Divorce often includes the negotiation of alimony, also known as spousal support, to be paid by one ex-spouse to the other. Alimony will likely impact the monthly budgets of both ex-spouses during the post-divorce years. Although spouses might negotiate a divorce settlement that includes alimony terms, a court will decide on spousal support according to Tennessee law if the spouses can't reach an agreement on their own. Unlike calculation of child support, calculation of alimony doesn't usually rely on formulaic guidelines -- rather, the Tennessee courts consider a variety of factors set by state law and review financial information provided by each spouse.
Research the legal standard that the Tennessee courts follow when determining alimony -- according to the Tennessee Bar Association in the "Alimony Bench Book," the judge's primary considerations are the financial need of the spouse requesting support and the other spouse's ability to pay alimony.
Review the statutory factors for determination of alimony awards, as presented in section 36-5-121(i) of the Tennessee Code. Identify all of the factors that may be relevant to your marriage, such as the duration of your marriage, the standard of living during your marriage, each spouse's earning capacity and income, each spouse's education and training, separate assets owned by each spouse and the property division negotiated for your divorce.
Gather documents related to your financial circumstances, including any income statements or pay stubs, invoices for monthly expenses and bills for ongoing expenses. Obtain documents that you may be able to use in support of an alimony award, according to the factors listed in section 36-5-121(i) of the Tennessee Code. Consult with your attorney, if you have hired legal representation, regarding other financial information that you might need during the negotiation of a divorce settlement and alimony terms.
Review the financial documents provided by your spouse. Assess whether your spouse's financial information reflects an ability to pay alimony if you're requesting it. Alternatively, assess whether your spouse has demonstrated a need to receive alimony.
Estimate the amount of monthly alimony depending on both parties' financial information and the statutory factors provided by Tennessee law. Understand that the amount of alimony to be paid will vary widely, depending on your circumstances and the financial needs or abilities of your spouse.
Consult with a Tennessee lawyer if you need personalized advice regarding your right to receive alimony or your obligation to pay alimony. Contact the Tennessee Bar Association to find attorney referrals and to learn how you might qualify for free or low-cost legal aid services.
Estimate the length of alimony to be paid by considering the types of alimony allowed by Tennessee law. The court may award rehabilitative alimony, transitional alimony, alimony in futuro or alimony in solido. Understand that the court may decline to award alimony sometimes even when one spouse's income is significantly higher than the other spouse's income. If neither party sufficiently demonstrates a financial need for alimony, the court may exercise judicial discretion in declining to award spousal support.
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