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Tennessee Spousal Support Laws

Spousal support, which can also be called alimony, is money that's paid from one ex-spouse to the other. Alimony isn't always guaranteed. Instead, it's based on the circumstances of each divorcing couple's case. The existence of a prenuptial agreement can also affect whether spousal support is awarded and, if so, how much is owed. Each state, including Tennessee, has laws outlining how courts will make alimony determinations.

Tennessee Spousal Support Laws: The Basics

The following table provides an overview of Tennessee alimony laws with links to relevant statutes. Remember, while it's helpful to read an overview of the law, it's also good to read the actual text of a statute.

Statute(s) Tennessee Code, Title 36, Chapter 5, Section 36-5-101, et seq. (Alimony and Child Support)
Types of Alimony in Tennessee

There are four types of alimony available in Tennessee:

  • Rehabilitative Alimony: The purpose of this is to help a spouse who's been out of the workforce or lacks the education and/or training to get a job that would allow them to have a standard of living similar to the one the spouses had during the marriage.
  • Alimony in Futuro: Also called periodic alimony, it's paid over a long period of time to provide an appropriate standard of living. This can be ordered in addition to rehabilitative alimony if rehabilitation isn't possible because the receiving spouse can't get the necessary training or education to improve their career prospects.
  • Transitional Alimony: This is for a spouse who doesn't need rehabilitation, but rather some time to adjust to the new financial situation created by the divorce.
  • Alimony in Solido: Also called lump sum alimony, this is long term support. The total amount is calculated at the time of the order, and usually paid in installments over a set period of time.
Factors Considered in Alimony Determinations

A court will consider several factors when making decisions regarding the type, amount, and length of time that alimony will be paid. Some of the factors considered are:

  • The length of the marriage;
  • The age, physical condition, and mental condition of each spouse;
  • Each spouse's earning ability, financial resources, needs, and obligations;
  • Each spouse's separate property and how the marital property was divided; and
  • The couple's standard of living while they were married.
Related Statute(s)

Tennessee Code, Title 36, Chapter 4, Section 36-4-101, et seq. (Divorce and Annulment)

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Tennessee Spousal Support Laws: Related Resources

For additional information and resources related to this topic, please visit the links listed below.

Have Questions About Alimony in Tennessee? Talk to a Lawyer

As you can see, alimony determinations are very fact-specific, which is why the best way to learn about your rights or obligations under the law is to speak with an experienced legal professional. If you have questions about alimony, it's a good idea to speak with a local divorce lawyer who can explain how Tennessee spousal support laws apply to your case.

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