In life, we need to be ready to weather big changes, but even so, becoming disabled and divorced within a brief time frame is a lot to process. This blog post will talk about how courts can adjust their procedures to help you navigate these situations. If you find yourself dealing with a one-two punch like this, please reach out to a Memphis alimony lawyer, and we’ll be with you every step of the way through this difficult path.
Fundamentals of Alimony
Alimony is the financial support a court may order one ex-spouse to pay to another during or after the divorce. The payor provides alimony and the payee receives it.
The court may order either spouse to pay alimony. In heterosexual marriages, that may be either the husband or the wife. Stereotypes remain which can make it more difficult for a husband to receive alimony.
When determining an alimony amount, Tennessee courts consider the mental and physical health of both parties: physical disability, chronic or debilitating illnesses, and so on.
Tennessee recognizes four types of alimony:
Transitional alimony is financial support that usually only lasts until the court finalizes the divorce. As the name implies, transitional or temporary alimony is meant to be a temporary help during the transition from married to divorced.
Rehabilitative alimony (short-term alimony) is considered in many cases, including where one spouse sacrificed career opportunities for the other spouse and where a spouse has become or is disabled. The court typically expects that both spouses become financially independent, so short-term alimony is meant to help one spouse work towards financial independence.
Alimony in Futuro (long-term or permanent alimony) occurs when a spouse isn’t able to be financially independent. To decide if long-term alimony is appropriate, a court will consider the age, disabilities, and overall health of the spouses. As in short-term alimony, the court will decide how long one spouse will receive alimony. Usually, this kind of alimony will stop if either ex-spouse dies, if the payee remarries, or when the court decides.
Alimony in Solido (lump-sum alimony) is a relatively rare type of alimony in Tennessee that more often occurs as the result of spousal agreement rather than court order. Here, the judge allows a lump-sum payment, instead of short- or long-term alimony. The payor may provide the money in one or multiple installments, and the judge will set the schedule if it is multiple.
Disability and Alimony: Alimony Modification in Tennessee
Courts will decide if alimony modification based on disability should be given using which category of alimony was originally specified. Generally, only long-term alimony and short-term alimony can be modified, but not transitional alimony or lump-sum alimony.
The court may be uneasy about altering the language of a divorce settlement stipulating that one spouse would return to work after receiving additional job training, but for the most part, courts are cognizant that unanticipated life events may occur.