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  • Family Law
  • / 4.21.2023

Understanding Spousal Support in Tennessee

Divorce is a difficult process, no matter how amicable it may be. Deciding to end a marriage is tough, and the legalities that follow can be overwhelming. In Tennessee, spousal support is one of the critical issues that spouses need to consider. This is a payment that one spouse makes to the other after divorce to assist with daily living expenses, especially if one spouse earns significantly more than the other. In this blog, we will discuss the factors courts consider when determining spousal support, how it's calculated, what happens if one is unable to pay the support, and the actions to take if an ex refuses to pay. 

Factors A Court Will Consider During A Tennessee Divorce:

When deciding whether to award spousal support in Tennessee, courts consider various factors, including the length of the marriage, each spouse's earning capacity, the standard of living maintained during the marriage, the relative education level of each spouse, their age, and their health. During the divorce proceedings, each spouse must disclose information about their income, assets, and debts to determine if spousal support is necessary. The court may then order spousal support payments, and both parties must obey the order. 

How Is Spousal Support Calculated In Tennessee?

In Tennessee, spousal support is calculated differently than child support. The court can order support for a specific number of years or indeterminately. The amount of spousal support may be based on the supporting spouse's ability to pay and the supported spouse's need for support. The formula used to calculate spousal support is complicated, and it would be best to have an experienced divorce attorney handle it. Factors such as the length and standard of living of the marriage, employment history, and earning capacity of both parties are essential in computing the amount to be paid.

What Happens If I Am Unable To Pay Spousal Support?

If a supporting spouse is unable to pay the ordered spousal support, there are legal consequences that the court will impose. Failure to pay could result in wage garnishment, contempt of court, and even jail time. In such a situation, it's best to seek legal assistance from an experienced divorce attorney to help you come up with a viable solution to avoid consequences.

What Are My Options If My Ex Refuses To Pay Spousal Support?

It's not uncommon for a supporting spouse to refuse or stop paying spousal support. If your ex refuses to pay the support, you have legal options to enforce the court's order. You can file a contempt of court action or seek wage garnishment to collect arrears. If the supporting spouse can't pay the order because of unemployment or a significant change in circumstances, the court may modify the order after reviewing their financial situation.

Divorce is never easy, and the legal issues that follow can be stressful. Understanding how spousal support works in Tennessee can make the process less overwhelming. If you need help with your divorce or spousal support matter, our experienced attorneys at Durak Law Firm can guide you through every step of the process. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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