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Clinton, Tennessee Legal Blog

When a couple decides to divorce, one of the soon-to-be former spouses may wish to request spousal support. When requesting a spousal support award, it is helpful for the requesting spouse, as well as the other spouse, to be familiar with how spousal support is determined.

Factors used to evaluate a spousal support request

There are several factors that are used to determine a spousal support award when one has been requested including:

  • The length of the marriage;
  • The ages, physical conditions and mental conditions of each of the spouses;
  • The earning ability, financial resources, obligations and needs of both spouses;
  • The separate property of each of the spouses and how the marital property was divided during the property division settlement; and
  • The couple’s standard of living during the marriage.

Types of spousal support

There are several different types of spousal support that may be awarded for different purposes. The family law system evaluates these factors to decide when and how spousal support should be awarded.

  • Rehabilitative spousal support is designed to help a spouse who has been out of the workforce obtain education and training to obtain a job that would allow them to maintain a standard of living similar to during the marriage.
  • Periodic spousal support can be awarded for a longer period of time and in circumstances when the recipient spouse is unable to obtain a job to maintain their standard of living.
  • Another type of alimony is transitional spousal support when the recipient spouse does not need rehabilitative spousal support but may need some form of support to adjust to their new financial circumstances following the divorce.
  • The last type of spousal support is lump sum alimony which is awarded as a single sum but may be paid in installments.

Spousal support may be critically needed by one of the spouses and the other spouse may object to a spousal support request. For that reason, both should be aware of how spousal support is awarded and the different types that may be available.