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Can an Alimony Order Be Changed After a Divorce?

Tennessee law allows courts to modify or eliminate alimony payments under some circumstances

Alimony is financial support provided by one spouse to another after divorce when that spouse demonstrates a need for the support, and the paying spouse has the means to make those payments.

Whether you are paying alimony or receiving it, there are circumstances under which these payments can be changed. At The Law Office of David L. Scott, it is our goal to provide you with any and all guidance that you need to move forward and obtain the arrangement that best fits your needs. Contact us today at our Tennessee family law office for a free consultation to find out more.

Types of Alimony and Circumstances for Change in Tennessee

There are several different types of alimony that can be awarded in Tennessee, depending upon the circumstances, and what type – and the reason – for the alimony dictate whether it can be modified at a later date:

  • Alimony in Futuro: Owed when the receiving spouse cannot be expected to reach a level of earning capacity to allow a standard of living comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage or similar to the post-divorce standard of living for the paying spouse. In these circumstances, modifications can be requested when conditions warrant them
  • Alimony in Solido: This is a unique type of alimony that can sometimes be used to balance out uneven property division, typically when one large asset (such as the family home) is awarded to one spouse over the other. Payments are typically made just once or over time, and it is not modifiable unless both the paying and receiving spouse agree to modifications
  • Rehabilitative Alimony: This type of alimony is awarded when the receiving spouse is completing an educational or training requirement in order to eventually support themselves, and the court can put it in place for as long as it deems necessary for the receiving spouse to complete it. The receiving spouse can try to get the support extended by requesting that from the court, meaning that, in these circumstances, modifications can be requested when conditions warrant them
  • Transitional Alimony: Transitional alimony only lasts for a specified period of time – typically the amount of time required for the receiving spouse to get on their feet – and is always temporary, not modifiable unless both parties agreed to the possibility of modifications at the time of the divorce decree or the paying spouse starts living with a new partner

Tennessee law allows for those types of alimony payments noted above as adjustable to be modified when “material circumstances” have changed “significantly,” such as a sudden loss of income. This not only includes the receiving spouse but the paying spouse; for example, if the paying spouse loses their job, the court can be petitioned to have this payment temporarily suspended or terminated altogether.

Additional circumstances that warrant modifying or ending alimony payment requirements include either spouse dying or either spouse remarrying.

Contact a Family Lawer for a Free Consultation

If you are dealing with alimony payments and the need to revisit them, you likely have many questions – and we are here to help:  Contact us today at our Tennessee family law office for a free consultation to find out more.

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