TENNESSEE ALIMONY: THE BASICS
How much alimony will I have to pay in Tennessee? How do you figure out alimony in Tennessee?
The amount of alimony paid per month will be determined by the supporting spouse's ability to pay. The court will determine said spouse’s earning ability. The spouse’s earning ability is going to be determined by looking at the education, training and experience, ability to earn, assets, savings, and passive income.
Next, the court is going to look at the spouse’s monthly living expenses. Everything that is considered a living expense includes housing costs, clothing, debts, food, and general living expenses. The court is also going to look at the supporting lifestyle of the spouse. The gap between income and expenses is the supporting spouse’s ability to pay. That is then compared to the reasonable need of the spouse.
How much alimony will I get in Tennessee divorce laws?
The court is going to look at the financial situation of the supported spouse. First, the court will determine the supported spouse’s earning capacity. Second, the court considers the projected expenses of the supported spouse.
Who can tell me how much alimony I will have to pay or how much alimony I should receive?
When considering the range of how much the spouse will pay or receive in alimony, the attorney will consider the factors, previous experiences with the judge and other attorneys, and the written legal opinions of other spouses in similar financial situations and length of marriages. Keep in mind, however, that any projection is just a guess and you should never consider it a guarantee.
Does Tennessee have an alimony formula? Does Tennessee have alimony guidelines?
No. Tennessee law only lists factors for consideration. There are only a few states that have strict formulas. Tennessee is not one of those.
Does Tennessee have an alimony calculator?
No. The best way to calculate an accurate alimony amount is to review your case with an experienced family law attorney in Tennessee.
What does alimony pay for?
What the alimony pays for depends on the type of alimony awarded, the purpose of the alimony, and the difference in the earning volume between the spouses. For example, rehabilitative alimony is used to support the spouse during a period of retraining or re-education for re-entry into the workforce, thereby enabling the spouse to become self-supporting in the not too distant future.
Who decides alimony in a Tennessee divorce?
This depends on if the divorce is settled or not. If the divorce is settled, that means the length, type, and amount of alimony is negotiated.
If the divorce is not settled and the spouses proceed to trial, the judge will hear evidence based on all of the statutory factors and then decide the type of alimony awarded. The length of payments and the amount are also decided.
How is the supporting spouse’s income used to determine alimony?
The court normally starts by looking at the supporting spouse's actual earning history. Every amount of income whether it is taxed or not is considered. After the court looks at taxed income, they can then look at the assets that are likely to be awarded to the supporting spouse, which also includes separate property. If the court concludes a supporting spouse is currently voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, then the court can “impute income” to the supporting spouse and award alimony even when the supporting spouse has insufficient current earnings to justify an alimony award.
Can you give examples of voluntary unemployment?
There are endless examples of voluntary unemployment. The spouse will be considered voluntarily unemployed if they quit a job for an invalid reason. If the spouse is fired for misconduct, that is viewed as voluntary unemployment.
Can a spouse quit working to avoid paying alimony in Tennessee?
The short answer to this is no. When the supporting spouse quits work to avoid paying the alimony this is an example of voluntary unemployment.
Can you give examples of voluntary underemployment?
There are countless possible circumstances. In order to determine voluntary underemployment involves comparing the past earning and then considering all of the circumstances. Examples of voluntary underemployment would be if a spouse graduated from medical school but refuses to work for less than $80,000 a year could be considered voluntarily underemployed if that would-be doctor chooses to work at a restaurant for less money.
How long do I have to be married before I can get alimony in Tennessee?
You do not have to be married long at all. It really depends on the circumstances of the divorce and each case is different.
Can spouses testify against each other in Tennessee alimony cases?
Yes. This is very common.