Tennessee Divorce Guide


When a legal separation or divorce is Alimonygranted, one option will be that spousal support will be granted if it determines that alimony is justifiable. The court will also enter its decree confirming in each spouse the property owned by him or her before marriage and the undisposed-of property acquired after marriage by him or her in his or her own right. Either spouse may be allowed such alimony out of real and personal property of the other as the court shall think reasonable.

Spousal support considerations will be determined by:
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The relative earning capacity, obligations, needs, and financial resources of each party, including income from pension, profit sharing or retirement plans and all other sources
  • The relative education and training of each party, the ability and opportunity of each party to secure such education and training, and the necessity of a party to secure further education and training to improve such party’s earnings capacity to a reasonable levelAlimony
  • The age and mental condition of each party
  • The physical condition of each party, including, but not limited to, physical disability or incapacity due to a chronic debilitating disease
  • The extent to which it would be undesirable for a party to seek employment outside the home, because such party will be custodian of a minor child of the marriage
  • The separate assets of each party, both real and personal, tangible and intangible
  • The provisions made with regard to the marital property
  • The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage
  • The extent to which each party has made such tangible and intangible contributions to the marriage as monetary and homemaker contributions, and tangible and intangible contributions by a party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party
  • The relative fault of the parties, in cases where the court, in its discretion, deems it appropriate to do so
  • Any other appropriate factors

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Tennessee courts may issue orders for alimony (sometimes called spousal support or maintenance) for a rehabilitative alimony, periodic alimony, transitional alimony and lump sum alimony.

Rehabilitative alimony

The intent of rehabilitative alimony is to assist the economically disadvantaged spouse in establishing a reasonable earning capacity that will permit the economically disadvantaged spouse’s standard of living after the divorce to be reasonably comparable to the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. Rehabilitative alimony terminates upon the death of the payor.

Periodic alimony

If the court finds that there is relative economic disadvantage and rehabilitation is not feasible relative to one spouse, it may award periodic alimony which is an order for payment of support and maintenance on a long-term basis or until death or remarriage of the recipient. Periodic alimony terminates upon the death of the payor.

Transitional alimony

The courts award transitional alimony for a specified period of time. The courts make this award when the court finds that rehabilitation is not necessary, but the economically disadvantaged spouse needs assistance to adjust to the economic consequences of a divorce. Transitional alimony ends at the death of the payor.

Lump sum alimony

Courts may award a lump sum alimony award in addition to, or in lieu of, other alimony awards. Apart from transitional alimony, this form is long term support, paid in installments, payments are ordered over a definite period of time and serves to provide financial support to a spouse.

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[Tennessee Code – Volume 6A, Title 36, Sections 36-4-101]

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