In any action for divorce, legal separation, or separate maintenance, T.C.A. §36-5-121 provides that the court can award alimony to either party if it feels that such an award is necessary out of fairness to the parties. Alimony can be awarded in several different forms: rehabilitative alimony, alimony in futuro, transitional alimony, and alimony in solido.
Rehabilitative alimony will generally be awarded where one spouse is economically disadvantaged relative to the other spouse. Rehabilitative alimony is awarded to ensure that “the economically disadvantaged spouse’s standard of living after the divorce [is] to be reasonably comparable to the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, or to the post-divorce standard of living expected to be available to the other spouse, considering the relevant statutory factors and the equities between the parties.”
Alimony in futuro will generally be awarded where there is relative economic disadvantage to one spouse and rehabilitation is not feasible. It may also be awarded where rehabilitation is only partially feasible. It will either be awarded on a long-term basis or until remarriage or death of the recipient. The principle behind alimony in futuro is that rehabilitation is not feasible or necessary but the disadvantaged spouse needs some assistance in adjusting to the economic consequences of divorce or separation.
Transitional alimony is also awarded where the disadvantaged spouse needs assistance in adjusting to the economic consequences of divorce or separation and rehabilitation is not feasible. Transitional alimony is a lump sum of money paid by one party to the other for a determinate period of time. Unlike alimony in futuro, transitional alimony is nonmodifiable unless one of the conditions listed in T.C.A. §36-5-121(g)(2) is met.
Alimony in solido is a form of long-term alimony that is paid in a lump sum, “the total amount of which is calculable on the date the decree is entered, but which is not designated as transitional alimony.” Despite the name, alimony in solido can actually be paid in installments, provided that the payments are ordered over a definite period of time and the amount of alimony to be paid is ascertainable when awarded. Alimony in solido can also include attorney fees. The purpose of alimony in solido is to provide financial support to a spouse.
This is just a brief overview of the different types of alimony available in Tennessee. The type and amount of alimony to be awarded will depend on the facts and circumstances of the case. Further information about alimony and other family law issues can be found here.