When spouses in Tennessee divorce, they may choose to incorporate a spousal support agreement into their final divorce decree. They may come to terms on how much money one party should pay to the other and for how long those payments should continue. If the parties do not work out such matters on their own, one of the parties may ask their family law court to award them spousal support from their soon-to-be ex-partner.
Spousal support is generally awarded when one of the parties to a divorce will be financially disadvantaged by leaving their marriage. This may be because the requesting party gave up their paying job to become a stay-at-home parent or because the party that will pay spousal support earns significantly more money than the other. Before spousal support is awarded, though, a court will carefully analyze if such an action is warranted.
The court will look at the parties' incomes and their prospects for gaining employment when the marriage is officially over. It may investigate the property that the parties will retain after their marriage is over and what standard of living they enjoyed while committed to their union. The court may also consider how long the parties were married and if the party who is asked to pay will be able to take care of themselves if they are ordered to pay their ex support.
If a court cannot justify the payment of support from one party to the other then the request of the prospective recipient may be denied. Spousal support is not a right, and only in cases where it is warranted will courts order its payment between divorcing partners.