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Franklin Divorce Attorney > Blog > Alimony > How is Alimony Determined in Tennessee?

How is Alimony Determined in Tennessee?


If you are headed into divorce proceedings, one of the burning questions on your mind might very well be about alimony. Will you receive alimony payments? Will you be required to PAY alimony to your former spouse? How much support are we talking about here? Are you going to have to change your lifestyle?

The reason there might be some confusion surrounding alimony is because it is a complex item and each case will be different. Every case requires its own specific analysis under the law in order to ascertain what support will be ordered, for how long, etc. While each case will require its own tailored analysis, there are some basics you can become familiar with. This article aims to arm you with the basics you need to know so you can start your own case off in the right direction.

Sources of Law

There are two primary sources of law that Tennessee courts will take direction from: Tennessee statutes, and Tennessee case law.

Tennessee Statutes

Tennessee statutes are created by the Tennessee legislature. Tennessee statutes define four separate types of alimony, aka spousal support. The four types of alimony are defined in the statutes and provide direction to courts concerning when a specific type of alimony should be paid, how long the payments should be made, the amount of support provided, when the orders might be modified, and when the alimony will be terminated.

Tennessee Case Law

The Tennessee case law is the body of decisions made by Tennessee courts where they make orders and discuss their interpretation of the statutes. Courts will honor and follow one another’s decisions, so the court’s opinions and written interpretation of the statutes becomes, itself, important decisional material. Lawyers and judges consult the legal opinions of the courts for guidance, and the details ferreted out in the court opinions are very instructional in determining how a statute will be interpreted and applied in a given set of circumstances.

Tennessee Alimony Factors

The courts will consider several factors when making alimony decisions in Tennessee. These factors include (but are not limited to):

  • Each spouse’s relative earning capacity, debts, financial resources;
  • Each spouse’s relative education and ability to earn;
  • Marriage duration;
  • Age and mental capacity, as well as physical condition of each spouse;
  • If it would interfere with the children’s best interests, and to what degree, if a party was to find work outside the home;
  • The marital property division;
  • The standard of living enjoyed by the spouses during the course of the marriage;
  • Where in the court’s discretion it deems it appropriate to do so, analyzing the relative fault of both spouses in the divorce.

The need for alimony, and the ability for the spouse to pay alimony, will be of paramount importance and interest to the court in making its alimony determination.

It is important to remember that spouses might also come to a mediated agreement surrounding issues such as alimony, and outside legal documents can also direct on how these issues will be handled as well (prenuptial agreement, for example) to really understand the nuances in your own case it is always wise to consult with experienced legal professionals.

Contact Fort, Holloway & Rogers

Engage with the experienced Franklin divorce lawyers at Fort, Holloway & Rogers and ensure that you have the legal experience you need to come to the best possible conclusion in your own case. Contact our office to begin discussing the nuances of your case today.




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