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The Four Types Of Alimony Recognized In Tennessee


The United States is a conglomeration of many different places and cultures coming together to form one nation. While there are several items that vary across the states, one thing is relatively constant: about half of marriages end in divorce. By and large the people of our nation understand that, for better or worse, it is necessary for the court systems to develop fair and reasonable processes for divorcing couples.

While divorce is a commonality across the states, the methods and processes that the courts put in place in order to manage divorces varies – widely. If you are facing a divorce action, you should not anticipate that the rules and processes that applied to your cousin across the country will be the same for you. It is important to understand how certain issues are handled in Tennessee so you can put your best foot forward. One item that it is wise to read up on – as it can greatly affect spouses moving forward – is that of alimony.

It is important to note that this article does not discuss temporary spousal support – instead, this is a brief overview of the kinds of alimony that divorcees should expect could become part of their final divorce decree.

Alimony in Tennessee

Alimony, commonly also referred to as spousal support, is largely assigned into one of four categories under Tennessee law. Divorcees should be aware of:

  • Alimony in future
  • Alimony in solido
  • Rehabilitative alimony; and
  • Transitional alimony
  • Under Tennessee law, there are four (4) main types of alimony: (1) alimony in futuro; (2) alimony in solido; (3) rehabilitative alimony; and (4) transitional alimony. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-5-121(d)(1).

Alimony in Futuro

Alimony in future is a long-term alimony order. Specifically, the Tennessee code states that this form of alimony is intended to provide long-term support, only ending in either the death or remarriage of the person receiving the support payment.

The Tennessee courts may decide to award alimony in future when the court believes that there is a “relative economic disadvantage,” and that rehabilitation on the part of the supported individual is not likely.

This measure of support is typically permanent for the life of the supported spouse, or their eventual remarriage or cohabitation with a third party.

Alimony in Solido

Alimony in solido is another type of long-term support, and is generally ordered to be paid in a lump sum as either cash or property (though installments may also be ordered to be paid over a defined period of time).

You may have heard of this form of spousal support as “lump sum” alimony. This is often a form of support that the court awards to one party in order to have one party’s attorney’s fees paid by the other party.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony is not designed as long-term support. Instead, it is meant to provide assistance to the more disadvantaged spouse. The aim is to enable this spouse to pursue additional job skills or education and, thereby, become more self-sufficient as they look to move on after the divorce.  to the spouse who is disadvantaged

The General Assembly has expressed that there is a preference to award rehabilitative alimony over the more permanent support options when possible.

Transitional Alimony

Transitional alimony is another form of short-term support. A court may find it appropriate to award transitional alimony when rehabilitation is not required, but the economically disadvantaged spouse does need financial assistance in order to adjust to their new circumstances post-divorce.

Alimony is Discretionary

It is important to understand that Tennessee courts may not award any alimony whatsoever – it is not a requirement in a Tennessee divorce. The court will review each case and, at its own discretion, determine what type of alimony to award, if any, and the requisite amount.

Contact Fort, Holloway & Rogers

The experienced Franklin alimony attorneys at Fort, Holloway & Rogers have helped countless clients navigate through the many issues and wrinkles which can arise in even the simplest of divorce actions. Contact our office today to speak with an expert attorney about your case.


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