In: Divorce0

How Many Years Do You Have to be Married to Get Spousal Support?

At the time that a couple divorces, there are usually a number of issues that will need to be resolved before the divorce can be finalized. For example, couples will need to make determinations about how to divide property and pay debts, where shared children will live, and whether or not alimony will be part of the divorce settlement. Alimony, also known as spousal support, can be a contentious issue in a divorce. Consider the following about the various types of alimony, when alimony is ordered, and how many years a couple has to be married before a party to a marriage can receive spousal support in a divorce.

How Long Do You Have to be Married Before Receiving Alimony in Tennessee?

There is no minimum amount of time for which a couple has to be married in Tennessee in order to receive alimony. While it is rare for marriages that have lasted a very short amount of time to conclude with an alimony settlement, it is possible. Whether or not alimony is awarded, and the duration and amount of an alimony payment, is based on a number of different factors. These factors include:

  • The earning capacities and financial needs of each party to the marriage – need and ability to pay are the two most important factors;
  • The duration of the marriage – typically, longer marriages will be more likely to have longer-term alimony awards;
  • The education and training of each party and their ability to secure education and training, as well as compensated work, in the future;
  • The age and health of each party;
  • The physical abilities of each party and their ability to work;
  • The property division settlement;
  • The separate assets of each party;
  • The extent to which it would be undesirable for one party to seek employment outside the home, because that party is custodian of a minor child;
  • The fault of each party;
  • Tax consequences of the divorce for each party; and
  • Any other factors necessary to consider the equities between the parties.

Types of Alimony in Tennessee

Not only may the length of the marriage have an impact on whether or not a court determines that spousal support is appropriate, but it may also have an impact on the type of alimony that is awarded. There are four types of alimony in Tennessee:

  1. Rehabilitative alimony, which is designed to help a spouse achieve a standard of living after the divorce which is reasonably comparable to the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, or the standard of living which the other spouse is expected to have after the divorce, considering the factors stated in the law and the equities between the parties.
  2. Alimony in futuro, or periodic alimony, which is paid on a long term basis, or until death or remarriage of the spouse receiving the alimony, when rehabilitation as described in #1 above is not able to be achieved by the spouse on their own;
  3. Transitional alimony, which provides support for a set period of time when the receiving spouse needs help to adjust to the economic consequences of the divorce – the period of time can be short or not; and
  4. Alimony in solido, or lump sum alimony, which is long-term alimony that can be paid in installments for a specified period of time or in a lump sum.

See Tennessee Code Section 36-5-121 for more information. 

Call me, Judy Oxford, Attorney at Law, Today

As a divorce lawyer with years of experience representing clients both seeking and fighting against an alimony order, I can help you to understand the types of alimony that may be available in your situation. Please call me today for a consultation or send me a confidential message online at your convenience.

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