Determining Spousal Support Payments in Red Bank

When couples divorce, establishing the amount and duration of spousal support is usually a subject for negotiation. If the couple cannot agree, the spouse who seeks support could petition the judge to award alimony.

Some states provide a formula for calculating alimony, but Tennessee does not. Determining spousal support payments in Red Bank requires weighing various factors. A seasoned alimony attorney could give a spouse a reasonable range in the circumstances, but if the couple cannot agree, the amount is left up to the judge.

When a Judge Will Award Alimony

The purpose of alimony is to prevent hardship to a spouse due to a divorce. Although alimony is not mandatory, if one spouse has a reasonable need and the other is able to pay, a judge will often award it. Alimony is also likely if the couple enjoyed a privileged lifestyle that one spouse could not maintain as a single person.

Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-5-121i lists factors the judge must consider when deciding whether to award alimony and how much. The critical factors include the:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • Disparity in the spouse’s incomes
  • Ages and health of each party
  • Lifestyle the couple enjoyed while married
  • Financial resources of each party
  • Whether it is feasible or desirable for the receiving spouse to join the workforce
  • Fault of either party in causing the divorce
  • Each party’s earning capacity and reasonable expenses

Note that if one party committed adultery, wasted marital assets, or was at fault in the divorce, a judge could adjust alimony accordingly.

A judge might not award spousal support if the requesting spouse has the resources to maintain a lifestyle similar to the lifestyle they enjoyed while married. Similarly, if the paying spouse’s income and expenses do not permit paying alimony without hardship, a judge will not award it. A capable Red Bank attorney could evaluate a couple’s specific situation and advise whether a judge is likely to award spousal support.

Calculating Spousal Support Payments

Divorcing couples must make sworn financial disclosures during the divorce proceedings. A Red Bank judge could use this information to determine the amount of alimony a spouse must pay.

The judge will consider the requesting spouse’s education and work history to determine their earning capacity. The judge will also look at the requesting spouse’s reasonable housing, utilities, childcare, healthcare, and transportation expenses. If the spouse is caring for young children or is older and has been out of the workforce for many years, the judge might assume they will not become self-supporting in the short-term.

The judge will also look at the other spouse’s ability to earn versus their reasonable expenses. If the spouse is earning less than they had in the past or seems willfully unemployed or underemployed, the judge could impute the income the spouse could be earning when calculating their alimony payment. An experienced lawyer could explain how a judge imputes income and the consequences if the judge takes this step.

Determining the Duration of Alimony

Unless a receiving spouse is older or health concerns prevent them from working, courts presume that the receiving spouse will become self-supporting eventually. Courts usually award alimony for a specific period, often based on the duration of the marriage. If a receiving spouse cannot support themselves at the end of the alimony term, a proactive legal professional could help them petition the court to extend the term.

Certain events terminate spousal support. Unless the couple agreed to lump sum alimony or the judge awarded it, death ends an alimony obligation. A receiving spouse’s remarriage also ends the obligation to pay alimony. If a spouse is cohabitating with an intimate partner, the paying spouse could ask a judge to terminate the obligation to support the receiving spouse.

Either party could petition the court to change the spousal support order if circumstances warrant. The party requesting the change must show that the change in their situation is substantial, such as a job loss, health crisis, or losing a home in a natural disaster.

A Red Bank Attorney Could Help You Determine Spousal Support Payments

Alimony can be a contentious issue. Receiving spouses often feel they do not get enough, and paying spouses often feel they pay too much. Courts try to strike a reasonable balance to ensure that one spouse does not suffer a severe change in lifestyle after a divorce.

A well-practiced lawyer could explain the rules around alimony and help a spouse get a sense of how much a judge may award in their specific case when determining spousal support payments in Red Bank. Reach out today to speak with a knowledgeable professional.

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