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Understanding rehabilitative alimony

Like most in Clarksville, you may assume that the awarding of alimony is a fairly cut-and-dry process: you earn the right to receive it from your ex-spouse until you remarry or either of you dies. Many often come to us here at Runyon and Runyon with the same assumption, only to later find out that is not always the case. There are actually different types of spousal support, one of the more common being rehabilitative alimony.

You may sacrifice your own career ambitions to support those of your spouse. If you later divorce, that sacrifice could leave you economically disadvantaged compared to him or her. According to Tennessee state law, in such a case you may be entitled to rehabilitative alimony. The expectation is that you will eventually become economically self-sufficient. Until then, your ex-spouse may be required to pay spousal support until you are able to achieve a standard of living comparable to that which you enjoyed while married, or equal to that which he or she has right now.

Say that you stopped going to school while your ex-spouse went on to earn his or her bachelor’s degree and establish a career. If the court determines that it would take you two years to return to school and earn a comparable degree, then another year to secure a job, it may require your ex-spouse to pay you support for that amount of time.

If, after the three years, you have still yet to find gainful employment, you may petition to have the duration of your award increased. Such a request may only be considered, however, after you have shown that you have done all you can to increase your earning capacity.