Are Alimony Payments Dependent on the Length of the Marriage?

alimony money divorce gavel

If you are getting a divorce, you expect that an alimony agreement is going to be part of the arrangement. How long can alimony last though? Is it completely dependent on the length of your marriage? A Memphis, Tennessee alimony lawyer from our firm can answer any questions that you have.

What is Tennessee’s Standard for Alimony Agreements?

The length of a marriage actually factors into the main standard that is used to determine how long an alimony agreement lasts in Tennessee. This general rule says that for every three years of marriage, one year of alimony will be paid. So if you were married for six years, two years of alimony could be the guideline.

However, it is important to remember that this is not a hard and fast rule. There are many other factors that can have an impact on this agreement. So the length of the marriage matters, but it is really about making sure that the supported spouse can become self-supporting.

What Other Factors Can I Affect My Alimony Agreement?

The length of your marriage is going to affect the length of the alimony agreement, but other factors that can affect it include:

  • The standard of living enjoyed during the marriage
  • Age of both parties at the time they were married and at the time they divorced
  • Whether one spouse is going to need to be a primary caregiver for children
  • The health of the supported spouse
  • The separate assets of each spouse
  • How marital property was divided

Any of these things can be taken into account, along with how long you were married, when the final alimony agreement is calculated. A judge has broad discretion here, so it can be hard to predict exactly what kind of terms you will end up with.

If you and your spouse are on good terms, you may be able to negotiate and come to your own settlement. Your lawyers will likely take the same kinds of factors into account. As long as the agreement seems fair to both spouses, a court should honor it.

When Can Alimony End Earlier?

Alimony agreements can end earlier than originally planned in some situations. A paying spouse’s obligations can end when:

  • The supported spouse gets remarried
  • The supported spouse is living with someone who is supporting them

The second situation is called cohabitation. To prove that a former spouse is cohabitating with someone, you generally need to show that the couple lives together most of the time and that their finances are somewhat entangled. For example, they may own property or a vehicle together, or they could have a joint banking account.

Consult With a Memphis Divorce Attorney

If you want to fight for the best possible alimony arrangement after your divorce, we can help. Schedule a consultation with Rice Law to learn more about how alimony works in Tennessee and how a divorce attorney can assist you.