Most people understand alimony, also called spousal support, to involve the monthly payment of money from one person to their former spouse. Depending upon factors that are relevant to their marriage and post-divorce lives, the parties to the alimony arrangement may be bound by that obligation for many years. However, in Tennessee and other jurisdictions, alimony awards can take on forms other than periodic payments.
For example, it may serve the interests of the parties to a divorce to fulfill the alimony requirement in a lump sum payment. A lump sum payment is made one time and includes all of the financial support that the paying spouse must provide for to their ex. Once the lump sum payment is made the alimony obligation is considered fulfilled and the parties are no longer bound to each other through that legal connection.
When periodic payments are awarded readers should know that they can have varying durations. While some long-term marriages may end with permanent spousal support awards, shorter marriages where the parties are more likely to become self-supporting may include alimony awards of short durations. As with all family law issues, awards of alimony are dictated by the factors relevant to individual cases.
Alimony can be an important means of financial support for a person who has recently ended their marriage. Not all individuals emerge from their marital unions with the financial resources or earning capacities to provide for all of their own needs. Discussions about divorce and alimony can be brought up with readers' family law attorneys who may provide their clients with information that is relevant and important to their cases.