your new financial situation, provides support to go back to school or evens out imbalances in property division. Alimony may also continue indefinitely, if you are unable to go back to school or receive employment training. A divorce certainly does not need to lead to financial ruin.