Alimony or spousal support is the legal obligation of individuals to support their former spouses following a divorce or separation. A court is able to order various types of spousal support depending on the circumstances of the parties. As establishing, modifying, and terminating spousal support orders is challenging, contacting a Chattanooga spousal support lawyer may be highly beneficial to you.
Spousal support orders vary widely according to the length of the marriage, the respective incomes of the parties, and the reason behind the order. As a result, the duration, conditions, and amount of a spousal support order differ substantially from one case to another. The services of a family lawyer could be instrumental in ensuring that both spouses receive fair and lawful treatment when courts issue spousal support orders.
Under Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-5-121, courts have the authority to order one spouse to provide financial support to the other in the context of divorce, legal separation, or separate maintenance proceedings. Various reasons may exist for a spousal support award, but the order should specify which type of alimony applies to a specific case. As a spousal support lawyer in Chattanooga may advise, each type of alimony has different features, conditions, and durations.
This type of alimony is designed to allow supported spouses to maintain the same or nearly the same lifestyle as they did during their marriages. In most cases, periodic alimony orders occur when the parties have been married for a long time.
Transitional alimony is a temporary form of spousal support that is meant to allow economically disadvantaged spouses to transition from marriage to divorce. This type of alimony may allow these spouses to gradually adjust their income and expenses to meet their current needs over time.
In some situations, spouses need rehabilitation or a means of improving their economic status to allow them to become financially independent. For instance, rehabilitative alimony may enable spouses to return to school to increase their earning capacities.
In some divorces, courts may order one spouse to pay the other lump-sum payments over time to make up for the inequity in property division. The payments made balance out whatever a spouse was entitled to receive in the final property division and distribution.
No single formula exists for courts to use in deciding whether to issue an alimony order. Some of the factors that a court may consider in determining whether alimony is appropriate may include:
Other relevant factors may be the assets that each party owns and what they stand to receive in the division of marital property. Judges also may consider the lifestyle that the parties maintained during the marriage and the contributions that each party made to the marriage and to the education or training of one spouse to increase earning capacity.
Furthermore, courts are free to consider any factors that they see as relevant to the question of spousal support. If courts do find that an alimony award is appropriate, they then must calculate the proper amount of alimony. Judges ordering alimony must weigh the earning capacity of the supporting spouse and the reasonable needs of the supported spouse to arrive at an appropriate figure. A spousal support attorney in Chattanooga may be useful in helping advocate on behalf of spouses on either side of an alimony dispute.
An alimony order is a possible part of many divorce decrees, depending on the relative economic circumstances of the parties and various other factors. The type of alimony awarded also determines whether you are able to terminate or modify court-ordered alimony in the future. As alimony cases are often challenging, contacting a Chattanooga spousal support lawyer may be advantageous.
Whether you are a spouse seeking alimony or a spouse who may be subject to an alimony order, you are likely to need strong representation in your divorce case. Having legal counsel advocate on your behalf could help ensure that alimony orders that the court issues are fair and appropriate based on the circumstances.